Ride report: Pareltocht MTB event on the 27.5" Muni

About a month ago I participated in an (my first) organized MTB ride, being the only unicyclist among 600+ participants.
According to the organisers the courses where approximately 20/80 road / off-road, I opted for the shortest course: 25km.

As I was going to be the slowest rider on the course I took off immediately at the start of the event.
The ride was very tough because the night before there was a lot of rain, resulting in many very muddy sections.
On some stretches, the track was ridden into pulp, sometimes unridable, even for all but the best two wheeled bikers.
On some other stretches the ideal line was a small rut, something I’m not very confident in riding in.
The alternative often was riding on wet grass in which there will always be some hidden surprises.
In the final kilometers of the ride I was beat. Cramps just above the knees and skills dropping, both leading to more PD’s and UPD’s.
But I managed to finish this hellish ride, according to Strava I rode 28km in total.

Reactions of the MTBikers were all positive, I got a lot “RESPECT!” and obviously the “other wheel, half bike, etc” comments.
Best one: “And I thought I had seen everything…”

Now for the bad part:
I already had some knee issues before the ride, caused by me starting to run (too enthousiastically).
In short: this ride finished off my right knee.
After the ride all seemed OK, we still visited the zoo in the afternoon.
But in the evening and Monday I could barely stand / walk and on Tuesday I stumbled into the docter’s.
Inflammatory meds, rest, elevation, ice, on Wednesday X-ray and CT scan.
First feedback: both meniscus are torn and some cartilage damage, ligaments seem OK.
I considered most of this as prior damage since my knees have been rather bad for more than 20 years. So I was hoping for the issues to disappear after the meds resolving the inflammation.
After twee weeks all seemed much better but now, again some time later, off the meds, the knee has gotten worse again, indicating there is definitely new damage.
Today I went to the hospital to see the orthopedic surgeon for detail diagnosis and treatment plan: endoscoping surger is scheduled for Dec 3rd… to clean up the meniscus tears and check the cartilage.
Almost four weeks without any excersize now…
But the doc said it’s OK to ride so I better get some mild riding done before the surgery!

Here are some images of the ride:

Other than the rain and mud, the race sounds like a great experience. Congratulations!

Sorry to hear that. I’m not a doctor but I also think that the meniscus damage is pre-existing. As I understand it is mostly falls and acute events that tear the meniscus and most post-40 problems are degenerative. Of course, with a pre-exisring condition such that the bones are not “lubricated” well, then it’S understandable that doing a big event and lots of running will really aggrevate the joint.

I would recommend doing lots of research and consulting multiple doctors before surgery. To me that sounds more like arthritis, meaning that surgery will just remove more of that which has already degenerated and could in the long run may actualy make it worse, although more likely it just won’t help (so why do something invasive that could have other complications).

In the course of my first ACL surgery mid 30s I also had the meniscus “cleaned up” and even though the ACL is now (after a second OP) strong and good, I also have knee/meniniscus issues… mostly arthritis. Unicycling in itself seems to be very good for the knees, but UPDs not so…

Strongy consider physical therapy and coritsone shots before surgery.

There’s all kinds of info good and bad on the internet, and I’m not endorsing this one, but I did a quick search and it covers many of the issues: https://drbarbarabergin.com/mensicus-tears-after-forty-a-treatise/ (more targeted at 50s and 60s age group but still relevant).