The first 2 months was filled with more pain and operations than one person should be subject too. I needed my C5 and C6 vertebra to be fused, plated and screwed. I then needed my knee to be operated on and my fingers fixed and finally another neck operation to remove all the broke bits of bone that were trapping nerves in my spinal chord.
After all the physical rebuild, the mental part started.
I should have died, I didn’t; I should have been paralysed, I wasn’t; I should never have been able to do sport again….. That was never going to happen.
My story is of massive good fortune, a lot of luck and many many hours of pain and dedication to get it all back. I’m almost there but the adventure continues.
Almost lost my fingers. It was a big off and to even live through it was something. 6 months later and a lot has gone on.
In the same accident I broke my knee cap into 5 bits and….
I needed two spinal operations to pin and fuse two vertebra in my neck. C5 and C6. I put a fracture through C6 and dislocated my neck. I broke the back of the vertebra off and came within millimetres of full paralysis. My life was almost over. But it didn’t end there…..
Well a lot has happened since my last post over a year ago. In January this year I broke my neck in a horrific bike crash and almost died. This is my story of getting back.
Broken Knee cap.
Well this wasn’t supposed to happen. On a standard training ride I had a little off and came done on my knee. Nothing unusual there, happens all the time right. Wrong this time i came down on a rock and fractured my knee cap. I didn’t know this at the time so rode the 20 miles home and then carried walking around on it until pain got the better of me.
A brief 7 hours in A&E and it was confirmed as a fracture across the back of the patella. Recovery time 8-10 weeks!!!!!! What the hell, 8-10 weeks, I could build a new knee in less time than that. Gutted doesn’t even come close. I am “resting” up on the sofa going slowly mad. The weather is fantastic and i’m missing out on the season. AGHHHH!!!!!
I am determined to do everything right and get this fixed. I am using a DonJoy bionic leg brace and a Cyro Cuff ice compression unit along with many many drugs to help promote bone growth. I aim is to cut the 8-10 weeks in half.
It has been 9 days now and I can start to put some weight on the leg with the brace on but still need the crutches to get around. I have to decide at the start of the day if there is anything I need from upstairs because I only make that trip once a day.
The good new is that I don’t need an operation, the patella has stayed in one piece so no need to cut open but the damage to the ligaments is yet to be discovered. One area for concern is the fracture all the way through the cartilage at the back of the knee. This is going to cause me problems when I get back into it but small steps. I’ll get walking again before I worry about cartilage problems.
I’ll post some more updates as the recovery continues but until then it is a serious amount of sofa time, bugger.
Breaking news!!! Yesterday morning while training off road at The Lookout I snapped my chain which caused me to crash. The result was a broken knee cap and ligament damage.
The best case is 6 weeks on crutches and if it needs an operation could be up to 12 weeks.
I cannot describe how upset i am. So much effort has gone into this year and I have sacrificed so much and now as I sit here on the sofa I know that for the next two months this is my life.
I can’t train and I can’t work so it is important that I keep myself busy and try not to let it get to me. I am going to keep blogging as it gives me a little outlet which keeps me from going mad. But with a good family support network I know I can come through this, just at the moment it all seems a bit dark.
Gorrick Rd 5 series final.
Well the last couple of weeks has been a mix of highs and lows. I managed to wrap up the Gorrick spring series but with a rapidly closing Chris Minter it was closer than I would have liked and my final round 4th place was ok but didn’t really please me too much. It was enough but nothing more.
Having raced every weekend for 8 weeks I went into the second round of the National Champs at the famous Dalby Forrest course feeling good and ready for battle. 12 minutes into my first practice lap I rolled my front tyre on Medusa’s drop and was flicked over the bars to come down heavily on my wrist. First impressions weren’t too bad, the wrist worked and the pain was only a dull ache. This however matured into an excruciating pain accompanied by the most enormous swelling. This wasn’t in the plan.
Over night the wrist and hand had become immobile and by morning there was no chance I was going to race. Game over; I was gutted. All I could think of was all the training and preparation that has gone into this season. The sacrifice by myself and my family, the hours on the bike in the cold and wet, getting dressed in the dark to ride for two hours before a full days work and all pointless after 12 minutes of easy spinning.
The hand is still sore however working better but the disappointment still hurts. I have to keep telling myself that to put it out there and test your body week in, week out there will be a point when things stop running so smoothly. A speed bump in the mountain bike course of life, nothing that will stop you but might kick you out of the saddle. I’ve had my kick, now it’s time to get the head down and sprint back up the the pack. “don’t drop that wheel Scott, get back on.”
