The whole thing was a fantastic experience, and the first true holiday I had had in decades. Existence was reduced to a series of very basic decisions (what to eat, where to stop for whatever needs, when to go to bed, when to get up... even the decision to continue after my crash was pretty basic) so mental stress was zero. The process of riding when not eating or sleeping eliminated any chance to think about problems (or a problem) that had been nagging me for years, nor did I ever find myself lying awake at night wondering about might-be's or might-have-beens. My biggest regret was that it couldn't continue forever, and the only other regret was the language thing I already mentioned above. Well, and a few regrets about not taking some roads less traveled.
The morning after my return I weighed myself at the usual time of day and discovered I was the exact same weight as when I left; quite a surprise. Pretty good control of the food intake, even if it was better luck than management. I mostly lazed around that Sunday, but did 1 hour at a low effort and reduced my food intake to what used to be normal for that level of activity. Imagine my surprise on Monday morning to find that I had lost 1kg in 24 hours! And another .7 and .3kg in the next 2 days, for a total loss of 2kg (4.4lb). Wow. When I found a dietitian who would answer a simple question over the phone (Is this normal or reasonable under the circumstances? (Finding a dietitian, period, was problematic enough: I now know that they are now mostly in the Yellow Pages as Nutritionists; an image thing, I was told: nobody wants to actually have a diet, they just want their nutrition efforts guided...)) I was advised that my metabolism was ramped up to produce a heap of extra calories every day, and it would take a few days to ramp back down to what had been normal before the tour. From talking to clubmates who did TNSTTTT, it would seem that one week wasn't quite enough to kick in the enhanced metabolism (or their bodies weren't as sensitive to it as mine was). Interesting and unexpected effect. Sadly, I never really got back into a regular cycling groove for the rest of that summer and fall, so that 2kg re-manifest itself, and then some, in not too long. Next year...?
The rest of this is all about the aftermath of the injuries, which may be of no interest to some readers, who may safely stop here and miss nothing... (that could safely be said at any point of the narrative, in truth)...
My first task on the Monday following my return was to organize physiotherapy and medical appointments for my shoulder. By the time I got home a bruise had started to show on the front of that shoulder, which initially I thought to be from tearing of muscle tissue somehow from the blow taken on the back of it. By about day 9 after the crash the bruise had finished forming (I am surprised at how long it took, especially since I don't normally bruise much), and showed the distinct shape of a piece of pipe. Which means the problem with the shoulder was not caused by impact with the ground on the back of it, but rather a blow from the frame of Banani on the front; so the bike had its' revenge for all the indignities I had put it through, a thoroughbred dragging a cart indeed, take that you!
I started physio that week, and continued with it for about 7 weeks before we were happy with the strength returning to the shoulder. It turned out to be a grade 2 separation of the shoulder: the upper end of the collarbone had been displaced, the ligaments slightly stretched, and ligaments of course do not unstretch very much so the tip of the collarbone remains a bit loose. It took me until late November to start trying to sleep on that side again (except the odd short "test") and that was because some other issue needed me to; some nights it can handle a few hours, and some it can't without discomfort, either while being laid on or afterwards. Apart from that it can do most things it used to, but sometimes will produce a sudden pang for no reason that I can discern.
The Tegaderm on elbows and R knee came off the day after I got home (a small part of that 1kg I lost, I guess...), the skin nicely healed over. The mangled skin over my R hip suddenly formed a small lake of fluid under the Tegaderm that day, which was then somehow absorbed (as near as I could tell, no leak formed) and by Wednesday (7th day since put on) was mainly dry underneath and fully skinned over. The L knee was a different issue, still too wet to plasticize although I did give Tegaderm a try on about day 10 but it became unstuck after a day and half, so back to normal dressings (I was now out of the Adaptic) for another few days. I hadn't noticed (or wanted to?) while I was still on tour that it was quite swollen too, to the point where the kneecap was undefined shape-wise. About the 18th I tried Tegaderm again, and it stayed on this time, giving anyone in sight a nice gruesome view of it. The view got worse when I bumped my knee into something, not very hard but hard enough to break a capillary or two (the Tegaderm remained unpunctured) so the normal slightly murky fluid which had accumulated under there became a fairly disgusting shade of purpley-red; after a couple of days not even I could stand the sight of it anymore so I took off the Tegaderm, washed the knee gently, and put on a new piece of Tegaderm. Finally on the 28th of August the knee had a complete new skin and the last dressing came off leaving a bit of modern artistry in several colours and textures open to the air. I was careful to use sunscreen on it for the next few weeks but by the end of September it was able to take a half-day on the bike without sunscreen (always supposing we had a half-day of sunshine when it was warm enough not to need leg coverings of some sort; this was, after all, October now.)
And that is it. Thanks for reading; hope you found it interesting and maybe learned something from it.