As I write this I am on a plane heading to my annual Vermont 50 Mountain Bike Race pilgrimage. Which is really an excuse to visit Holly, Jon, their two awesome kids (who I claim as niece and nephew) and one awesome dog.

I decided it would be tough to complete 50 miles on a hand cycle, given that my current hand cycling distance record is about 7 miles. So I have settled for volunteering at an aid station this year. I’ll have to do a lot of PT that day to earn my post race burger and beer.

Puck and I spent a couple days in Denver this week en route to my flight out. This presented the challenge of exercising Puck. I’m wary of walking him on leash, as you might imagine. And leash walks don’t do much for Puck anyhow. Other than annoy him.

Enter off leash dog park.

Without thinking of the ramifications, I loaded my pants pocket with dog treats for Puck. It didn’t take long to realize my mistake. Any dog that got close to me became my instant friend. This would not normally be an issue. Obviously I love dogs. But when you are 6 weeks out from knee surgery, you realize that having large dogs mob you is not a good thing. And then, of course, there were the dog chase packs speeding right at me over and over, oblivious to anything in their way. I spent a lot of time hanging on to fence posts.

Later on Tuesday I had my final (hallelujah) follow up X-ray on my broken finger. You may not have known I had a broken finger because I broke it IN NOVEMBER.

Life lesson 2: Do not wait 4 months to see doctor when your finger is swollen and painful. It slows the healing process significantly.

Life lesson 3: Don’t chicken out mid-jump when trying to jump over a large box at CrossFit. Thankfully this is my only CrossFit injury to date. Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

When I finally went to the doctor in March and found out I had broken my finger, the physical therapist fashioned me a hard plastic finger splint/cover that I could use at the gym. It looked like a miniature of Darth Vader’s helmet. And because it was my middle finger, I had the added benefit of flipping everyone off while I was working out. I’m thankful I won’t have to wear it anymore.

It is good that I am taking this trip now because I needed a break from hand cycling. Not only are my arms starting to resemble the Incredible Hulk’s; but – true to form – I have started to really irritate my neck and shoulder. It appears that my overzealous hand cycling has torqued my ribs and vertebrae and led to some ugly nerve pain and numb fingers. Note to reader: I did this exact same thing last time I hand cycled post injury. Dumb de dumb dumb.

I spent last week in CB at the chiropractor and massage therapist, trying to get things back in place so I could at least sleep. Of course I was still hand cycling. The amazing thing about exercise and pain is that often the only time you don’t feel the pain is when you are exercising.

I’m not sure what the life lesson is in all this. Clearly I have yet to learn it. Probably it is something like the quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.

The next few weeks will be fun: Vermont this weekend. Quick stopover in Denver. Then on Sun Valley via Park City for a final fall mountain biking (for Mark) and hand cycling (for me) adventure!

I’ll keep you posted.