When my legs hurt, I say: "Shut up legs! Do what I tell you to do!”
--Jens Voigt, German cyclist and former professional racer
In my new worldview, this connotes progress. (This is the same worldview where fetching the mail feels like 40 days wandering the desert. Needless to say, I now take new pleasure in pushing small envelopes.) Progress here means completing one full pedal stroke after several false starts and even more backwards rotations, which (the physical therapist assures me) are actually easier. The crux move is at the top of the pedal stroke; get past that, and the indoor world becomes one's cycling oyster. My slow rotation slows even further as my repaired knee approaches the pedaling apex for at least the fifth time. I feel pinching, either my reconstructed ligament bumping against its own envelope or swelling and scar tissue impinging on the action. For a split second, I wince and wonder if I should keep going; then my knee is over the top and on its way.
I go 30 more seconds, which leaves me in a clammy sweat. Never has so little felt so good. Turns out riding a bicycle is not necessarily as easy as riding a bicycle, not when my left leg has the fortitude of a droopy noodle.