As 2014 started, I jumped back into training after building a new Specialized Tarmac SL4 for the year ahead. As soon as I started to train, I found something was different and my bad knee was just not responding to training. After trying to work through it, I went to my Doctor who had told me several years back that I needed a knee replacement. Well that was finally the answer – no way around it. So I scheduled the surgery for June 11.
I tried to keep up some training level and George again joined me for the Phoenix Tour de Cure – George of course delivered a great time – averaging over 23 mph for the 60 miles – while I used my new bike and made a 20.3 mph average on the same course.
Next up was the final ride before surgery, the MS 150 in Sedona in the middle of May, where my nephew Jeff joined me. This ride is an always tough day with over 5,000′ of vertical on the 100 mile route. The ride started with us being late to the start line and went downhill from there. After making up time and catching a main pack, Jeff had a flat tire. After the repair we continued on and I could feel my knee and endurance was not at the best level – I was tired about 25 miles and a few 1,000 of elevation gain into the ride. We decided to shorten our ride from the 100 mile to the 75 mile route at that point. We were moving along the new route when I shifted down for a hill and the chain took out the carbon fiber rear dérailleur! This was my new bike and the rear dérailleur was destroyed but luckily, we were not going to fast so there was no crash. My day was done while Jeff finished the ride in great time.
After attending DrupalCon in Austin for work, I had full knee replacement surgery on June 11 and the fun really started. Rehab was a challenge first starting at home then finally being able to get out and go to a rehab center. Yes, I even had to use a walker and as soon as possible was on to a cane. I had high hopes that due to my conditioning I would recovery quickly and be back on the bike. As my luck goes, my knee was not a fast healer and gaining range of motion was to become my constant struggle. In late September, I was finally able to travel again and attended DrupalCon Amsterdam for work.
George came out for Tour De Scottsdale on October 12 and I was finally able to get back on my bike with the right seat height when I stretched my knee each time before riding. Riding was still painful as my range of motion was just enough to make the circle. I had to skip the Tour de Scottsdale for the 2nd time in the last 8 years (both skips were due to surgery recovery). George rode a truly inspiring ride – finishing in just 50 seconds over 3 hours for the 70 miles – right at 23.3 mph average.
Next came the Tour de River on Nov 1 and I talked George in to returning to keep me company on this 40 mile return to biking. The good news is we finished in the top 12 riders but it was a long day of spinning for me, with little strength and stamina (could it have been the vodka at the Halloween party the night before?). Finally I was back on the bike and starting to get down the road.
Next was 10 days in St Croix in late November where George and I dove 2 dives every day. This was a great test of my knee – getting into and out of the water in full scuba gear. By weeks end I was confident and my knee was performing well. St Croix was extremely windy – a rare thing – everyday so our dive selection was not great. However, diving in St Croix is always great and we saw many amazing sights including a HUGE (at least 15 lb) Lobster out walking around in the middle of the day.
We wrapped up 2014 with George’s birthday celebration with all of our close friends in Jackson Hole after Christmas and over New Years. The weather was great and skiing was good – I did not ski but went to the gym everyday to work on my knee.
Although 2014 was not a year of great new adventures, the stage is set for 2015 to improve my knee and get back to it. Already on the agenda for 2015 are Tour de Cure, Ride for the Children, MS Ride to Gold, MS Cape Code Getaway, 2 week Safari in South Africa (along with a Great White cage dive!) and Tour de Scottsdale (will I break 3 hours????)