It’s a tough life…this racing business! We get to travel the world meeting new people and absorbing their cultures. We get great weather……time to top up the sunburn! We also get Shit weather……time to wash the bikes!
It’s a challenge for the mind and body. The injuries we can get attest to that! I’m 9 weeks into my recovery from breaking my Fibula of my left leg. I don’t think many people actually know I’d injured myself in Val Di Sole! Probably because I managed to get back up and ride down the mountain albeit reasonably slowly, stopping now and again to let riders pass safely. To be honest I can't quite remember really how it happened. I just remember feeling a massive impact from my bike and lying on the ground holding my leg. I got back up after I gathered myself together and let some riders past then continued on to the finish in what for sure was one of the most horrible pains I've ever experienced.. I knew there was something more than just a ‘knock’ when I got off my bike at the bottom and tried to walk back to the team pits. I felt a ‘clicking’ in my leg! I got back on the M9 and ‘scooted’ my way back. A long journey back to Switzerland and a visit to hospital confirmed I’d broken the bone. It was fragmented round the break.
I was gutted! Another setback! After 2011 and 2012 with an on-and-off history of shoulder dislocation and post-surgery rehabilitation I was hoping for 2013 to be a good year. I had trained hard over the winter and was looking forward to finding out what I could achieve. After a couple of decent results in the BDS and The Fort William World Cup, my plans were in tatters!
The hospital had thought that some careful rehab would be enough to see me back for Andorra, but this wasn’t to be the case. Two weeks later and a visit to my GP, a local sports physio and a trip to my local A&E saw me fitted with a cast. The bone had hardly healed, probably due to the fragmented nature of the break. Three weeks following this, the cast was off and I was put in a ‘boot’. Not the most comfortable of footwear but at least it let me limp around rather than using the crutches. I had been told not to put more than 50% weight on my leg until the next hospital appointment in 5 weeks.
I’ve been following my Physio’s exercise advice using a Theraband and I’ve been on the Turbo Trainer regularly getting some cardio work done. I’ve also been doing some upper body workouts with kettle bells etc. and some ‘core’ workouts using a Swiss ball. I had lost 4cm of circumference around my calf muscle! I also bought an ‘Exogen’ bone healing device which uses Ultrasound waves to promote blood flow around the injury, to improve the body’s natural healing where it’s needed. It’s difficult to actually tell if this is making a difference as you can’t feel anything happening, but I’ll try anything to get back faster!
At this stage, around 9 weeks after the injury, I’ve regained 1.5 of those 4cm around my calf muscle, my range-of-movement is 80% back to normal and I’ve now progressed from the Turbo trainer to doing some short road runs.
I still have some pain, mainly through the muscles and tendons, but my aim is to be back for The Hafjell World Cup. I have what I would imagine will be my last X-Ray and Orthopaedic appointment in a week and a half. I’m hoping this shows that the bone has knitted together enough to give me the confidence to really begin putting weight back through it without fear of further damage.
Injury Sucks, especially when it occurs near the start of the season. I can only hope that I can get back for the last few races to at least feel that I’ve done something to represent my team and sponsors. Next year is a new chapter. The training will begin soon after the end of this season. We can only hope that ‘lady luck’ stays with us during our race runs. Once she runs out of steam anything can happen!
My thanks to the following for their understanding, patience and support this year – My family, Team Suspension Center/Intense, Alpinestars, Scott Sports, Bluegrass/Met, DZR Shoes, Singletrack Bikes, Extra UK, Rokform, Switchbacks.com, Uplift Scotland, Progression Bikes, Slik Graphics, Macdonald Hotels, Full-Beam.com.