I’m sitting on the lounge post-ride rubbing a cream which apparently contains arnica, ginger and chilli perilously close to my groin. My first MTB ride in over 8 weeks, on a still fragile wrist was a battle of wills. My left hand is supposed to have 38kg of grip strength. I currently have only 18kg which makes opening a zip lock bag challenging. Hanging on to the handlebar while descending takes all fingers which means covering the rear brake is very optional. Despite this I made it gingerly down some singletrack (of course there was a torrential downpour last night making things greasy) and even managed something approaching flow. Then I got hooped by two 12 year old boys on flat pedals coming down Rocket Frog. Some work to be done then.
So back to my groin and I’ve discovered that I don’t give my Sartorius muscle a single thought until I have a tear in it. No, not from running, although that didn’t help. Simply picking up my foot on Thursday afternoon to look at something on the sole of my shoe then ‘snap’! Consulting my sports medicine bible I note the recommendation to ice and avoid aggravating activities. From experience aggravating activities include walking, standing, sitting, lying down, rolling over and generally moving. Who makes up these stupid rules?? Riding is not TOO bad if I ignore the difficulty in mounting and pushing off when I can’t pick my foot up off the ground.
An anatomy lesson: this is your satorius - respect it
Bumping into a friend near the end of my ride we were both shaking our heads as to why we bother some days. Between the wrist, the torn muscle, the tail-end of a cold, wet trails why the hell was I trying to get my training session done? Surely I should have just given in and had a sleep in? Well one positive thing is that I got to see some views like this….
South Boundary Rd. Have seen this view many times - still breathtaking
Travelling to places like Europe and Canada I forget how stunning my own backyard can be. This was impressed on me last weekend when I tackled the Rapha Gents 160k ride with some mates. We circled Mount Warning through some of the prettiest countryside I’ve ever seen, only 1.5 hours drive from house.
Riding with friends - I don't do this enough
The other thing I’ve come to realise is that my body is meant to MOVE. It’s what it was designed for and what my entire being is happiest doing. Sometimes moving, whether that’s riding, running, paddling or climbing involves pushing through obstacles and finding a way to get my fix. Instead of not riding at all, I chose to do what riding I could. If technical riding hurt my wrist and hip then I’d climb the mountain on the fire trails. When I couldn’t get on the bike at all, I learned to love to run again. Most of the people who know me understand this.
Bec Frendo drove the support vehicle for our Rapha ride, providing sustenance in the form of croissants, baguettes, pancetta, assorted cheeses, cake and even a roast chicken. For 12 hours she transported, fed and tracked our crew and even managed a training run of her own between feed-zones. I mentioned to her that this was a generous gift of time until she confided in me that she owed hubby Mark some reciprocal support duties. Nineteen hours-worth in fact, while she ran the Northface 100k. Yep, just casually dropped in that she completed one of the hardest 100km trail runs in the world. Another mate did 36 or so climbs of Mt Cootha (known as ‘everesting’ – look it up). He wasn’t raising money for cancer or anything, he just had a day free and thought “this is the hardest thing I can think of doing”. These are my people. We love this shit.
Get out there. Laugh. Cry. Stop for coffee. And remember to enjoy the views!