not better yet...

it has been over a month since the Baker's Dozen and I am not fully recovered
the ribs are no longer as sensitive as they were
yet I can feel them... normally you do not feel your ribs
ribs are there... but the ribs are not felt

I think I can now sneeze safely.... I have yet to sneeze and am afraid to try

so... although my ribs are pretty much healed... I am not yet healed
my whole right side is off
my whole right side is off and something funky happened to my neck
a friend said that it sounded like the fall I took not only bruised up my whole right side but also gave me whiplash

whiplash sounds about right

layman's terms and hearsay
speculation with only the certification of personal experience to make a regular guy prognosis
so... when my neck got funky last night I did what I should have done the Monday after the Baker's Dozen
I went to get a doctor's analysis and a doctor's treatment
enough with home remedies and the notion that time heals all wounds

today I went to the doctor and got some x-rays of my neck
the ribs are no longer an issue... so no x-rays on the ribs... although the ribs were examined
as attention is given to the correction of the neck in physical therapy I can monitor things to see what else may be "off"

there have been enough dislocations for me to know that I did not dislocate my shoulder
while a broken clavicle is a pretty common mountain bike injury... my broken clavicle experience was diagnosable without x-rays...
so... some examination from the doctor had me get some x-rays of my neck
the neck is the center of my current issue

yep... something went wrong with my neck
it hurts... it is stiff... it is sore
there are directions that hurt to move into
there are positions that are not an option
the way I hold my head when I walk is awkward
an aggressive position on a road bike is not an option
even taking a photograph is a painful process that lacks in natural fluidity

my stiff neck has me moving around in a more Lurch-like way than usual

this all happened yesterday
after clearing some fallen logs and limbs things started tighten up
there had been the moving of some sizable logs and some serious limbs
but there was not a moment where anything happened
I think similar to my back earlier this year
I just over stretched some rubber bands

the three day weekend past was fun packed
a good weekend for stretching a rubber band

there were alley parties... wedding parties... memorial day bbqs
there were pick up soccer games, extended hikes in the woods with the dog, and urban treks where I walked and my boys rode their bikes

not sure how but somehow in the middle of all that activity I was able to mountain bike at both Rosaryville and Schaeffer Farms

the assault at Rosaryville was done solo... once Lisa returned from Yoga I passed off the boys and loaded up the car and rolled out to PG County
there was just enough time for a few laps in the woods before having to rush home to shower then drive across town to drop the boys off at my mom's before lisa and I went to a wedding in Baltimore
did two laps... could have snuck in a third... but thought it best to save my legs for the wedding and the following days

it was early afternoon by the time I got my tires on dirt at Rosaryville State Park
the parking lot was packed and so were the trails... or so I feared
there were really only a few interactions with other mountain bikers, a few hikers, and a wagon train of maybe 15 people in line on horseback

the rain has brought the greenry to life in the woods
Rosaryville is one big blind turn
fearing the head on collision I not only brought down my speed but I also hooted around the blindest of the blind turns
giving the same sound I use to call my dog I tried to call out to the person or people coming my way at each blind turn

there were no near misses
there were no close calls
yet being so fresh to being back on the bike I rode in fear
not so much fearing a crash
but fearing a head on collision that would result in an ugly crash

it is good to have caution
but part of having a good time is letting it go
you can not let it go if you obsess on it
much of my energy was expending on preventing the worst case scenario

as good as I felt on the bike I could feel that my body was still off
not so much that my ribs hurt from heavy breathing
more that my right side was slightly off
just as I can tell that the arm does not feel right when I try to throw a football
I could tell that my right side was feeling right when I was on the bike

riding alone tends to lower the volume a bit
riding with the right people can crank the volume
on this day I was going no where near eleven
on this day I rode fast but not furious
avoided the tokyo drift

it was a good day on the bike
my energy was good and my effort was solid
did not race the clock... actually I forgot to look at the clock
which is for the best because on days when I look at the clock I can get frustrated with the notion of being polite and patient as in the case of letting the dozen plus horses pass
they were cool... the exchange of hellos was genuine and good
but I would prefer to just pedal without having to stop
I also like to ride a lap and have an idea of my lap time

