In a perfect world, cyclists would be able to ride and ride and never have to stop for annoying things like snow and fresh knicks. But this is not the Natural Order. There is, always, some limiting factor that will step in to make athletes slow down and take stock of things. For some (Euros), it's winter. For others, it's sickness. For me, it's biomechanics.
I believe that athletes fall into two basic groups when they train lots. There are those who get sick, and those who get injured. I rarely get sick. My immune system has just returned from awards night at the Golden Nodes, where it won Best Supporting Immune System in a Melbourne CBD Office Block. Suffice to say, it is awesome. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of my lumbar-pelvic stability.
I have had an incredibly frustrating few months of late. I got a mysterious hip injury in late Sept, which referred laterally into my knee. With some carefully managed physio and rehab from the good folks @VIS, we got it under control within a month. I was stoked: I had lost some time to prepare for nat champs in Jan, but not a critical amount. I was back on track.
Then, with no warning, I had a relapse in early November. Back to square one. More rehab, more physio, another ultrasound. First was the unpleasant realisation that my window to prepare for nationals had closed. Second, the frustration of not being able to ride. At all. And not knowing why. Third, the realisation that the deep-rooted biomechanical imbalances I'd worked so hard to correct over the past year were still there, and back with a vengeance.
So my last few weeks - or maybe months now - have been pretty subdued. Despite getting injured relatively often, it still amazes me every time how depressing injury can be. Past rehab, no matter how dilligently performed, attracts no karma. I'm lucky to have some amazing resources at my disposal - the VIS have pulled out all the stops - but it doesn't quite fill the void created when riding my bike was taken away.
I missed the Tour of Bright last weekend. It's my favourite race. Instead, I went to Bendigo and tried to play support crew for Andy who was racing an mtb enduro. I wasn't very good at it - as most athletes know, being around people racing when you can't is not very fun.
On the plus side, I am feeling a lot more relaxed now than I usually do this time of year, which for cyclists is the last month before nationals and the time when all the precious final touches are put on your form. I've even started to like rainy days (I KNOW, it's schadenfreude). And this weekend I went home to Adelaide for a Jacobs family Christmas and enjoyed all the pudding I could handle. What's more, I've tried all these cool new things since being injured that I haven't had time or reason to do when in full bike training. Water running, weights, massage, core work, pilates, paddling, jogging... I even got to make my christmas presents this year for the first time in ages.
I admit, I'd still prefer to be riding though...