After a fantastic start to 2017 pounding out record mileage on my home trails in Cave Creek, AZ, I was sidelined by our business and the most annoying injury of my cycling days, IT-Band Friction Syndrome. Owning a business and working from home does have its perks such as midday rides, but for the most part, the business owns you and not the other way around. Father’s Day at NiciArt was a test of endurance as open orders eclipsed 3000 in just a matter of a few weeks. While there is little I can do to help Nici engrave, pressing guitar picks and clipping tabs became my assigned task for several long weeks.
The IT-Band friction syndrome began in the beginning of May just as the weather turned hot and my off season was just a few weeks away. To someone who hasn’t experienced the frustration of a snapping knee, an injury without pain might sound like just a minor nuisance, however the reality is that vicious pop with every pedal stroke or struggling with staircases grows old after a week. Thanks to a Kenalog Injection under the IT-Band at the epicondyle of the lateral femur head, the popping is now on summer vacation. An unfortunately reality of modern medicine is the patient having to take the lead in pursing treatment options for injuries. Doctors are often technicians with steady hands and experience in outcomes, but deciding on the actual path of treatment, requires the patient to study the options. A good physician such as my local sports and pain management doctor in New Jersey offers explanations, explores options, and discusses ideas with the patient. In medicine there is rarely one answer to solving problems as the human body can adapt to stress or compensate for mechanical imperfections. Besides crashes or traumatic injuries, overuse injuries and syndromes are the result of multiple deep rooted fundamental issues such as training errors, genetics, positioning on the bike, and strength training. In my case, lack of strength training at the gym and excessive saddle height to compensate for right knee chondromalacia probably caused the left IT-Band to be over tensioned with weak hip abductors and adductors to control the stabilizing forces. Of course, there’s also the inexplicable which often leads to over-thinking, over-analyzing, or adoption of pseudo-science such as Adrenal Fatigue or Gluten Intolerance. I wouldn’t be surprised if the internet turned out to be the leading cause of unnecessary doctor visits. Either way, this post is not intended to be a discussion of pseudo-science rather an announcement that a road trip to Colorado is a serious consideration.
Compared to 2012, the road trip has evolved from adventure to a managed production as we traded in the Acura TL S for Ram 3500 with a camper top and endless cargo capacity. That little Acura logged 200,000 miles in just a few short years carrying our dog, 1000 lbs of cargo, and bikes all over the country. Now relegated to the garage, I crack a smile when jumping from that beast of a truck to the 6 cylinder turbo with a manual 6 speed. Grabbing groceries in Old Silver feels like a day at the go-cart track. Sadly, our 16 yr old black lab is a bit less enthusiastic about long road trips and prefers to stay home to guard the trash and couch whenever possible although she did happily come along on our last road trip in June from Arizona to New Jersey to escape the scorching heat. Also amazing is how she is essentially deaf to the word “come’ yet can hear even the smallest crumb hit the ground at 9.81 m/s^2.
As creativity is at an all time low under the drizzle and foggy humidity of Northern New Jersey, it’s hard to find any justification not to take a little road trip out to Colorado. A mixed combination of sleeping in the back and VBRO should keep the budget well in check. Surprisingly our beast manages 20 mpg diesel in most situations with responsible use of the gas pedal, so planning and packing is essentially a split second decision inspired by caffeine and the dream of escaping the wet humid Northeast for a little fresh mountain air. If we do manage this trip, it will mark the first real vacation since starting our business in 2011. To date, we have only managed extended weekend getaways or working on the road. Like I said at the beginning of this post, owning a business really means being owned by your business.