The long road back: Part 13


Are we there yet?

Been a while since the last update, largely as not a lot has happened since the last update. Still doing physio twice a day. Still no strength in the arm. Still not allowed on the road. And, yes, still complaining about it too.

It’s far from all bad, mind you. As I expected might happen I’ve been absolutely loving the new Wahoo Kickr and I’m really starting to ramp up the volume and intensity of my workouts. I’m up to about 180km a week now on the trainer, which means Trainer Road and I are becoming a pretty tight duo. Best of all I’m actually feeling remarkably strong on the bike – a very nice feeling as it’s been a while.

In fact, I’ve been feeling so good of late in a moment of solitary madness I actually rode for over three hours as I watched the Australia vs NZ test match on my laptop. That’s a bloody long time to sweat like a pig and go absolutely nowhere, but truth be told it was nowhere near as bad/boring as I’d anticipated. If I hadn’t run out of food, water and towels (I got through 3, all completely soaked) I’d probably have kept going for at least four hours if not longer. That said, I have no real desire to do it again. Ever.

Of course, no matter how good the trainer is feeling right now I’m well aware that until I start riding on the road I have absolutely zero context from which to judge my actual fitness and/or form. I’d like to think I’ll be flying (who doesn’t, right?) but suspect I’m still quite some way below even my pre-crash level, let alone my best form. Either way, I’d be lying to say I’m not busting to get out there on the road to find out. It’s still a few weeks to go until I hit the magic 12-week post surgery mark, but I’m still very tempted, even just for a few sneaky 1km laps around the block to see how the shoulder stands up to the requisite demands of bike handling, out-of-the-saddle efforts and the general corrugations of shithouse Aussie roads.

Further compounding my growing impatience right now, one of my training pals won a race last weekend and the competitive juices are definitely beginning to flow again. “I’ll have what he’s having, thanks.” There’s a pretty big race coming up on 28 March here in Sydney which I’ve ridden for the past six years with varying degrees of success…but I suspect that will be a fortnight or so too soon to be riding in a 70-strong peloton (safely anyway). Darn it.

While I’m feeling infinitely better than a month ago, there are still regular reminders I’m a long way from being ‘normal’ – my new normal, that is. I’m no longer in constant pain which is a wonderful relief. However as I continue to push the rehab boundaries with my shoulder, I’m still in pretty regular pain. An overstretch here. A bump or stumble there. I try not to swear too much, but you know how it is. A few vigorously exclaimed cuss words are quite brilliant when it comes to agony mitigation. Besides my kids have heard far worse utterances at school, I’m sure.

Oh, I still have trouble getting in and out of 90% of my shirts. FFS.

Days since op: 64
Days since crash: 80
Shirt removal pain-o-meter: 2/10
Riding: 3 moderate trainer efforts + 1 harder effort per week

3 thoughts on “The long road back: Part 13

  1. It’s great that you’re progressing, but the best is yet to come. Ok then, it’s time for another update from me. It’s now 12 weeks since my surgery and the arm finally feels semi normal again. I can raise it above my head to more or less straight up without too much pain and lift small stuff. No real strength yet, but its better than the last frustrating couple of weeks of not being able to lift it above my head and feeling generally useless. Today is the first day I’ve actually gotten off my lazy arse to do much of anything.

    Physio hurts less, and although I haven’t been doing enough, the physio guy still says I’m progressing well. Sticking to the plan is recommended.

    It’s good that you’ve found the motivation to get on the trainer, something I’m struggling with at the moment. An FTP test will soon sort out any illusions of where you might be in your recovery.

    Getting back on the road can be interesting. The first time I rode, I wobbled around a bit at the start like a kid who’s just had the training wheels taken off. But that feeling didn’t last long. Last weekend was a 94km ride with a few hills thrown in. No fun getting dropped by your mates, which is the reverse of the normal situation. Out of the saddle efforts were a little unstable at first, but strength gained in the first half of the ride translated into stability in the second. Don’t push it though if it doesn’t feel safe.

    Finally got my bike back from the shop yesterday (yay!).

    *ding* *ding*

    1. Thanks for the update Gary. Great to hear you’re getting there. Funny you mention the FTP test. Tried to do one yesterday. What a shambles!! Huge reality check 🙂

      1. I know all about it because I tried one myself and got the same result. As I said to a mate on today’s ride, there’s no need for a power meter to measure Watts when you’re putting put Ohms.

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