Mountain Bike Wreck Endo

Recovery: Riding Is More Than Just Spinning Wheels

Injury, sickness and life. 3 things that get in the way of our riding and sometimes set us back a couple of pegs in our endurance. It is just the way things go in our sport and it is not if…it is when.

Over the past couple of weeks, our riding group has seen its share of injuries. Off the top of my head, there is one separated shoulder, one ti repaired broken collar bone, a knee that possibly has something torn in it, a broken back, a new baby, 2 pregnant wives and my latest sickness that laid me flat out for over 10 days (still not all the way out). While this is a lot at once, it is pretty normal amongst large groups of cycling friends.

What is one unifying characteristic that unites us all together?

We are all impatient and want to get back on the bike as quickly as possible. Now…for those with the life circumstances, it isn’t that big of a deal other than coming to the gripping realization that all fo that time off the bike does in fact add up. For those of us in injury and sickness mode, the stir crazy, “I am going to jump out of my skin if I don’t get back on my bike soon” feeling often entices us to do something stupid…like I did this weekend.

Riding Is More Than Just Spinning Wheels

As mountain bikers and cyclists, we have come to rely on our sport to fill certain needs in our lives that are outside of staying in shape and having fun with friends. We have used our pedal power to calm fears, relieve stress, collect thoughts and give us that much needed alone time that doesn’t come often these days.

When you strip that away from a cyclist, cabin fever sets in. We do anything we possibly can to get back on the bike as quickly as possible. Often times, we push the limits too early which in some situations…does nothing but prolong our time out of the saddle.

This past weekend, I did something incredibly dumb.

After having a fever, extremely sore throat and aching body all week long, I decided enough was enough and got on the bike Thursday night for our regular Thursday night road ride. I ended up having to cut the ride short and could barely hold myself on the bike by the end of it. My body just wasn’t ready to exert that kind of effort…I was not done being sick.

Now any normal person would call it a weekend and admit defeat (that would have been the smart thing to do). However, like any other obsessed cyclist, I figured 48 hours would meld what ails me and I went with friends on another 52 mile road ride in the mountains. In my mind, I was being smart by not getting on the mountain bike as the heat and exhaustion might be too much for me at the time. I woke up first thing Saturday morning with a terrible sore throat and no voice. This was starting off well…

After 52 of the hardest miles I have ever ridden in my life, I realized that getting out on the bike that soon was a dumb idea. I am pretty sure I looked dead by the time I got back to the car.

It was too soon, but I needed a ride. Something weird happens when obsessed cyclists are off the bike. We think the bike is what will make us better. Have you ever heard the phrase “well maybe you’ll blow it out?” I know I have used it on more than one occasion and it is the belief that doctor’s orders are wrong about rest and we should actually stress our bodies to the max to expel these daemons! In reality, it is a phrase we use to make an excuse to get out and ride.

Self Awareness Is A Hard Trait to Have

We are incredibly active as cyclists. Everything we do is high energy and with a lot of things in life…that is a very good thing. It makes us passionate about our jobs, our lives and our families. We are a community of do’ers that like to take action to get things done.

On the other side of the coin, it also makes us completely unaware when it comes to self awareness and when we are actually ready to get back in the saddle after injury or sickness. We look for excuses, reasons and justifications on why it is ok to get out for a short ride no matter what the doctors say. We look to riding as the cure and not the symptom that started the chain of events. We often base our mental health on how many miles were logged that week.

In many ways, this is not a bad thing, but when it goes wrong…it goes really wrong and we end up setting ourselves backwards more than forwards.

From someone that is as guilty of it as anyone, I urge cyclists to have a little bit more patience and self awareness (those that know me are laughing their asses off by this point. Pot? Kettle?). We can set ourselves back with impatience. In some cases, it can be to the detriment of our own health and the lives of those around us.

Sometimes a couple more days off the bike can mean a great deal in the road to recovery.


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