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Day 19 - Wabash, Indiana to Troy Ohio
133 miles
1030' climbing

Last year on Boston-Montreal-Boston, I injured my ankle halfway through the ride. My stubbornness would not allow me to stop, so I kept trying to push on until the pain became so unbearable that we were forced to quit. Well, sort of. After a full night's sleep, and a lot of ice, the ankle stopped hurting. We still had plenty of time to make checkpoints, so we started back up again and finished the ride. This experience taught me a lot about myself and the healing process. Now was the time to put it to a test.

I had iced my achilles throughout the evening, and then stretched when I got up. I planned to really take it easy during the day, and hopefully not do any more damage. I rolled out alone, and just tried to ride just below the pain threshold. Just after the first snack stop a major paceline train went rolling by. When the first riders passed, I decided to just let them go, but by the time the end reached me, I realized that it was composed of almost everyone, and decided to try. I knew it would be easier in the group than alone, and decided to stick it out as long as it didn't hurt. The pace was fast, but easy to maintain in the group, and I stayed with them. A few miles before we reached the Ohio border, the real hammers broke out of the line and sprinted for it.

Lunch was at a bike shop, which was quite handy. My index shifting was really getting sloppy and was sticking in both directions. I'd had this trouble before and knew it meant that the cable was sticking in the housing. I decided to get new cables and housing, and it sure was nice to have someone else do the work, while I ate. I was really surprised after lunch how stiff the shifting had been before. The pressure I had been using to shift one, now shifted three or four. It took a while to readjust, but I was very happy with my indexing again.

Throughout the day, the pain occasionally popped back, but I'd just back off a little and keep going. I starting taking the maximum recommended dosage of ibuprofen, and thought back to my hope of making it through this ride without drugs! Well, I certainly wasn't the only one. In fact lots of people were taking a lot more than I was. There were lots of ankles taped up, and knee braces, and most everyone had a saddle sore or two, some worse than others. Most of us just seemed to live with whatever pain we were experiencing and still enjoy the trip. Susan later told us it was the first trip in many years that people toughed out whatever problems they had, and no one flew home. Quite a few sagged at some point during the ride, but everyone recovered from whatever problems and got back on their bikes.

After suffering from achilles problems last year, John had discovered a partial solution in the form of surgery to the shoes. Apparently the achilles support found in so many shoes can actually aggravate the situation, so removing it may help. John had already performed this surgery on his shoes, and offered to help me with mine after dinner.

We ate with my roommate at a Golden Corral across the highway. Nancy wasn't terribly impressed with the tiny little desert cup they gave us, but found the big salad plate adequate for an ice cream sundae. I really was starting to enjoy my ice cream treats every night and starting to worry about the bad habits I was developing. Would I be able to give up nightly ice cream, or would I have to ride 100 miles a day forever.