What do 1,100 miles, 31 days, a fully loaded bike, and crushing knee pain have in common? Leg#2 of our Coast to Coast Ride…our bicycle adventure with knee arthritis

LEG #2 – Jackson, Wyoming to Sioux City, Iowa

It’s all part of our continuing cross-country bicycle adventure with knee arthritis. Our goal is to ride “C2C” corner to corner, coast to coast. The first corner started in our home town of Bellingham, Washington, nestled on the coast between Seattle and the Canadian border. Our ultimate destination is Key West Florida… but we won’t get there for a few years.

Here is how we are doing it… we are breaking this epic journey into a 3-4 week “Leg” every summer. Leg #1 was Bellingham to Great Falls, Montana. You can read all about this journey and see lots of pictures beginning here.

For Leg #2, we depart Bellingham on 7/28 in a one-way rented van to drive to our start in Jackson, Wyoming. From there we tackle a LOT of climbing and miles to <hopefully> end in Sioux City Iowa.

1,100 Miles & 31 Days

Leg #2 route takes us over 1,100 miles in 31 days – which includes

  • 21 days of riding an average of 50-60 miles per day
  • 2 rest days
  • 2 days of travel to drive to our start point
  • 3 days to travel to drive home
  • Over 40,000 feet of elevation gain
  • Crossing the continental divide
  • The Rocky Mountains & Yellowstone National Park
  • Over 5,000 ft climb to reach 9,647 ft in Bighorn National Forest
  • Devils Tower National Monument
  • Mickleson Trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota
  • Mt. Rushmore & Crazy Horse Monuments
  • The BADLANDS in South Dakota
  • Cowboy Trail in Nebraska

FULLY LOADED BIKES

Doug on the road!

We both ride Salsa Marakesh touring bikes…no we do not have “E-Bikes” – although this has been suggested many times for those who know that both me and my husband have injuries. If ONLY the E-Bikes had a greater than 50 mile range!

This is what our bikes will look like… mine weighed in at 75+ lbs, fully loaded.

And now the Crushing Knee Pain…

I had my left knee replaced in November 2017 – that knee is great thanks to my custom Conformis knee! It’s my other knee, the right one, that is heading toward that path of replacement. I’ve gotten “knock-kneed” on the right side as a part of the arthritis and compression of bone-on-bone on the lateral compartment (outside) of my knee. My right knee almost hits my bike frame when I pedal. There is plenty of constant pain (those of you with arthritis understand this grinding chronic condition) – but my desire to start Leg #2 outweighs the risk of too much pain.

So…is it wise to go on this bicycle adventure with knee arthritis? Will I actually be able to pedal all those miles? Well, I don’t know if it is wise, but I do like a good challenge. I also want to show people that staying active with arthritis is possible…when you do the right things.

Notes to my doctor before my right knee replacement in November 2017

I see my orthopedic surgeon next week to talk replacement plan. Hopefully he will send me away with a hefty cortisone shot, I’ll bring along a bucket full of ibuprofen and KT Tape, and I hope that will see me through.

I’m more worried about my husband who had an Achilles tendon surgery in February to repair a total tear. He has been diligently following his training plan to increase strength and mileage.

We are both going into this ride at a disadvantage… but we are doing it anyway…and will VLOG about our journey along the way. Stay tuned for our video journal and come along for the RIDE!

Ride Bikes, Ride Happy!
~ Robin Robertson
Founder: Healthy Knees Coach
Author: Healthy Knees Cycling
Business Owner/Manager: Bellingham Training & Tennis Club


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