The long road back: Part 12


Getting physical

Dragged myself out of bed early the other day and caught up for a post-ride coffee with my usual Wednesday bunchies for the first time since the crash. It was great to see so many familiar faces again, even if I’m still a long way from riding with them. It was also good to finally catch up with another ‘fallen’ member of our bunch who’s currently struggling with pretty serious shoulder injuries following an accident late last year. As complex as my own injuries are, hers are even worse and sadly it seems she’s facing an extended rehabilitation and prolonged period off the bike – as in well over a year. Two months on and doctors still aren’t entirely sure the full extent of her injuries and she still can’t use her arm, at all, which unsurprisingly is driving her more than a bit crazy. We drank coffee and exchanged hard-luck stories, as you do, and found we have quite a lot in common right now. It was also a poignant reminder that, despite my personal tale of woe, there are others worse off than I am. Always worth remembering when the dark thoughts descend.

My daily rubber band rehab routine continues, which is clearly helping to improve my motion range although the pain still remains, especially when I try to extend my left arm and move it above shoulder level. I also had some pretty candid conversations with my physiotherapist this week. He explained I’m at least another 4-6 weeks from being in any shape to consider riding on the road, even just solo stuff. He also suggested it could be the end of the year before I get back to anything approaching full strength in my shoulder, before adding ‘full’ may not be the full I once remember from before the crash. You mean my best days are behind me? Really? While I already knew this was the case in my heart, to hear it aloud from someone else is still a little depressing. My son lightened the mood somewhat however when he explained, “Well you are 44 dad. Your life is half over now, so that’s not too bad.” Thanks, I feel much better now.

In other news…given it’s pretty clear I’ll be restricted to the trainer for a good while longer yet, I made the decision to upgrade to a smart trainer yesterday. I’d been thinking about doing it for a while anyway, but my chat with the physio – coupled with the eagerly anticipated and much needed arrival of my insurance money – just fast-tracked the plan. I threw caution to the wind and picked up a Wahoo Kickr from my LBS and, while certainly not cheap or light (lugging the hefty thing up two flights of stairs with one arm was no fun at all!), I know it’s going to be a great investment. Because it’s so much easier to maintain a constant power output (I’m mostly using Trainer Road) you get a far more accurate workout, and can also really focus on other things like breathing and technique. Only qualm so far is it’s a fair bit noisier than I’d expected. Apologies, neighbours!

Days since op: 54
Days since crash: 70
Shirt removal pain-o-meter:  3/10
Riding: 3-4 moderate trainer efforts per week


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