BMBS Rd 1 Sherwood, 2011
I have been spoilt, not in a superficial way but in a gridding way. For the last four years I have begun every race on the front row with nothing but a perfect sightline to the first corner. Starting this season as an un-gridded elite rider, the first corner was hidden by the other sixty racers ahead of me. I have never started a race so far back, and with such a strong elite field this year my only goal was to not remain as the “lantern rouge”.
My ambitions of a lightning start and a sudden elevation to the lofty heights of elite rider were crushed 50 yards after the start when weight of riders caused a first corner crash. I then experienced another first, walking a bike when the leaders sprint off. This happens a lot at bottlenecks on the first lap I was told later but from my previous elevated life of race leader at these sections I had been kept immune from this frustrating situation.
Then the pain began. Sherwood is a mix of tight single track and straight wide fire roads so the maximum efforts on the open sections are split by slow but technically tough wooded bits. I was shocked by the constant attacks on the fire roads, in the first two laps I didn’t even manage to drink. As the group popped out of the woods the pace was ramped up and up with constant sprints to hold the wheel in front. As a good group formed around me I felt I could relax into the race only to come crashing to an end moments later as the front washed out in a corner and my high speed ticket rocketed off leaving me to chase for the next 4 laps. Try as I might I couldn’t close the gap and working alone I started to tire. After 6 laps and nearly 2 hours of constant efforts I rolled across the line in 35th place. I had moved up but not as far as I wanted or even expected.
Days later it still stings a bit finishing so far down and sucking up the dust from the multitude of riders ahead. I hope some of it was down to a poor start but I must look at myself and reprogram a brain that has been working on a different plan. I will never lead an elite race and may not even see the front but I have to try and control the things that are within my ability. Find the right group and not crash out the back of it has to be the main focus but also look for the positives. The new whippet race bike was sensational and I felt comfortable in the single track, even using it as sections to close gaps, so the skills are strong and the fitness is good, I just need to start the race from the correct place in my head and not just on the grid.
Gorrick Round 3. Warren Heath.
Gorrick round 3. Warren Heath.
After the first two rounds of the Gorrick spring series I was leading the standings but from past years I have seen the level of start line competition increase as the season begins in earnest. With the first round of the nationals only a couple of weeks away this was the strongest field so far.
I lined up on the start next to Steve James, Tim Dunford, Billy-Joe Whenman and Chris Minter and a host of top level elite riders. For such a local race series this was sure getting serious. Living only five miles down the road I was able to get a couple of sneaky laps in the day before and was surprised how relentless the course was. Being very flat around there resulted in a lap with no rest and lots of upper body physical effort to force yourself around the twists as quickly as possible.
Within the first 20 minutes of the race it was clear a little group at the front had got away and I made sure I was in it. Myself, Billy, Tim and Steve pressed on, the pace was relentless. Every time someone new took the lead they tried to drop the other three and increased the effort. This was really good preparation for the constant attacks I know will be the prominent feature of this years nationals.
On the third lap Steve James put in a dig and opened a lead that was just enough to snap the invisible elastic and left the three of us to dual it out behind. A few tangles with back markers caused a number of little gaps to open between the three chasers but we soon all came together again for the last lap. The technical nature of the course and the dry conditions was always going to lead to a mental last 20 minutes and Tim still had the legs on the fifth lap to just pull away. It was nothing obvious, he just seemed to drift ahead and before long was hot on the heals of Steve James who eventually took the win with Billy 10 seconds ahead of me and Tim finishing strong in second.
I came away pleased with 4th, it means I’m still leading the series but more importantly I am on track with my preparation this far. The bike performed flawlessly again and with each little tweak gets lighter and lighter. It is slowly transforming into the summer race bike that it needs to be.
Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas.
I am currently in Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps, apparently. If the hype was to be believed this is the most exciting place in the world but just a short ride outside of the city limits there is some of the most amazing riding in America.
As always I have the travel Inbred with me and this morning, just as it was getting light, I headed out into the mountains for a solid 3 hour ride. From the hotel it is uphill for nearly forty miles. It’s not steep but never eases up and combined with the altitude the heart rate was maxing out a few times but as you reach the top you are rewarded with an amazing view. Viewing Las Vegas from 5000ft up a mountain is maybe the safest way to see sin city and definitely the cheapest.
I have another long ride planned for tomorrow morning before we fly home but first I think I need to go and take in the sights and sample some local hospitality, wish me luck.
