After separating my shoulder in May, I kept my rides fairly short and stayed off the dirt for about six weeks. I was very concerned about having any setbacks that might prolong my recovery.
Recently I have been adding mileage and sprinkling in a little dirt here and there. Yesterday I finally felt like I was healed up enough to get back at it. I loaded up on water and food and headed out for a big loop I had never tried before.
First off was the trail near my house that parallels Highway 50 heading east. It isn't terribly exciting, but it gets technical and rocky in spots, and it keeps me off the road.
After crossing over Highway 50 and a short ride on Mother Lode Drive, I turned onto the El Dorado Trail, which heads south along the railroad tracks.
The trail varies from smooth singletrack, to steep and rocky ATV trail, to narrow goat path. In the beginning there are properties along both sides of the track. As you ride deeper into the boonies, there are times when you really feel isolated.
Towards the end the trail bends west towards South Shingle Road.
After nine miles of trail I hit South Shingle and headed south to the town of Latrobe. I crossed Latrobe Road and continued on South Shingle. After about a mile, the road turns to gravel.
The dirt and gravel continues for around seven miles. Sometimes the scenery looked like the "gravel grinder" racing pictures I have seen from the Midwest.
I left the dirt and took Scott Road north. As you can see from the elevation profile, this was the low point of the ride. From there I had a long, hot, uphill ride home. Although the Garmin output says it was only 82 degrees, it was way hotter than that. Perhaps that figure comes from the beginning of the ride.
I rolled up the driveway pretty spent, but I was pleased with how well my shoulder responded to 16 miles of pounding from a rigid fork on various off-road surfaces. Although I sometimes experience pain taking off my shirts, and I still can't sleep on my left side, from a cycling standpoint I consider the shoulder 100% healed. I hereby declare myself medically cleared to do whatever the heck I want.
I'm looking forward to putting some miles in and getting back to the fitness level I achieved in May.