I had a really nice endurance ride after work today. Out on the ride I felt something I haven't felt for a long time; me pulling up with my left leg when sprinting. While, I'm taking it somewhat easy on these endurance rides (I usually try to keep my heart rate under 157), I also try to get some sprints and jumps in, particularly at traffic lights. When I see a green light in front of me I usually gun it, both so that I can make the light as well as trying to work on one of my biggest weaknesses, namely changes in pace. Today for the first time I could actually feel my left shin muscle flexing at the bottom of my pedal stroke as it tried to pull my foot up.
I also seem to be having some good success with getting some of the scar tissue at the top of my knee to break up as well as strengthening my quads and hamstrings. I've been doing a lot of single leg squats in the gym, which is really helping. Doing one leg at a time gives my knee a chance to bend under load and really gives me a chance to increase some of the strength in my leg muscles. I'm nearly to where I can go down to a 90 degree angle and get back up again, so things are looking up. Back when I first started doing these, a long time ago, I was lucky to be able to bend 25 degrees and then straighten back up. I'm also finding that I can sometimes feel the tissue at the top of my knee pulling away from the wires that are in there, especially on rides. It hurts a bit at first, but if I rub it down the pain goes away.
The bottom line is that I'm feeling really good about my decision to step back from racing and instead concentrate on my left leg and having fun on my bike. I'm getting to the gym once or twice a week, making time to use my electro stimulator five times a week, and still riding 8 to 10 hours a week.