Question: I’m a roadie who discovered mountain biking as great off-season training. I lost 20 pounds since last fall and was determined to hit the road strong this spring.
Then I tangled with a car. Fortunately, I must have learned something from those mountain bike crashes because I didn’t break anything. I’m anticipating a clean bill of health on my next visit to the doctor. How should I start training to make sure I don’t lose the conditioning and strength that I gained over the winter? — Bob S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Glad to hear that you survived so well, Bob. I’ve always been a big advocate of tumbling and body awareness drills so a rider knows how to fall when a crash is unavoidable.
Those reactions have to be drilled in so they become reflexes. Sounds like you know how to tuck to protect yourself.
Your main concern now should be making sure you’re fully recovered from all injuries. This is good advice for every rider who suffers a crash, no matter what causes it. I know it’s tempting to rush back into training as soon as you get the doc’s okay. But go easy for two reasons.
First, following the enforced down time, you need to build back to your previous mileage and effort levels gradually or you risk injury or overtraining.
Second, you may have escaped serious injury, but sometimes minor bumps and bruises can get worse if you start riding hard before they heal completely. This is especially true of knocks on the knee. A relatively mild injury could flare up several weeks down the road and sideline you again.
Try to look on the accident as a positive. Treat the down time from riding as a recovery period that allows you to consolidate the gains you made in previous training. Once you’ve healed, you should have even better reserves for productive workouts.