collar bone

Where art thou confidence?

March 28th was the date of freedom.

Cheekily I rode to the doctors appointment on the Thursday morning to get the O.K. to cycle again. The doc said, first week light road riding, then the next week I can do more and try light mountain biking. The following week after that I can do the amount of road cycling that I was previously doing as well as a bit more intensive mountain biking, finally third week I should be able to ride the mountain biking normally.

Riding road I slipped straight back into the groove of things and feel like I did before the crash. The collar bone feels a little odd but nothing that bothers me. I can pull and lift through the shoulder so bumps and sprinting are fine.

I have ridden the mountain bike on the trails but I am not all there. It doesn’t help that there hasn’t been dry dirt out on the trails since I crashed but through corners and even down some simple descents, I feel shaky. Shaky isn’t good when you’re on the mountain bike. You need confidence to hit something to control what is happening.

Even today I was out on the trails with a friend and we were just rolling down a trail I have done a heap of times. Admittedly it wasn’t an easy trail since it’s aimed for downhillers. Never the less I could usually ride it all but today I felt as if I was going to hit the ground hard.

Prior to riding this track I went and had a look at where I crash or at least where I thought I had crashed. The way I remembered the crash didn’t fit the area where I crashed. This has me a little worried. Seeing where I crashed wasn’t anything spooky but riding down to it was weird and I felt vulnerable.

The plan for now is to ride more and more on the single tracks and build up my shoulder strength and confidence, not much strength was lost, but enough to make me feel weaker.  The confidence has taken a big hit though. The way I have learnt to get faster and improve is to do a lot of small steps to get to bigger steps, not giving it my all and then crash and spend another week… or month sitting on the sidelines.

There is no point in trying something ‘big’ in order to improve. I have seen too many crashes of inexperienced even experienced riders trying jumps or drop offs and eating so much dirt. Sure there is some crashes that are unavoidable by random variables but in reality if there is something you want to do, work up to it.

For a small tip I will use an example. If there is a jump, small gap or lip you want to get air off or jump over and you know there is a good chance that your skill level really isn’t appropriate then this is what you should do.

If you can’t roll it don’t do it. By ‘rolling it’ I mean if you can’t ride over the obstacle then don’t attempt it at high speed. Try smaller jumps or similar obstacles that will help you practice the skills you’d need to tackle your goal. Once you can do those smaller things and you feel as if you know what will happen when you hit your desired challenge then grab a couple of mates and go try it.

I would advise body armour and obviously a helmet. It’s really important to have friends because if you do hurt your self you don’t want to be dragging your self to the road alone.

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Realising the Passion

Crash, boom, slap, cut, replace, sew, heal, sit, pedal, wince, envy, fight, thrive and soon now, freedom!

That was just a brief splurge of all my thoughts when I think about my crash up until this point. I haven’t felt the cool early morning air rushing past my fast. Flowing into my ears and whirling out the noises of everything that doesn’t matter when you’re on two wheels.

My trainer sent me a training program which was odd since I am still in the wind training days of recovery. Opening it up and I found out that I was going to be getting the engine ready for some speed and interval work. Legs can still work, but you need to keep them tuned if you want the most out of them.

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So yeah, I have been sweating,wincing and pedalling hard and fast. Cadence thrashing and stomping of bursts of speed into the pedals. Every interval brings me closer to each day, and each day brings me closer to my meeting with the surgeon to get the O.K. to get back to it. To push my bike out and go riding. Mind you I will only be able to road ride but it’s better then watching TV and biting the bars.

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Taking away my bike and my ability to get around to places has be devastating. Everything that makes me happy has been stripped away. The car drive to the dirt trails gone, I don’t get to tune out and listen to some music at four or five AM in the morning as I head towards the trail. Not being able to bunny hop and fly down single track. I am even missing road cycling with my friends, and being able to stand up and climb a mountain or race my friend to the next road sign. All gone.

And now, hopefully I will get most of it back. It has been tough emotionally for me personally. The crash hasn’t created many practical problems that I couldn’t handle or sort out mentally. I had a plan within the first ten minutes of the crash of how I was going to work things out. It was just a matter of getting up and sitting on the bike for training. Where it hurt most was my emotions.

