It is now 4 weeks since I broke my collarbone and I have really surprised myself with my progress over the last 2 weeks. After a slow start over the first 2 weeks, by week 3 I was training up to 2 hours a day on the Wattbike and then last week I made the leap to riding my bike on the track. It’s fair to say my first session I was a little nervous. I was sitting awkwardly and putting more weight on my right arm and then when it came to getting on the tri bars of my pursuit bike it was hard to tuck down into the aero position. It felt as if there was a big metal plate pulling my shoulder upright… I wonder why that was?! But as soon as I did my first effort I forgot all of these things and the familiar burn of lactic in my legs took over from the pain in my collarbone. I loved it.
I did three sessions on the track last week and each day I felt better and better. My shoulder is getting more flexible the more I use it and I am finally feeling like a bike rider again. This Saturday (7th Sept) I am due to compete in the International Belgian Open track meet in Gent. This is a UCI track event which holds qualification points for the World Cups and I need to compete here in the Individual Pursuit and score enough points if I want to race the IP at Manchester World Cup in November. There was another qualification event for the IP back in early July in Dublin but this was just after my tonsillectomy and I was too ill to consider racing there. So Gent next Saturday is my last opportunity to qualify. Life would be boring if everything was always straightforward, a few setbacks certainly keep things interesting!
Just 2 weeks ago I thought Gent would be a long shot but with my progress last week I am now confident I will have recovered enough from the injury to compete. The advice is not to ride for 6 weeks after the operation and this event will be 4 weeks 2 days post op, but the likelihood of me crashing in an individual pursuit is so low; if I did come off something would have gone very seriously wrong!! I will need to adjust my starting technique and I am well aware my fitness level is below where I would like it to be but I am keen to go out and compete to try to get those qualification points. Nothing to lose but a lot to gain.
The International Belgian Open is from 6th-7th September at the Vlaams Wielercentrum Eddy Merckx in Gent and the Women’s IP is on Saturday 7th.