Five kilometres gives you a lot of time to think. The Red Centre Enduro opened my eyes to what a little effort can produce. I was happy with my result but realised my training had no structure. A coach was needed.
It wasn't 'til a month and a couple of races later that I had to get my act together.
One day in June I woke with an extremely painful leg. Walking any distance just plan hurt and stairs were an absolute nightmare. People that know me, know that I don't bother to get things checked out unless it is broken. Not this time.
The doctor suspected stress fractures and an MRI was booked. Why stress fractures? Well my riding went from 300km a month, to 700km to 1400km all within two months. Yep, I had overdone it. Crap.
So into the MRI listening to U2 through semi broken headphones. MRI machines are nothing like the movies. They make a decent racket and are a little disturbing. Results produced nothing. I didn't have stress fractures so I was booked in to see a leg specialist at Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre to explain why I couldn't walk more than a 100m before stopping due to the pain. I described my symptoms to the doctor and he squeezed the spot with his thumb without searching for it. Double checked the MRI and confirmed that I had Tibialis Anterior Tenosynovitis and slight muscle tear where it and the tendon are connected. "Hang on, its a what? Running injury? I shouldn't be able to get it from cycling?" "Oh, I walk like a cyclist"
So, over training and “closed”, tight hip flexors were the cause and the outcome was no riding, no walking, taking Voltaren 50's and a stretching program. The no riding turned into 4 weeks and driving the 3.5km to work for 3 months. Races had been paid for and now withdrawn from. Others came and went without me. So frustrating.
Time for the coach and the search was on. Most of them offered a set 13-16 week program. This was not going to help me, so I contacted the strongest cyclist I knew and with her massage therapy background Frixshon, I was hoping Jodie Willett, could get me back on the trail. Her decision was to put me in contact with her coach Donna Dall, PCS, Progressive Coaching Systems. After 3 months I cannot recommend the pair enough.
I was now on program and something to focus on. Problem was, it is now September and was limping again. Back to OPSMC for a couple of appointments. One with the leg specialist and the other for a bike fit. The benefit of getting a bike fit through OPSMC was the physio had my file and knew what to look for. The bonus is a rebate from your private health insurance. More exercises and specific stretches recommended and I could feel the results within a couple of weeks.
Now to get the riding sorted. It was always on the cards after The Red Centre Enduro but I was waiting for the You Yangs Mtb Park to reopen after the floor damage. A skills course was booked with MTBSkills.com.au run by Norm and Jess Douglas to sort out my cornering. Off to the You Yangs and after a day of tuition by Norm and finally by Jess the obstacles I had apprehension about no longer fill me with dread or instantly reaching for the brakes. The course have provided me with the building blocks for better riding and continued improvements. Even now I can hear Norm's sage like voice in head when out on the trails. "Keep your head up".
Where does this leave me? I find out tomorrow. It is my first race in four months and cannot wait. The head is right, the leg is 88% there and my balance is good. I don't think I have ever been as fit, strong or motivated as I am now.
The 15th October is now New Years Day.
Thank you Dr Blackman, Jodie, Donna, Norm and Jess for each of your parts to make it happen. Thanks also goes out to all my friends for the encouragement when I needed it over the last 4 months.