I have a new ACL and an expensive new knee brace. The ACL is from a cadaver, a fact that drives home the value of checking the organ-donor box on one’s driver’s license. I started PT Monday and had a second session today. The goal is strength, flexibility, and stability, but the real time frame is long. The donor tendon is actually nothing more than a length of collagen with a bone wedge on one end. It fits into holes drilled into my femur and tibia, the wedge holding one end and a screw the other. It’s carpentry. The tendon needs to ossify into place; in essence, the glue needs to set. But there the carpentry simile ends. My body needs to grow a blood supply and its own cells into the matrix the donor tendon creates.
It’s pretty damn cool, but the process takes months. Months where my main goal is not to damage the new tendon. So, I’m not going to be doing a lot of cycling soon, and certainly no mountain biking until well into next year.
I am buying a smart trainer this week though, a used Wahoo Kickr I can set my old Specialized up on. As soon as I have the range of motion, I’ll be riding the Zwift. Zwifting along. Upzwifting and downzwifting. Zooming the Zwift Zephyr.
Such is the price of one moment of stupidity, one moment of saying, “What the fuck? Let’s go for it.”
But all experiences become part of one’s narrative, and I’m grateful to live a comfortable enough life to have that perspective. I learned something about myself that day back in June, drawing the line between athletic growth and recklessness just a little more sharply. I’ll be a better rider for it.