My bike is in transit, my transportation confirmed, my training – well, I’ve done the best I could in the time I’ve had available – and I’m off to Wyoming Friday to ride the Tour de Wyoming next week. (Don’t worry, we’ll still be publishing a new issue next Thursday!)
I did the TdW (which follows a different route every year) two summers ago and was eager to get back this summer to ride with a couple of buddies I met years ago riding down the coast of California. (A couple of other buddies had to bow out along the way for work/family reasons.) We started planning the trip last fall and were well along with things when I crashed April 16, fracturing my clavicle and requiring surgery, which was performed April 27.
At the consultation appointment with my surgeon 3 days after the crash, I laid out my plans for the Tour and was assured that if all went well, I’d be on the bike in Wyoming in the middle of July. Despite his cocksure opinion (which is a good attribute in a surgeon, to be sure) – and the hard work I put in on both the trainer and back on the road when I was allowed (only about 4 weeks ago) – I’ve had my doubts along the way. It sure has seemed like a very long road back to Wyoming.
Recovery Is Not a Linear Progression
As anyone who has had a significant injury and/or surgery can tell you, recovery is not a linear progression. It’s a process, and as much as you’d like it to be steady, consistent improvement – it’s just not. I’ve had conversations these past weeks with others who’ve suffered through crashes and surgeries and recoveries, and perhaps Coach John Hughes (whose training plan I’ve been following to prepare for the TdW) has the best analogy:
“Recovery is never a straight line,” he says. “It’s mostly sloping upward but sometimes there are dips. It’s like the stock market. You’re invested in your health and fitness for the long haul and just need to ride out these dips.”
There certainly have been dips. Riding them out, though, is extremely tough. Even though I 100% understand and agree with John’s take on recovery, there have been times when I just can’t get my brain to believe in the overall upward trajectory!
And yet I’m plowing on. I’ll do the best I can, and take no shame in considering the SAG wagon if I need it (Coach Fred Matheny advised me to keep that option open; he said he made use of it himself once early in a tour to enable a strong ride for the rest of the tour). In fact, the ride organizer has already offered me a spot in her pickup truck to help SAG! I’ll try like hell not to take her up on it; we’ll see.
I’ll write more about the recovery process, and the concomitant challenges, after the Tour – including tips on transitioning from the trainer to the road, training over a short period for a long-planned event, and on how best to ride that event. (I don’t think this is a spoiler alert, but I plan to take it as easy as possible!)
Again, we’ll have another new issue next week, and I’ll follow up briefly at least the following week after I return, with more to come later.
Here’s hoping you’re all having a terrific summer and that your riding is on an upward trajectory!
John Marsh is the former editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of "less than podium" talent, he brought our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That's what we're all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John's full bio.