In August 2003, I was off the bike for an extended period of time. My trip from Pittsburgh to D.C. left me with ulnar neuropathy and I had numbness in both hands. Riding my bike aggravated this so I parked it for a while. A long while.
But the hands were the least of my worries. My Achilles tendon had been aching and was swollen pretty badly most of the time. Getting out of bed in the morning and to the shower was a chore. I had had this problem for most of 13 years and it was time to have it corrected.
In December 2003, I had surgery to remove bone spurs although the doctors found I had a broken piece of bone embedded in my Achilles. They wondered how I could walk.
The year 2004 should have been a year of recovery. Or six months. Or six weeks.
I did not start riding again until July. I went with my parents and my son, Andrew, to Berrien Springs, Michigan, for the annual “Campvention” of the Family Campers and Recreational Vehicles Association (FCRV). I took my bike and every day that week rode 30-35 miles to the coast of Lake Michigan and back. It was here I realized that my foot never healed from the surgery. I had to ice after every ride.
I put the bike back after we returned from Michigan. In early Fall I made the decision to have more surgery. On October 13, 2004 I had a “Keck and Kelly” procedure in which a wedge was removed from the back of the heel and the heel was rotated upward to relive pressure on the Achilles. It was reassembled using a 3″ titanium screw which remains.
Riding was one thing I probably should have been doing but my total in 2004 was less than 200 miles. Actually, even riding aggravated the Achilles. Surgery was the one thing I should have been doing – sooner.