knowing the lap times is a good measure of fitness and speed
on this day I had no idea of my fitness or speed
it seemed that I was not that fast or not that fit
but no lap times to study to greater understand my effort

the next day arrived with tentative plans to head up to Schaeffer Farms with Cargo Mike
when the morning arrived my post wedding energy was sort of hoping that Cargo Mike's stronger than
strong maybe was going to turn into a sorry dude when I called in the AM
no dice rock slice... Cargo Mike was ready to roll
so I loaded things up and drove across town with the Niner on the Element

trying to learn how to ride my Niner: Rip Nine
trying to learn to love the Rip Nine... it is an easy bike to love
still trying to learn to ride it

part of me feels guilty chasing Cargo Mike in the woods on this posh squishy ride
the rest of me realizes that I am chasing him and not dropping him so I am not cheating anyone

the timing was good
somehow I managed to be moving faster than the tentative time plans
up earlier... out of the house earlier... across town picking Cargo Mike up earlier.... and on the trails earlier than anticipated
two solid hours of trying to flow and float through the woods of Schaeffer Farms
somehow Cargo Mike managed to flow and float on his old Surly One by One with its new 650B wheels while I still herky jerked my way about the woods
Mike floated over logs that I snuck around
where I rolled over log piles... Cargo Mike floated over without making contact

Mike was good enough to ride at a friendly pace
race pace is not an option
no legs... no lungs...
no finesse and no power
not only do I lack technical handling but I also lack confidence

okay... things are not that bad
I am feeling pretty good on the bike
not where I should be
yet still feeling good on the bike
it is always better on the bike
as good as I felt on the bike I could feel that I was a little off

Memorial Day came without any consideration of the bike
no time for a lazy morning...
a game of pick up soccer with the kids and some small goals down at Pierce Mill in Rock Creek Park
then a mad dash across the border into maryland for some red white and blue memorial day tradition of a bbq poolside
I was as excited as the boys
we left our house in our swim trunks
the boys were hard to get out of the pool

Dean and I left early so Dean could try out for a travel soccer team
the tryouts were rained out so we just kicked the ball in the rain
Dean initiated the notion of practicing head balls and throw ins
we left soaked

the three day weekend fed into the week having me ask myself why all weekends were not three day weekends?
so much more can be accomplished in three days
while not that much more is accomplished in five days than if we were to only work for four

after work on Tuesday I took the dog into the woods after a short cross town ride
in the woods I cleaned up some branches and limbs that had fallen in the recent rains
then I try to distribute some large branches that were piled up after some Park Service cut down a tree right behind The Rosemount Center

used some of the branches to try and slow the eroision
but really just wanted to try and make it less of an eyesore

so... I moved some broken twigs around and even some hefty logs
it felt good to move some earth
I felt that I had made things better
then I felt a soreness where my shoulder meets my neck
then my neck stiffened up
I finished up the rest of the short hike home without trying to short cut things and entered the house stiff as a board
walking like the mummy or maybe a zombie from a fifties B Movie

Lisa tended to the boys without my assistance as I tried to resolve my neck situation
it was painful
I could feel the weight of my own head
my head did not want to sit as a head should normally sit

depression of more bikeless days and more days of near inactivity combined with the actual existing physiological pain
the pain compounded and developed into a little bit of anxiety
the anxiety had to be measured and I re-evaluated things
things were no off enough that I decided I better go to the doctor
oh man... I should have gone to the doctor before

so... this morning I emailed around the office asking for recommendations of orthopedic doctors... preferably ones with sports medicine as a background... who of course were within network
everyone was very helpful
there were lots of solid recomendations
some calls were made and it was decided to go wtih the doctor who was available asap
a friday appointment could delay things such that a person like myself could end up deciding that a doctor is no longer neccessary

wanted to re-read this
but did not get around to it
went to the doctor
need to call and make a PT appointment