Gorrick Round 2
Round 2 of the Gorrick Spring series was held at the same venue as round 1, Crowthrone woods. This happens to be my training ground so between the racing and the training I seem to spend a lot of time around this area but the Gorrick team did a great job and managed to find new trails to ride and created a flowing new course.
The last couple of days have been hard for me. I have been ramping up the training and putting more efforts into the rides. Mainly doing 40secs flat-out and then 20 secs spin recovery and then again about 10 times through. I then do some hill reps and repeat the efforts once more. The whole ride takes about two hours and when I get home I have trouble standing. In the evening I’ll try and get some more efforts in on the turbo. This sort of training hurts but is a must to get the speed back into the legs. So heading into the Gorrick race I wasn’t expecting too much.
The field was the strongest so far with half a dozen National ranked riders turning up. The start was the usual flat out affair and after a quarter of a lap we had all been strung out by Dave Collins blistering pace. He just went. I thought about trying to go with him but in the end sat on the wheel of Steve James, Junior National Champion, and paced myself for the next 5 laps. It stayed like this for the next couple of laps and we were joined by another Junior, Ben Sumner. The pace stayed high until Steve suffered a mechanical and Ben blew his lights and I was joined by Tim Dunford.
Tim had ridden himself through the field and spent a lap recovering and then put the hammer down. The legs were felling it a bit and I just didn’t have the punch I needed.
In the end Dave won with Tim a couple of minutes back with myself 20 seconds back on that. I was pleased with the result and my lap times were fairly consistent so for this time of year it was a good result and even better training.
So now its time to go out again for another hard ride and do a three for three efforts days. The brain is willing but the body is weak.
Well this week the training has been hard but I have been limited by how dull I have felt. Sometimes you have the strength of ten men and other times you struggle to get upstairs. I haven’t felt this weak in years but I’m not too worried as it is still very early and I have been upping the training.
What I do now will give me the strength I need in a a few months. Lots of time down the gym on the leg press machine and many rides pushing big gears will make things hard now but it won’t last forever.
I managed to get about 6 hours off road riding in over the weekend, and it was full on all the time. I train a lot by myself so have been able to do my training at almost race pace with no stopping and chatting. I find that group rides go one of two ways, too easy and lots of banter or a huge ego competition where everyone tries too hard.
Both are good but not as specific as I would like so I withdraw a bit and train on my own, and there is no where to hide and if you do start taking the piss it is only your fault.
So bring on the next set of races and we’ll see if the strength returns and if so by how much more.
This is what doing a turbo session at 6.30am looks like. Big warm up followed by lots of pain.
Antigua trip doesn’t end too well.
In between the first round of the Gorrick Spring series and the last Merida Brass Monkeys race I was scheduled to fly to Antigua for a few days. This is always a good training trip and for the last couple of times I have been there the Inbred Travel bike has come with me.
This time was no exception and I was keen to try out my new S&S 12” case. It is slightly larger than the previous one and meant that I could keep the bike more assembled so reducing build time to about 20 minutes. So the first day there I was un-packed and doing hill reps within half an hour of reaching the hotel.
Day two started at day break and I headed out for a large loop of the island getting as far as the John Hughes mountain in the south west of the island. This is a great spot for some hill reps and the quiet roads allowed me room to manoeuvre on the steep switchbacks.
A few hours later and I was back at the hotel basking in my glory of anther good days training. It wasn’t to last…
The next morning I repeated the same process and while descending the John Hughes mountain I didn’t factor in how amazingly slippery the roads get in the Caribbean when they are wet. Three corners in and gaining speed I took a sharp right-hander at pace and with no warning the front end tucked under. I came down heavily on my right side and slid for a good 30 yards before ending up in the storm drain at the side of the road.
The bike and I had parted company but this didn’t make standing any easier. In fact it was so slippery I was forced to go on all fours just to ascend back to the bike. I have never seen a road like it. There was little compensation knowing that it was the same grip as black ice as I pulled my inbred out of the ditch. To my surprise there was minimal damage to the actually bike apart from both bar ends being ripped off, I however i got off less lightly.
Using your extremities to cushion your fall and arrest your descent doesn’t leave much skin behind and so a new fresh patch of bright red bleeding and a ripped pair of shorts was my trophy for the tarmac loving. I limped back to the hotel with my tail and most of my bike between my legs and spent a good few minutes wincing in agony as i showered off the worst of the road rash.
It is still only the first month of the year but I have already spent a good portion of it sliding down the road. I just hope that this is my road crash of the year out of the way and I can enjoy a scar free season from now on.