This injury sucks.
It happened at a bad time, actually it happened just before one of the most exciting times for me to be on a bike.
In a moment, everything I had worked for was gone. I was on the side of the road, dripping blood, and my season was over. At this point, I had a choice, I could give up – or I could pick myself up and keep going. I chose the latter. It hasn’t been easy, but keeping everything in perspective and setting targets has made the bad times a little better.
In the time between the injury and now I have celebrated every win and improvement. It was the daily and weekly baby steps that allowed me time to reflect and see how far I’ve come. What I did was a major injury and I need to remind my irrational, forever driving, internal dialogue to accept small victories and take recovery slowly.
Uncertainty- that was this weekend. I’ve been off my bike for 6 months, and to even enter the State Champs, I was uncertain if I would be cleared to race. I did the maths before my surgery, 16 weeks for a maybe… states was almost 18. It could be done.
I entered the state champs January 11th, I sat with my mouse over submit for what felt like forever. When I did hit submit payment, I took a walk. I was trying to work out a race plan, my race gears, anything. But I was totally clueless, I couldn’t even think of what to expect.
It was all real. I had to step outside of the excuse of ‘I’m injured’ and really own the situation and start racing. Everything was falling into place. Physio was booked for strapping my shoulder, my surgeon was booked to give me (I had made up my mind he was going to give it to me no matter what) clearance to race. And the races were entered. I was all set and this scared me more than anything.
In the week leading up to states I had a few glimpses into what my form was like. At training, I couldn’t break 60km/h. At roller racing 500m was too long. I felt good racing a crit? (what the?) But I was terrified of cornering and being around other people. To everyone around me, I was celebrating all things being back into cycling, but nagging at the back of my head was a world of uncertainty and doubt.
To set my mind at ease I decided to set one goal.
That was all. I entered 3 days of racing and all I cared about was the flying 200 time. Didn’t care about medals. I wasn’t racing anyone else. All I wanted was the magical number of 12.5.
12.4 I did it. I was over the moon. I actually had a decent sob (not even cry, it was a proper sob of joy) Luckily my kask visor is mirrored. No one could see me all red and blotchy. I realized I can still ride. I hadn’t lost much, i wasn’t damaged, and it felt damn good!
In total contrast, last year, i did a 12.4 and I was devastated. Last year I won a medal in every state event I entered, I was short listed for the state team, it seemed I had everything. But I was just do disappointed, and unsatisfied. I was in a grumpy rut, and it was hard to get out. This year I was a fraction of a second off the podium, didn’t race well, wasn’t even looked at for the state team, but damn that 12.4 felt good.
Just 12 months has passed since that low part of my cycling. Thanks to this time off, I have a totally new perspective, and I’m looking forward to continue my recovery, as well as hitting new targets on and off the track!