Sunday, 16 October 2011

Back to being broken

Well I’ve hurt myself again! I must say this one could be a bit more grave than previous injuries, indeed its probably the underlying cause of all the niggling issues I’ve been having this season (well, that and the fighting bulls of Valencia). I’ve just got back from a couple of days with my dad, just being boys. Going to the pub, watching the rugby, walking the dog etc. it was nice, it reminded me of what I used to do at weekends before I started to spend them in lycra.

Two Sundays before I was sitting on a curb in Tobago, drinking a “vita malt” (which I won’t be doing again any time soon, it tasted like what we feed the horses smells ) and hurting after the uci 1.2 tobago cycling classic. My left leg had been feeling weaker and weaker since july and in Trinidad and Tobago it was almost useless. When I got up off the curb my whole lower back seized up and I couldn’t get my leg over my frame to ride back to the car. Not good.

Fast forward 10 days and I had flown home, making ample use of the rum as painkiller method, and taken a week off the bike. I started to train again with the goal of getting my legs back for a race in Costa Rica but it felt bad on the bike, like my position was way out and I wasn’t transferring any power, like I was hunched and contorted. I put in 2 five hour days, each ride thaking about 6 hours thanks to constant saddle and cleat tweaks but it still didn’t feel right. On Thursday I saw a doctor, in the modern era of mris and CAT scans I had expected him to immedeatley refer me to a machine but no. he poked me with a pin and, to my surprise, I couldn’t differentiate between a pin and a peg on my left hand side.

After an examination we sat down. In my experience, when a doctor starts his address with “now young man” and continues by fetching the skeleton on wheels, things aren’t going to end up with a paracetamol and a lollypop. Sure enough he reckons I’ve been bulging my l2/l3 disc and restricting nervous activity in my left quad for a wee while. I’m off for an MRI on Monday and seeing him again on Wednesday. HE told me to prepare for the worst, I might not ride for several months. I know what injury can do, I stopped rowing at oxford in 2006 with a herniated l5 s1 disc just before lightweight selection, probably not the worst thing in the world as it stopped me becoming a manorexic “boatie” but at the time it was pretty tough to deal with.

In a way I’m relieved, I thought I’d just turned into a sloth, at least I know what was wrong now. So in that sense I can look forward to healing and coming back faster. But I’m also pretty bummed. I might miss the whole ‘cross season without ever getting muddy (actually I’ll go and watch just to throw snowballs at the other racers like they did to me last year). I’m going to have to reassess goals on Wednesday, including my diabetes management. Thankfully I’ve go the pod so I can experiment with basal rates to suit inactivity. I won’t have the pod for much longer (thanks to the kind people in Georgia who would love you to believe they exist to do anything other than cream off drug money) but at least it’ll be there for this transition period. It also lets me party it up with my custom “big night out” basal program.

I’ve also been feeling emotionally tired recently. This year hasn’t been great. Not financially, nor with my family. I use the bike as a way of coping but suffering so much off the bike seems to cut into my ability to hurt on the bike. I hate myself for not giving my all, but some days I’ve already spent my beans staying up all night worrying about money, or my family, or where I’m going to get insulin. It’ll be nice to have a break, but I hope I can find something else which gives me the release that riding my bike does. That said I’ve been pretty lucky to have had the help of some great people and travel to some cracking places. This always perks me up and gives me something to look forward to. I also genuinely enjoy the chance to help people. I’m constantly aware that as a diabetic in sport I serve as an example to kids who, like me, are told what they can’t do, not what they can. If only for that reason and not for the many other reasons I have and haven’t given. I’m going to do everything I’m told. And heal as fast as I know I can ride, that way the awesomeness can continue in 2012.

On the more positive side this gives me more time to work on the team traveler project for 2012, although it does seem like free money is hard to come by in a recession. I think time will prove that the market has substantially undervalued our awesomeness. In fact, in a recession the awesomeness necessity quotient (ANQ) is in direct negative correlation to the unemp0oyment rate, so the more people who lose their jobs, the more they NEED men in lycra to come to the rescue. This theory has a pretty strong empirical basis, I mean batman and spiderman didn’t hang about in suburban LA did they? Nope. Grotty urban decay necessitates fast men in lycra. Strangely I’m struggling to find anyone who backs my ANQ theory, or agrees that the 21st century FDR wears zebra print skinsuits, but I see this as a work in progress. Opinions are formed over a lifetime and cannot be changed overnight.

So there’s an awful lot up in the air, I’ll update more when I know more. Any tips on battling the bulge are welcome. Right now I’m off to my little sister’s birthday party via the garden centre. I’ve decided to begin the offseason dressed as Bill (of Bill and Ben the flowerpot men fame) and I need a hat.

-yep typed it with my thumbs: they're what makes us better than apes

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