The long road back: Part 17

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Returning to racing.

Well the big news is tomorrow I’m lining up for my first race since last November. It’s only a low-key club crit, mind you. But it’s a race nonetheless; which makes it a significant milestone, both physical and mental. I’m under no illusions about winning or anything like that. My expectations are low. It’s going to be painful and, in all likelihood, I’ll be doing pretty well just to hang on to the back of the bunch. But regardless I’ll be smiling on the inside. It’s been a long time coming having missed the entire Australian summer.

While I’ve been doing more and more bunch riding in recent weeks, getting comfortable holding a wheel again, racing is a completely different story. I suspect my biggest issue tomorrow will be between the ears – worrying about those in front and around me on corners, for example. One by-product of this whole palava is that I’m feeling decidedly mortal these days. Crashing hurts. Crashing is expensive. And crashing is NOT fun. I’ve broken enough bones (six if you’re counting) in the past year to last several decades. No more thanks. Give me a wide berth people. Or prepare to hear all about it.

As for the rehab itself, the most recent batch of movement and (low) weight-bearing exercises from my phsyio have really made a huge difference. Stretching out the shoulder socket frequently every day, strengthening my rotator cuff with simple weight lifts, and improving my overall posture. I’ve tried to be very diligent and structured about things after the last setback, and combined I feel like I’m back to about 85% ‘normal’. This is hugely encouraging, even for an impatient bastard like me. Most days now I’m down to just a couple of paracetamol tablets, usually taken in the early morning just before I head out for a ride. Last Thursday I didn’t take any at all. That felt like a big win, let me tell you.

Strength-wise my left arm is still pretty weak. But I think I’ve finally accepted this element of the recovery is part of the longer haul. Besides I can still carry the grocery bags when necessary now. It’s slow improvement, but slow improvement is better than nothing. Or going backwards, of course. I’m off to see the physio again next week and I suspect we’ll be starting on some bicep and pec work.

But first, racing…

 

Days since op: 138
Days since crash: 154
Shirt removal pain-o-meter: 1/10 
(Winter compression undershirt removal pain-o-meter: 7/10!)
Weekly riding: Pretty much back to normal now

 

 

 

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