My 9 week checkup came pretty fast, but I was left feeling so deflated afterwards, I thought I'd go in, they'd tell me to come out of my boot and get on with life. I actually thought I'd be able to ride, no boot within a week, even down the canal! I couldn't have been more wrong. Walking and riding without the boot I felt like I'd lost my safety net. There was nothing to stop me wobbling, holding me up or God forbid banging my heavily scarred leg. I started at the gym as soon as I could, and started off lightly with swimming and aqua-size. I was the youngest by about 50 years but to be back exercising, raising my heartbeat at relatively low Impact felt like I was starting to get my life back. The Aqua instructor then suggested I go to her Pilates classes. It's only since I've started biking again I've realised what a big impact Pilates has had on my strength. I'd recommend it to anyone...I've found a core and some glutes hiding!
I saw numerous physios and seemed to make a great amount of progress within the first 4 weeks, but then plateaud. Simple rides down the canal were all I could manage and after that I'd need hours to rest even just to walk and the range of movement in my foot an ankle just didn't seem to be improving.
12 weeks in I went on the #HopetechWomen Tuesday night ride, in my mind I was fixed and should get back to normal, just try and block out the pain, pretend it's all ok!! It was sooo good to be out on the bike and in good company. Rachel Walker was behind getting me back out, I wouldn't have even tried without her encouragement and providing me with a full suspension e.bike. Although I really enjoyed the ride, the pain was immense (I think I hid it well though). Any small bumps felt as though my leg was going to explode and unknown to me my muscles were not strong enough yet. They sure let me know later on tho when my leg gave way. My muscles gave up on me...that's me told! The e bike was a revelation, I wouldn't have been able to do the ride without, but I decided to leave the trails for a bit longer...and turn to the dark side.
Keeping smiling was hard as I felt pins inside my leg catching on tendons everytime I flexed my foot or stepped onto it so decided I needed to do something about it. Racing friends of mine are very good physios with their own business, working with some of the countries top athletes...it was time to make a 6 hour round journey to pay them a visit and get some answers and help. Seeing Richard at Fit4Physio was a major turning point in my rehab, and I genuinely could keep on smiling. Being competitive I'm driven by goals and now having a rehab plan to work to, weekly goals to achieve and someone checking up on my progress I felt I was back on track. My main goal on the long list....to be able to ride in Finale, Italy in October. I was down to race the EWS but obviously this wouldn't be happening, my other half was though and I was determined that I wasn't going to be cheerleader for this one. I'm one to think something good always comes out of something bad, or maybe this was just my excuse to buy a new bike?!?? So I treated myself to a lovely road bike, and this was to be my ride for Italy. I had to train hard to make sure I could reach my goal of 2-3 hours riding a day in Italy for 5 days. I spent a lot of time At the gym, 3 Pilates class's a week, 3-4 training sessions prepared by Fit4Physio and 3-4 road rides a week between 60-120 minutes. My full time job was now recovering! It wasn't particularly ankle/leg orientated, it was a plan to strengthen my whole body.