The long road back: Part 14

willienelson

On the road again.

Almost three months to the day since my crash in early December, I ventured out for the very first time this morning. Yes mum, on my bike.

Technically I still have about 10 days until I hit the magic 12-week post surgery mark, at which time I’ve been told the union of the once-broken bones in my shoulder will be as strong as they’re likely to get. But after smashing myself on the turbo trainer for the past four weeks or so, curiosity has been killing this cat. I’ve suppressed the temptation for a while, but the time had arrived. I needed to get out to see exactly how this whole rehab caper is going. The answer is…pretty well.

Assuming I wasn’t in too much pain on leaving home, the plan was to meet up with my usual Thursday morning training bunch, then rather than try to hang on, just do things at my own pace. In all I rode about 40km, and it felt a lot better than expected.

I didn’t slam into any major potholes thankfully, but the general bumps in the road (of which there were many – this is Australia, after all) weren’t a problem. Not surprisingly given I’ve ridden around 800km on the trainer in the past 5 weeks, sustaining a steady high pace was also no great challenge. Handling the little surges and short rises on the road were a problem, however. I tried to get out of saddle on a few occasions and managed – just. Clipping in and out was also a bit uncomfortable, as it required putting extra weight and pressure on my (piss weak) left arm. That said it certainly wasn’t bad enough to stop me.

I’m not going to lie. For the first 10km or so I was pretty rusty, and nowhere near as smooth with my handling as I’d have liked. But pleasingly the muscle memory seemed to kick in before long and by the end of the ride things were going – and feeling – considerably better. I actually think the riding bit is going to be the least of my worries. One of the big challenges is going to be overcoming the fear of being taken out by external forces. In particular there are a few notorious roundabouts where I ride, and as I approached one on the way home I spotted a blue car looming up fast on the left. Perhaps they saw me and were always going to stop, but I felt decidedly more edgy than in similar situations in the past and, slowing right down, called out “hey!” just to make sure. They seemed a bit confused by all the fuss. Better safe than sorry.

Looking ahead, not quite ready to ditch the trainer completely just yet, but it was good to dip the toes in the water.

Be interesting to see how the body pulls up tomorrow. So far so good.

Days since op: 73
Days since crash: 89
Shirt removal pain-o-meter: 2/10
Weekly riding: 2 moderate trainer efforts + 2 harder efforts + 1 road ride

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