Learning to be left handed

Right when I got back on my bike I looked at my full-finger cycling gloves I had bought just two days earlier. Thank goodness for these. The synthetic leather hadn’t even torn. I could only imagine how bloody and scarred my fingers would have been in that wreck had I not been wearing these. But before I had even finished riding the forest hill loop this Sunday in the Xterra East Championships, my right thumb was swelling and weakening.

I was having trouble shifting gears and gripping the handlebar and the pain was becoming overwhelming. I thought, okay I probably just jammed it and its sprained. So I kept racing with no concern for my finger but rather placing priority on maintaining my position in the race.

Later that afternoon I went to CVS and bought a splint with moderate stability. My right thumb was twice the size of the left one.

On Tuesday I went out to train with the Endorphin Fitness triathlon team and began what was going to be a three week period of intense training to get me ready for 3 sports triathlon. But every pot hole I hit I would scream in agonizing pain. Later that day I worked at Chipotle and struggled to complete even the simplest tasks like counting  money or lifting a burrito or opening a bag. Before I realized the technique of scooping burritos with two hands, I had lifted one with the use of my opposable thumb only to watch the digit snap downward. The burrito slip out from my grip and smacked onto the table, squirting beans and rice all over the counter as I watched wondering what had just happened. I attempted to do the normal task again and watched my thumb snap out of place once more, same result.

I decided against racing in the Working Man’s Classic that night, feeling I should at least wait another day to decide.

I went to Huguenot flatwater on Wednesday morning to swim with the EF team. But after just a few hundred meters I could tell that my hand needed some more rest so I called it a day.

With my brace fully tightened, I hopped on my bike that night for the Working Man’s Classic and went out and raced in the Cat 1,2,3 race. I fought for a four man breakaway that seemed like it was going to succeed, making big pulls but in the end finished up around 15th for the night.

© 2010 G. BAKER ELLETT

But come Thursday morning with my thumb swollen and a fabulous array of colors, I decided I might as well go to the doctor to hear some good news. I figured, I’ll go in, hear my ligament is just slightly torn and I’ll have an excuse to race tonight.

As the doctor at Ortho On Call felt my thumb, testing strength in different directions I thought, “Okay, this is good. She must not have seen anything wrong with the X-ray so she’s probably going to just locate which ligament I tore and give me a stronger brace.”

Instead I got, “Okay, I’m not going to cause you any more pain. I do know what’s wrong. But I have some bad news. Your thumb is broken.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.