Well team, as most of you know a month or so a go I was heading off around the world to Europe to start a big five month campaign leading towards final selections for the Commonwealth Games. I’d been named on the short list, with the final team to be named around July some time. It was to be a big year ahead.
So I packed up two bikes, a road bike and a time trial bike and a set of racing wheels and training wheels for each, a bag full of clothes for five months and I was off……
The Planned Trip
Ireland was first on the list. We were doing the FBD Insurance RAS (road tour of Ireland similar to the Tour of Southland, but over 8 days with more hills.)
Then Belgium for around six weeks of road racing including another big U23 road tour in Germany.
(Ireland/Belgium time was all on the road to build a good long strong endurance base)
Then it was off to America, Pennsylvania for two months of track, road and criterium racing also. (A third bike would be needed here for the track)
By this time the Commonwealth Games team would be named and the team would be off to Bordeaux France for another road tour and three weeks of Intense track training.
(America/France was more specific training for the track and fine tuning each week closer and closer to the Games)
From France it would then be off to New Delhi, India for the Commonwealth Games.
The Tour of Ireland
We basically got off to a great start and all was going well, made it to Ireland and found sunshine, no jackets needed we were looking for the sun block.....
The roads in Ireland were great, we would usually start the race screaming down big motor ways then turn off and find the little nuggety country roads and goat tracks, where the seal was as rough as guts making it hard to stay up in the front third of the bunch, so to just stay in the bunch you had to be quite strong.
Stage one was a bit of a shock to the system but was good to get under the belt. I was under a bit of pressure at times bit did make it through to the finish intact.
Stage two was all good too. Again quite challenging but I tend to find things get better for me the more and more racing I do, so I was defiantly improving on day one and the legs were starting to ride in to the euro racing. However there was a big smash late in the stage as a jeep got thru the security guards on the road and managed to drive its way into the front of the peloton, thankfully no one was seriously hurt. A few guys lost fingers and another broke his leg, it could of all been a lot worse. All the kiwis got thru unshaved and they neutralized the last 50km of the race. So we all had to ride in slowly to the finish. This was strange but quite good really as it was a bit of a chance to get to know a few of the other European riders and have a more relaxed chat rather than the usual banter of the bunch.
Stage Three was around 170km with two rather large climbs in it which I managed to fight my way over in the front group. I kept chucking down the food and drink in the last 30km as I wanted to be right for the next day as well as making it to the finish of today and the legs were getting better and better as we narrowed into this wee town called Oataouard (not correct spelling I’m pretty sure, but that’s what it sounds like)
So I was in the front group with just one other Kiwi, Marc Ryan, coming into the last 3km.
I thought there was only one guy up the road and a sprint for second place was on the line so was itching for it. Turns out later on I found out there were four guys up the road.
In the mean time I was pumped for leading my self out and at 500m to go there was a little single lane stone bridge 90-degree corner right on and 90 degree corner left off.
From this point I started letting rip to move up a place then came to 300m to go and I committed full gas to the sprint and came up on someone’s right hip (he wouldn’t have known I was there) and he stepped out to the right as well. We sort of hit handle bars, I lost control, shot off to the right, tried to keep it up and hold it straight, but lost it, both wheels were sliding sideways, carbon shattering everywhere. Then they bit in and through me high side over the bike in horizontals.
I smashed my right femur into a power pole at about 60-65kph. My body went left of pole and right leg knee down went to the right of the pole, bending my right knee the way it’s not meant to bend, then I tumbled along the gutter.
Although I was in a lot of pain, the ambulance ride was rather funny because they were a new good crew. I knew I’d messed myself up but there was nothing I could do and I knew exactly who I was and where I was and what had happened.
When they asked could you feel that? (Someone was tickling my foot) I said “What? That?” They said “Yeah.” I said, “Yeah you’re tickling my bloody foot! What’s that all about?”
The ambulance crew and A&E told me I’d broken my right femur but my X-rays were clear with no broken bones, so quite lucky really.
Post Tour for Me
So I’ve being lying in Galway hospital flat on my back with a massive brace and a swollen right leg and two sizeable grazes on the left side from last Tuesday. I’ve gotten up out of bed three times and walked about ten steps with crutches each time.
Man, I’d ridden over 400km in the three days before I was in here, I was fit … how could ten steps take so much out of me?
I’ve had two surgeries for compartment syndrome, one to cut me open to relieve the swelling in my right leg and again to close it back up again, heaps of X-rays and a MRI scan
So the damage is torn ACL and PCL ligaments in my right knee, and destroyed lateral ligaments and hamstring attachment point on my right knee also.
So all that said the year is sadly over with Commonwealth Games out the window for 2010.
The doc reckons I’ll be back on my bike by then but he said competing at this stage would be a super human effort.
It looks like around the end of the year/beginning of next and I’ll be back right in the thick of it, mixing it up like I was last Tuesday.
From here a lot of recovery/rehab is to be done.
But I’m staying positive about it all. It’s just a bit of a set back, slight change from full gas training - to full rehab is all, shouldn’t be too much trouble.
I’ve just heard they are going to do the operation here in Ireland tomorrow, as things would get too messy flying home to get it done.
Then there will be a two week block of recovery time before it will be safe to fly and I’ll be home in NZ again, so post-op will be the next report team.
Talk soon no doubt