Taking Stock


As we move deeper into 2024, I find myself at a crossroads that I hadn’t anticipated at the beginning of the year. The past few months have been marked by a severe shoulder injury, initiating a sobering period of introspection and adjustment that has significantly impacted my cycling journey and overall well-being.

Reflecting on Recent Challenges

Since completing the Camino Real Double Century on February 17, my ability to train consistently has been severely compromised. The shoulder injury I sustained during the Bass Lake Powerhouse Double Century in October has progressively worsened, leading to constant pain that ranges from 6 to 8 out of 10 throughout the day, with periodic excruciating pain (10/10) when I need to use my left arm. This persistent discomfort stems from what is known as a ‘frozen shoulder,’ a condition that restricts movement and causes chronic pain. This pain isn’t just a minor inconvenience; it’s a barrier that prevents me from engaging in my passion for cycling and living my day-to-day life without discomfort.

Bass Lake Powerhouse Double Century (October 14, 2023)

In my previous post about the Camino Real Double Century, I expressed a sense of optimism fueled by the exhilaration of completing such a challenging ride, despite the minimal preparation. At the time, the accomplishment brought a surge of positivity, overshadowing the physical toll it exacted on my body, particularly my already compromised shoulder.

Unfortunately, I had not fully realized the extent to which pushing through the event exacerbated my shoulder injury. This delayed realization that my momentary triumph had deepened my physical issues presents a complex emotional landscape: pride in my achievement is now tinged with regret and a more cautious perspective on listening to and respecting my body’s limits. As I reflect on this, I am reminded of the delicate balance between pushing one’s limits and heeding the warning signs of injury, a balance I am now more committed to finding as I focus on recovery and future rides.

Lunch stop at the Camino Real Double Century (February 17, 2024).

The impact of this injury was made painfully clear when I had to withdraw from major events I had been looking forward to, including the Solvang Spring Double Century in March and the Mulholland Double Century in April. With the Eastern Sierra Double Century looming in June, and only six weeks remaining to prepare, the reality is setting in that participating might not be feasible.

As I navigate the challenges of my current physical condition, I often find myself reflecting on the incredible rides I’ve completed over the past several years. These memories of pushing through grueling ascents, speeding down scenic descents, and crossing finish lines with a mixture of exhaustion and exhilaration are bittersweet. They serve as vivid reminders of a time when my body felt almost invincible, capable of overcoming any challenge thrown its way. Realizing how much my physical condition has declined since then can be heart-wrenching. The stark contrast between those triumphant moments and my current struggles with injury and fitness is not just a source of frustration; it’s a profound emotional burden that weighs heavily on my spirit. This stark realization motivates me to seek recovery and regain some semblance of my former endurance, but it also requires me to come to terms with the current limitations of my body.

These challenges have tested more than my physical limits; they have transformed my understanding of health and resilience. This journey has taught me that true strength lies in recognizing and respecting one’s vulnerabilities.

The Toll on Health and Fitness

The physical limitations brought on by my injury have been accompanied by significant weight gain—about 20+ pounds over the past seven months. This has been the result of decreased physical activity, coupled with periods of depression and disordered eating. Each factor feeds into the other, creating a cycle that has been difficult to break.

Looking Ahead: Treatment and Recovery

Next week, I have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor to explore treatment options for my shoulder. I have already tried physical therapy, but it hasn’t helped so far. The uncertainty of what those options will entail–more physical therapy, injections, or surgery–and the duration of the recovery process adds another layer of anxiety to an already challenging situation. However, I am trying to approach this next step with optimism, hoping for a plan that will not only address the pain but also allow me to gradually return to cycling.

Moving Forward with Hope

The journey ahead is undoubtedly daunting. I am faced with the dual challenge of rebuilding my fitness and losing the weight I’ve gained, all while recovering from a significant injury. Yet, despite these hurdles, I am committed to moving forward. The road to recovery may be long and arduous, but it is also an opportunity to rebuild stronger than before.

Next week’s appointment with the orthopedic doctor is a crucial step towards outlining potential treatment options, ranging from physical therapy to possibly more invasive interventions, each carrying its timeline and set of expectations.

I am hopeful that with the right treatment, support from my family and friends, and the resilience that cycling has instilled in me over the years, I will be able to return to the sport I love and perhaps even share my journey back to health and performance with all of you.

As I brace for the months ahead, I invite you to share your stories of overcoming physical setbacks. Your experiences and support not only inspire but also remind us all of the strength found in community. Together, let’s embrace the journey back to health.

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

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