Sometimes, you get lucky on a spin and sometimes, you’re the idiot who gets injured. Let me explain.
One day, on a typically cold and wet November spin in 2022, I was out doing what I do best - having a lovely time on my bike with some pals. We had planned to stay low as the roads were greasy and it was cold and slippery. For some silly reason, I decided staying low wasn’t challenging enough and made the silly suggestion to head up into the hills. Just as we were coming down off a descent (not particularly fast, I might add), we met two fellow cyclists who were peddling away on the wrong side of the road and as a result, I had to manoeuvre around them. While my two pals passed with flying colours, I ended up skidding on some wet leaves and my shoulder ended up smashing into the base of a very large tree. It was quite the fall and there’s nothing as dramatic as the sound of your bike sliding across the gravel on a road.
When I came around and gingerly stood up, I thought, “I’m alive, I’m in one piece, sure why wouldn't I cycle home?”. That adrenaline lasted all of 15km before the pain (and tears), kicked in with a vengeance. My pals cycled me to the hospital while I tried to maintain my composure, but by the time I got the results of the Xray and MRI, I had a wee inkling that I would be off the bike for a while and my eyes were red raw from the tears.
Life in a sling
Well, my life wasn’t exactly in a sling, but try telling that to the old me who went from being fully self-sufficient to fully reliant on others. Waiting for my other half to cut my food up into small pieces, so I could eat it with a fork, not being able to dress myself properly and don’t even get me started on the agony of typing a report one handed. The old adage of “I’d do that with one hand tied behind my back” was suddenly very real and very unpleasant in my world!
FOMO and PhysioCycling for some people means a wee little jaunt on a Sunday. For me, it’s become a lifelong passion and well - I’ve dedicated my professional life to it too! As a result, missing out on spins really hit harder than I thought it would. It was tough seeing all the group chat updates, the posts on Strava and getting out for “Spinz and Tinz” with my cycling pals (“Tinz” meaning a post spin beer, of course)! But I knew that if I were to recover long term, I’d need to make short term sacrifices.
While my friends were out on spins, I was diligently doing all the prescribed physio exercises (even when some tears appeared due to the intensity of the pain). I knew that the physio work I did while injured has made me a stronger cyclist than before. These exercises I learned during my recovery process taught me a lot and it’s something I can take forward in my cycling career.
Exercise religiously, even when the pain makes you want to stop!
Goals and Plans
I was always certain that I’d be back on the bike, but it was tough to consider how I might feel or where my fitness levels might be at. I think it’s ok to get excited about the possibility of a return to the bike, but don’t push yourself too hard. Even when I felt 100% healed, I still eased myself back into training. Someone once told me that the rest days are as important as the training days. So I listened to that advice, my body and my physio (bless their cotton socks!). Just remember that the muscles you tear while you train need to heal too!
Blessed be the Bweeeee! (New Kit of Course!)
You can make that 46 million and one now!
Rest and recovery are important, but so is the fun! That’s why we got into cycling, right? When I went back to my bike (which I missed more than I can express), I didn’t get into training right away. Nope….I went out with my trusty “Spinz and Tinz” gang. We cycle, we laugh, we enjoy a tasty pint and we spin home (responsibly of course)! But I built up my distance and endurance ability over time and it felt great to be out on the bike again!
Thankfully, I’m still out and about on my bike and wearing my VeloFlamingo kit. If you do see me - please give me a wave - on a spin, on Instagram, Strava or Facebook!