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Planning for Italy (with bikes!)

So, in a few weeks we will be headed to Italy. I've never been and I'm super excited! We have some good friends getting married in Florence at the end of the month (the reason for the trip). We decided to add some time onto that and now we'll have just over two weeks on our own before the start of the wedding festivities.

Our first stop is Venice for two days. From Venice, we'll be riding our bikes (the new bikes, the ones that come apart and pack into roller suitcases that are checkable!) to Florence over the course of 6 days. Here's a map of the route:


The longest ride days are about 40 miles each (there are two of those), with the others days being between 20-35 miles. So far we've done a handful of 20 miles rides, and one 32 mile ride on the new bikes in preparation for this part of our trip. Remember, these bikes are not your typical road bikes. They're folders with 20-inch wheels, and the riding position is much more upright Dutch city bike than lycra-wearing aerodynamic speedster. We designed them for comfort and touring and exploring places from the Airstream, and they are perfect for that. I'd say our average mph is about 10, just to give you an idea. Yes they have 14 speeds and a bunch of other cool stuff to make touring great, but they are not fast. 

This ride is unguided (we'll have hotel reservations for each night, plus maps and stuff, but no other people riding with us) and the tour company will schlep our luggage from hotel to hotel, so all we have to have with us is what we want for that day. It sounds fabulous, exploring this way…stopping for lunch and sightseeing along the way…taking photos…getting good exercise…

…and then…

Yesterday afternoon I was running downstairs and through the garage to meet the UPS guy to sign for a couple of boxes (wine club shipments), running, kind of on my tip toes for some reason (boing, boing, boing), and all of a sudden I felt a "pop" in my left calf and then it was instantly on fire and very painful. I limped out, signed the little brown computer thingy, set the boxes in the garage, and headed directly upstairs to the freezer for some ice. It hurt A LOT. My mom was visiting and knew (from unfortunate past experience) that I'd likely torn a muscle and we started on the the R.I.C.E. regimen (Rest Ice Compression Elevation).

Yes, that's right. I tore a muscle running for wine. Shut up.

Anyway, the immediate ice and the compression wrap and elevation and rest must have helped some because it feels  better today than it did yesterday but I still can't really USE those muscles in that calf without quite a bit of pain, so I'm headed to a physical therapist for a consult in the morning. What fun. (Not at all fun.)

If I have to put my Brooks saddle back on the exercise bike downstairs and do wussy inside "rides" until we leave, I will, but I really would like not to have to undo all the training I've been doing to get ready for this trip! Bah!

Fingers crossed!


POST P/T APPT. UPDATE: I tore my gastrocnemius (the largest calf muscle)…it's the blue one:


It's a milder tear and I have four more physical therapy appointments, homework, plus a bike fit appointment before we head to Italy.

Therapist: Luckily, cycling doesn't put that much strain on this particular muscle (unless you use cleats, so don't do that for now). If you were going to hike the Cinque Terre though, I'd say you shouldn't.

Me: Oh. We actually are doing that too, but not until the 24th or so of May.

Heh. She said four weeks might be enough time to heal this tear. Yeeesh. Yay for being proactive on this!

Image: Fitness Uncovered