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Back on the bicycle

It has been a long and slow road back to recovery but I am finally racing around on my bicycle like a man intent on breaking his collarbone again. This seemed a long way off back at the end of November when I was feeling incredible sorry for myself. In the days following my tumble, I had surgery to repair the broken collarbone and dislocated shoulder to ensure the best chance of a full recovery. Ironically, I didn’t feel any real pain from the injury until the surgery. I can remember the exact moment at which the drugs wore off; from a smiling photo sent to my family to absolute agony in a matter of seconds. Nonetheless, with a fantastic nurse tending to my every need, I was able to concentrate on getting better albeit in the confines of my own home. Thus, a few weeks merely pottering round the house meant I could feel my fitness plummet closer to that of an apple with every sedentary second. After a couple of depressing weeks, I was out and about, luxuriously chauffeured around to work, the pub and physiotherapy. My physiotherapist did some assessments and supposed I had lost about 15% of muscle from my shoulder and arm. However, I have no doubt that I will return to my previous Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque physique in no time.

My injuries post-surgery hurt a lot more than following the fall as the healing process began!

The annual Christmas trip home to Belgium was never going to improve my vegetative state; the cold weather meant I begun 2016 with my cardiovascular fitness depressingly similar to Louis McLean. Nonetheless, the New Year began well as my first ride back on a bicycle took place on January 1st. Visiting some old and new friends in Berlin, we went for a wander round the old airfield in Tempelhofer. It was an extremely foggy day and midway across the old airstrip, a familiar figure in the shape of Michael Moss came pedalling out of the shadows. He was atop his creaking yet reliable German steed and offered me the chance to stretch my legs for the first time since my fall. I nervously accepted and mounted his bicycle with all the grace of a Geordie on a night out. I pushed off, wobbling dramatically as I continuously battled against slipping off the pedals, lacking any kind of grip from my cheap Brazilian-coloured shoes from Decathlon. Weary of falling, I hit a top speed of about 8 km/h before circling back, my nerves so fraught that I took the turn so wide it would have made one of Moss’ goal attempts appear close. It didn’t matter though, I was cycling again.

My first cycle since breaking my collarbone

Back in Belgium there was only a 4 km cycle to Sterrebeek to note, but it was atop a racing bike again and certainly whet the whistle. Since returning to Brazil, I have racked up ~750 km which is a far cry from what I had hoped for. I have tried to repay Luana’s incredible patience and attention during my recovery (she was my nurse and chauffeur) by giving her my slipstream on hard cycles and that has helped me to push through. It is depressing to see people who you would usually glide past overtake you, but I know that soon it will be me again knocking people's confidence with breath-taking overtakes.

The training season has begun...

A lot of people questioned whether I would even get back on the bike after my accident, but since when should a little setback stop you doing something you love? Additionally, the pros of cycling outweigh the occasional con on so many levels but that’s a blog post for next time. As for now, I’m off on a morning cycle before work… Party hard and ride harder!

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