Somehow I managed to make it back on my bike for the summer. In May my doctors said it would be ok for me to ride a road bike whilst waiting for steroid injections/operations/physio. Not wanting to fully commit to the road life I purchased a cyclocross bike (thanks very much Carb Cycles for helping me choose!) – little did I know this would actually be the beginning of speeding up my recovery.
Being the sort of #rideordie cyclist I am I was out on the bike pretty much every day. However, even riding on the road my arms were taking a beating, they had no strength and constantly felt on the edge of collapse. 7 months of not doing much with your arms to 25 miles a day was perhaps not what the doctor had in mind. This is where baked beans became my friend and not in the post ride, great quick food kind of way. My arms needed to be stronger so I used cans of baked beans as weights (you gotta start somewhere!) and began doing push ups against a wall to get any sort of muscle back.
After a month of being a roadie, doing some strength work and physio on my shoulder (no physio on elbow as was waiting for an operation so kind of pointless) I thought to my self that my arms are actually feeling pretty good. I convinced my self, my boyfriend, my friends and my parents that cycling was the reason that my arms felt better, so therefore the next logical step was to bring the Capra back into action.
As we loaded to bikes up and headed to Haldon I was obviously thinking that I was being an idiot and hadn’t asked my surgeon if he thought this was a good idea or not. That thought quickly disappeared as we arrived to sunny, dry trails at Haldon and I got on my bike with my friends and realised even more what I had been missing for the last 7 months! I also got a bit angry with James for suggesting all those months ago that Bike Park Wales was the best place for me to ride my new bike and why didn’t we just ride somewhere I knew! Alas, hindsight is a wonderful thing and many lessons have been learnt….
I’m pretty sure after this day everyone was secretly wishing I was still injured. My conversation from then on consisted of a few sentences; “anyone want to ride tonight?”, “what time shall we go riding”, “where shall we go riding?” “hurry up let’s go riding”. I had many days to make up for!
I also rang my surgeon and suggested that perhaps we should have another consultation session as I wasn’t sure I wanted an operation if it wasn’t entirely necessary. In this appointment he asked what I had been up to and I confessed to being back on my mountain bike and that my arms were feeling good. I got the answer I was hoping for and I walked out of the hospital with no further appointments. It was strongly explained to me however that the injury I have in my elbow is a life long injury and I have to 100% expect something else to go wrong with it at some point in the future – I chose not to dwell on this as the future could be whenever and at this time I knew I didn’t have to immediately face any more time off my bike due to surgery and recovery!
I also think 7 months off of my bike did me a world of good (I can say this now but I would never have thought that during those 7 months). Sometimes it can reach a point where you are constantly pushing yourself and riding all the time, not allowing much room for reflection on your riding. Since being back on my bike I have found myself surprisingly riding much more confidently, hitting bigger jumps and clearing gaps that I never thought I would do before. As for drops though, that is a different story…….