Road to recovery

For obvious reasons, the South African Marathon Championships is always a highlight on my racing calendar. This year the 4th leg in the Ashburton Investments Series doubles up as the National championships and will take place this coming weekend at Van Gaalens Cheese farm, situated just west of Johannesburg.

As part of my final preparation for the championships, I decided to spend this past weekend focusing on specific training instead of just racing. On Saturday I went to Thaba Trails Mountain Bike Park in Alberton to hone my skills and get in one last race specific training session.

Thaba Trails has long been a favourite training ground for me as it offers safe riding and the perfect environment to work on both fitness and technical skills.

The Cross Country circuit at Thaba is quite challenging and demands a fair amount of skill and concentration. I am quite familiar with the course and on the day I only rode the sections that I’ve ridden before knowing that I could comfortably clear all the obstacles. As I dropped into one of the A-lines (an A line is shorter in distance but more technical than a B-line) I got a fright when I realised that the particular section wasn’t as maintained as the last time I rode it and as most of you know – hesitation devastation!

It all happened too quickly to really remember the sequence of events that left me face planted into a rock and my shoulder dislocated. To be fair, it’s not something that I hope to rehearse in the future – ever! 🙂

Fortunately I wasn’t riding alone and my friend, Bertus Odendaal, alongside two very kind trail runners quickly helped me off the trail and into the nearest hospital. The good news was that I hadn’t broken any bones and was free to go home after a quick ‘nap’ wherein they readjusted my shoulder back in its intended socket. There are some consequences to my mishap and for the next 6-8 weeks my participation at races will be dependent on my ability to recover from the shoulder injury.

Cross training and rehab has already started and luckily I am in the good hands of Chiropractor, Dr Paul Birdsey to guide me through the recovery process. Over the last 4 years Dr Paul has and still is playing a big role in my cycling career, helping me overcome and prevent many a sports injury. I’ll be working closely with him over the next couple of weeks to ensure proper recovery and rehab of the shoulder ligaments and muscles before resuming training.

In the bigger scheme of things my injury is a minor and temporary setback, but it’s hard not to be disappointed especially since I had some very exciting races planned for the month of June.

Allow me to share my pain – my racing schedule for June included the SA Marathon Championships, followed by the Bike4Peaks 4-day mountain bike stage race in Austria (17-21st of June), and finally, on the 28th of June I would have crowned the month’s racing at the World Marathon Championships in Italy – it hurts to miss out on these events, doesn’t it??

But like they say, it’s not what happens to you but what you make of it! Over the next 6-8 weeks I’ll be focusing hard on recovery and rehab to hopefully be ready for the TransAlps mountain bike stage race which starts in Rupholding, Germany on the 19th of July and finishes at Riva Del Garda in Italy 7 days later.

In between I promise to keep you guys up to date on my road to recovery and will also share my experiences as a supporter/spectator at Bike4Peaks and World Marathon Championships.

Last but not least I want to thank my title sponsor Garmin South Africa for their unwavering support through the good and not so good times.  They’ve always only wanted the best for me, whether it is for me to reach the goals I personally set for myself or if it is to recover from illness or injury. I realize how fortunate I am to be part of such a great company.