Sunday we did training run fully loaded run as one of our last steps to prepare for the full tour. This coming Sunday we will have another simular run, or at least I hope it is with the exception of the end of last Sundays ride.
Last Sunday we travelled to Massillon to ride the Old B&O Railroad Trail to Butler. Down and back was to be about 37 or 38 miles. We packed the bikes with all of our equipment and supplied we expect to take and I added about 15 or so extra pounds as well so I was up to 60 to 65 pounds. I felt maybe the extra weight would help since this was a very flat trail. The first three days we have scheduled on our trip from Pittsburgh to Cumberland Maryland will be a long slow uphill battle. Anyway I think it helped simulate the extra force of gravity we will be going against. My legs and knees were starting to really feel a bit of the grind after 25 miles or so. We kept a pace of about 8 or 9 mile per hour. We stopped a fewplaces to rest and sight see, and take some pictures. For lunch at the halfway point we went to a little restaurant in Butler. It was a great day in all, weather was great and everything was looking good and going right. With about 7 or 8 miles we stopped for a bathroom break and a shot rest at a community park in Lexington to take a break and eat a Cliff-bar and drink some fluids.
We were talking about how we learned a lot this day, about packing and weight distribution, I was reflecting on how my legs felt and how our bodies were reacting to a weighted run. Overall we felt real good and decided to take a few pictures of each other on the bikes.
It was at this point we were to learn our most valuable lesson of the day.
To make a long story short, my right foot was clipped into my pedal and I didn’t realize it was while we were a taking a few pictures. When I stopped to take my camera back I started to fall to the right and shifted my weight over to the left. The quick action of shifting the weight made my bike lean to much to the left and the pedal edge dug into my ankle. When I looked down I could see blood pulsating through my sock. I had a very deep cut and had cut a large vein. The doctor told me I was only a few centimeter away form the artery and major nerve. It took some time to get the bleeding to stop.
Few hours later I had two stitches a bruised leg and wounded pride. The good thing though was it missed the acheillies tendon and any real major structures in the ankle. There were no bone chips or breaks either.
Training runs like this are to test yourself and provide a checkpoint of your progress and to learn where things can be improved, see what goes right and what goes wrong. We learned a lot about our packing and how we need to distrubute the weight in our panniers, how to pace ourselves, take in nutritinal needs and fluids. But I think the most important lesson we learned Sunday was how to deal with the unexpected and an emergency situation.
In the past on rides we have dealt with flats and other minor things that I consider more of an inconvience. In this case we learned how to deal with a medical emergency and what we need to improve on. First I think each one of us should probably carry some basic medical supplies or a first aid kit so we know exacly where it is in our own packs. The kits should be easy to get to as well to avoid searching for it. Antibiotic wet ones or wipes work great as presure bandages and for cleaning the area of a wound. A roll or two of self adhearing surgical wrap should be carried, and self cooling ice packs to help with swelling. In this case Tom had some small clean towels and some duct tape which really came in handy because being able to get a good tight wrap over the wound with the towel wrapped around it was how I finally got the bleeding to stop.
It was unfortunate that we or I had to learn this lesson the hard way but it was a lesson well learned and I think that Tom and I both learned a lot out of it as did Brett who was with us as well and rode back to get the car. We didn’t panic and dealt with the situation with the material we had handy. We learned that we needed to be a bit more prepared for the unexpected.
With only a little over a week till we leave I am getting pretty excited on fullfilling the dream of my first cross country tour. I am at the same time just now starting to get a little nervous about it. Not that I don’t think we are ready or prepared just the excitment I think of fullfilling the dream makes me a bit nervous. When I ran my first Marathon last year I was so nervous before but as soon as the bell rang to start the race it all goes away. I am sure next Saturday morning will be the same as we set off on our journey.