It’s July and to cyclists that means Tour De France. I have watched stages of the race in a sling whilst using the turbo trainer (or mostly sat on the couch). I have been watching with interest the skills, and the racing-form of the cyclists. In addition I have been watching the cyclists reactions to the events of the race, to the weather, to the crashes, to the fickle finger of fate. Sh*t sometimes happens on a bike and you have to pick yourself up (mentally and physically), dust yourself off and get back on the bike as soon as possible. It is gut wrenching when you injury prevents you from getting back on immediately. Injuries are sad and frustrating but they are part of riding a bike.
Yesterday Bradley Wiggins hit the deck and I watched him clutch his elbow in an all-too-familiar broken-collarbone way. It was a vivid reminder of what I went through 7 weeks ago and brought back a lot of feelings of pain, anguish and mourning. Mourning for so many things, for loss of fitness, for losing the drive that training gives me, loss of camaraderie with team mates.
Bradley Wiggins has “abandoned” the Tour de France, this terminology makes it sound like he just gave up, which is far from the truth. I had been training for the Etape since January and making the decisionnot to ride was hard. Injuries are hard physically and mentally. They often happen at just the wrong time, but then again, is there a good time to be injured? I have developed this odd habit of stroking the “bend” in my collarbone. I have been able to put my hair in a ponytail for over 20 years and I will forget that it is currently inadvisable to do so, I will try to put my hair up and get a painful reminder that I am not physically OK. Mentally I feel that I am OK and that there is nothing wrong physically with me.
Feeling the bend forces it in my brain that I am not OK at the moment. It is this disparity between the beliefs in the head and the physical realities that makes injuries hard. You think that you can do something, try and do it and get a sharp reminder that you are not. I would never have believed that you could actually forget that you are injured until I experienced it.
Friends have been complaining about the “British summer” with it’s wind and rain, I remind them that they are fortunate to be riding their bike. I know that I am lucky, that my injuries aren’t too sever and I should be back on my bike in a matter of weeks. Some people are surprised when I say that I just want is to get back on my bike but injuries are just part of riding a bike and I love riding my bike.