About a year ago I ordered a bike from a kid named Adam Sklar who I used to coach when I worked for the Singletrack Mountain Bicycling Association. Adam is a great guy who has shown a real passion for framebuilding. I'm not sure if I approached him or he approached me, but before I knew it I was on the "list" for a Sklar Bike. It took a bit to get, as Adam is in school full time at Montana State, but good things come to those who wait. When I ordered mine, I believe he had made two or three frames total so he cut me a ridiculous deal as a trade for being something of a guinea pig for the first frames. Well, that was a great decision on my part. By the time he got to my frame, he'd built about ten total and his systems were dialed. He even built a matching fork to boot.
I took it on its first ride after work yesterday. Just a little climb up a mesa west of town, and then along some old dirt service roads. What can I say…the Sklar is pretty damned amazing. It's an absolute winner. My first impression was, wow this thing REALLY fits well. It's like an extension of my body. I've never felt that on a bike before. It's very quick accelerating too. I've only ridden it on the road thus far but I can tell it's going to handle like a dream. It has the perfect balance between being peppy and stable. Beyond that, it looks incredible. It's really, really eye catching. It comes in at exactly 25 pounds which is pretty damned good for a geared, steel bike. Beyond that, it's just fun. Really fun. So fun that I can't wait for my next ride. Simply put, I couldn't be happier.
It's a little bittersweet to have it ready so soon before surgery, but what are you going to do? Ride the hell out of it for the next nine days and then, come August, use it as a major tool for the road to full recovery.
Thank you Adam Sklar. That little project bike you made for me just made me fall back in love with biking. And while I'm excited to use it later this summer, what I'm really excited for is the adventures it will bring over the next decade or so.
The last few days have been up and down. There is the bravado that getting this surgery and coming back is going to be an easy process, but I know deep down it'll be anything but. There are a lot of things I don't like about it, and most of them have nothing to do with the surgery – although that is scary unto itself. It's the atrophy of the muscles, the lack of endorphines, and more than anything, missing out on adventures with my wife. I know in the big scheme of things it's pretty minor, and it's not forever, but it's tough.
I think the other thing that is a bit perplexing is that I've apparently been coping with this injury for basically two decades now, and while it occassionally gives me problems, it's hardly like I can't do the things I love. I've skied 650 days in the past four years, and until April 4, problems have been very minimal. I do think one of the reasons I coped well for so long is biking, and I don't think it's an accident that the latest episode happened after a summer where biking was minimal. The thing I wish I knew was if it was totally torn before April 4, or if it was 10% intact and that was enough for me to do the things I loved. If it was totally torn for the past 20 years, what's the big freaking deal? Get strong again and keep her rolling.
On the flip side, Dr. Hackett is the absolute best and I'm very confident it'll go well. He's not using my patella or hamstring for the graft – it'll be from a cadaver – and that will speed the process even more. And the truth is, even if I don't get the surgery I'll be mentally doing rehab work all summer long. Would it be better to do that rehab work on a knee that is completely fixed and suffer initially more, or do it on a knee with no ACL and hope for the best?
These are the thoughts vascillating through my head these days. I'm definitely leaning strongly towards surgery, but I think I might get a 2nd opinion from a physical therapist. I just want to get it right.