So, he met up with Brian Curran on his mountain bike and went for a spin in Ashridge Woods.
'Good idea', you might think. There's no shortage of enthusiastic protagonists at this time for year for off road training. It's more time efficient compared with road riding (you tend to work harder), it sharpens the bike handling skills a touch, it's far warmer (because the effort-to-speed ratio is much higher than on-road) and it's great fun as everyone has a stack at some point.
Unfortunately, Doug's one stack on this ride has cost him dearly.
His penchant for speed got the better of him as he hit a branch with his knee and well and truly whacked his knee cap. "I shrugged it off and carried on as quickly as possible to catch up with Brian", he recalls. "It did twang a bit but I thought nothing of it."
After returning home, he soon realised all was not well: "It started to swell up so I decided I would stay in the next day and rest it." The next day, the swelling was beginning to resemble a balloon, but still Doug remained optimistic: "The following week, the swelling had gone down a bit so I got back on the bike."
This would appear to have been his major error. The knee swelled up out of all proportion over a painful hour ride and Doug was forced to reconsider his medium term training plan.
|Doug's had lots of time to perfect his training food|
After several weeks of staying indoors, his trombone playing [the day job] is in outstanding form, but his legs are flagging and the Physiotherapist has ordered further rest, after informing him that his left leg has next-to-no quadriceps muscle. "At least I've had time to perfect my Pantani pasta recipe," he jokes.
Doug is one of our more philospohical riders, and if anyone could handle a frustrating situation like this, it's him, but by Feb the 1st he had lost patience on a few occasions.
"I know there are worse things to happen, and I know it could have happened at a far worse time, but I've now had over 4 weeks off the bike, which is my longest absence for a few years, and there's no denying that I haven't been easy to live with at times," he admits.
The mountain bike is staying in the shed until further notice.