Today I clambered out of bed, did 40 push ups, ran to the garage, hopped on my single speed, rode to a nearby farm (top of ‘The Col du Caerphilly’) and tried bull riding for the first time. No pussy footing around for this cyclo-cross rider, no sireee. Nope, broken bits or no broken bits, you’ve just got to get properly stuck in. What doesn’t kill you and all that.
Actually, that was a teeny-weeny fib.
Rehab is as psychologically painful as crashing is physically. The first 10 days or so all thoughts and choices are chased away. Lie down, don’t move, let the pain wash over you, medication is your new best friend. Now after 4 weeks of slow but gradual improvement, I’m climbing the walls at the idea of empty country lanes or rolling moorland.
A couple of days ago a cycle commuter pedalled past my window and I felt a super sized pang of jealousy. There he was, showing off with his chip shop bike, rolling past slowly, goading me with his two good shoulders. There’s only one way to deal with that type of negativity – up the ante. Step up the forest walks. Experiment with one handed creative photography (below) Put meat on the bones of future cycle plans. Get on the turbo (a recent development). At the moment holding a position – whether that’s sitting still, lying down or pedalling softly in the garage – is still painful for any protracted period. The key is to move around a bit, respect the injury and allow it to get rest when its screaming at you.
Frankly, I struggle with two out of three of those elements, but no point scrapping with your own body, for that’s a true exercise in futility. It’s a good old fashioned waiting game. Whilst galling and frustrating, I’m certainly not moaning, it just goes with the territory (it is, as they say, what it is).
I reckon there’s around a further 8 weeks ’til I’m back in the saddle proper. But when I am, under blue or black skies, on or off the road, climbing or descending long hills, I know I’ll appreciate those moments on two wheels just that little bit more. We all take our beautiful pursuit for granted; so easy to lose sight of as the freewheel ticks effortlessly and Tarmac hums. Joni Mitchell, sings it more eloquently than I can explain it – you definitely “don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone”. So go on; get out there and enjoy.
A huge thank you to all the friends and family who have visited, lent a hand, loaned me books, albums and movies and generally kept this itchy footed idiot, sane.
Wherever you’re riding this weekend, have a blast. Failure to do so will result in a firm dressing down from me 😊