I never quite realised how much I loved cycling. All the tired early mornings, long exhausting rides were hard. Hard to start and sometimes, worse during. If I hadn’t eaten well or my body wasn’t responding well to the day I was going to suffer. It’s only now I can respect and notice how cycling moulds me. I may be more exhausted in the day and sleepier, even silly. Jumping on the bike and riding can bring more out of me than most things. Cycling brings out the happiness in me.

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Walking to a train, standing on a train and walking amongst thousands of people isn’t me. Having to wait for a train or traffic lights and dodge pedestrians is so boring on foot. I am use to flying past pedestrians J-walking and squeezing through un-squeezable gaps. Jumping curves and drafting off cars. Being able to come and go when I please. The surface of the earth was mine to ride.

I haven’t been the happiest since the injury, and it’s not fun waking up and knowing nothing exciting is going to happen in your life that day. Training less and at lower intensity has been making me feel bummed. Doing this interval sessions has perked me up and knowing I will be able to cycle soon is fantastic.

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I am not sure what message or point I wanted to give to people through this post. I just wanted to give my readers my view and take on how I have dealt with this. I guess one thing to take from this post is that make the most of what you enjoy. Sit down and write out what you love about what you do and why that is. Then take that all away for at least six weeks or if even that, twelve weeks, like they told me from the start.

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A couple of friends and I have a Facebook group chat that we talk about bike related things and also just chat in general, but we also are constantly lining up rides with each to make training even more enjoyable. When I broke my collar bone the chat had gone all quiet. I asked them why, they explain it had been too wet so they have been doing their own cycling and wind training and I don’t blame them. Yesterday I took a look at the forecast for the next week and it is going to be a little but wet for a while longer.

Whether I had broken my collar bone or not I would have been doing almost all training seasons on the wind trainer anyways. I also joked that they should all bring over their wind trainers and all train next to me, we could work out a way to power the city on wind trainer bikes.

So it seems that up until now I would of been on the wind trainer but just without a broken collar bone. I guess you could say I have all the luck!

… or not.

Determination or Caution

IMG_0450Since the crash things in my day to day life has changed like my my priorities and my focus. My days have slowed down, the things I would normally do I can’t, or they take a lot longer to complete. Things as little as putting on clothes to making breakfast, doing errands and trying to type up blog posts with one hand.

Number one priority is to heal fast and let my clavicle heal well without any set backs. At the same time I am eager and focussed to keep fit and maintain my previous months of base training. I have been taking it easy this first week doing only an hour of wind training each day which I break up into two, thirty minute session for mental purposes and comfort. With the sling and doctors orders I am not allowed to lean forward meaning I have to sit up right and spin – my butt gets sore and numb.

Wind training is quite hard to get motivated for, due to the fact I have only recently had surgery and I want to play on the cautious side of the situation I am in. Not only that I feel the need to play it safe, I am also on medication that can make me feel quite woozy and not a 100% trough out the day. But I feel as if I sit on that bike and chip away at it my mind will get stronger and as I heal and get better I will have a stronger mind to train with.

I do seriously miss clipping in to my bike and rolling out into the world and have that wind flow past my ears. At least I have more time writing up blog posts of rides I have done and have not gotten around to typing up.

Didn’t need it anyway

So this happened.

IMG_0409The previous day I had picked up my bike from the shop that just had its top stays repaired. I hadn’t ridden my mountain bike for a couple of weeks now so it was time hit some trails. Setting out to cruise for two hours on the trails. About ten minutes into my ride I was on some fun single track barreling down over some awesome technical parts when suddenly, through a corner my front wheel jolts up a bit, just enough to shift my weight so exiting the corner at nice pace I fly straight into a tree snapping my collar bone in two places. So now a piece of my collar bone is separated.

IMG_0413_2Luckily I was close to an access road  and I got walk out with my bike (yes the bike was ok) and wait for them. From the hours of 6:30am to 10:00am I had to endure peak hour traffic road trips and bumpy roads cradling my collar bone.

You may ask why I didn’t call a ambulance? Well my Mother is a doctor and I was able to get slotted in for an early X-ray so when we came into the emergency they could asses me and I was in and out without any mucking about.

I am seeing the specialist on Monday and possibly surgery on the same day. So I will try and keep you updated.