As I write this, I’ve just finished a session of IMS needles with my superhero physiotherapist Mike Conway at Back In Action in Whistler. He always tries to talk me into putting needles in places where I hurt – like my forearms – but I’m pretty scared of them after years of having intense results from this type of therapy. Today was no different, although I need to get used to being uncomfortable these days. It looks like the injuries I sustained at the EWS in NZ aren’t going to shake off without a bit of a fight.
Here’s my Regroup Strategy for any folks out there trying to scare off crash demons of their own:
1. Get an accurate diagnosis.
I got aggressive and pulled some favours while I was still in NZ so my doctor could see what was really wrong with ol’ lefty. Many emails and many phone calls landed me in a private MRI clinic in North Vancouver a few weeks later (about 6 months sooner than if I’d waited idly for the public Canadian system to throw me a bone) to check out the actual damage.
2. Work with a team of supporters to build a new plan.
My trainer Monika and my local physio Mike have been instrumental in helping me a) chill the eff out while I was ready to push it to get back too soon and b) build a plan to keep me fit and ready for when my body is healed. My local practitioner Dr. Z. has been legendary in helping me get images of my shoulder and helping me process the information along the way.
3. Do whatever it takes.
Got a thing against road bike time? Get over it. Hate the gym? Suck it up. I’ve been learning (again) that being hurt can come with a lot of frustration and too much time in my own head. Doing everything I’ve been prescribed by Monika and Mike keeps me sane, even on the days when I dread it, when I’m in pain or when I have a hard time seeing myself on a bike again any time soon. Riding and racing my bike makes me happy and I keep that in mind as I work through the tedium of getting back to health.
4. Find the fun.
I’m pretty lucky in that I’ve been able to spend big days on my cross bike and that grinding gravel has been an option for me – I’m starting to love it. If I couldn’t ride, though, I’d do something else. When I’ve had injuries in the past, I’ve gotten really into climbing up the mountains near my house or dragging weights around outside at my local gym. You can always do something – that something will just depend on your willingness to find the fun in it.
What’s my prognosis, you ask? My Roubion came today – I purposely left it behind in Santa Cruz after it was proudly on display at Sea Otter so I wouldn’t be tempted by it while I healed. I’m going to train in the gym, build my bike and crush some gravel to see how we go out there. Racing by…June? I wanted this to be faster and easier – but nothing in life is ever as fast or as easy as we want it to be. If anything, a solid Regroup reminds people like me how much fun it is to ride a bike – any bike of any kind – and what a luxury it is to just be able to think about being healthy and fit above all other things.