Breaking bones really sucks, the initial mind blowing pain of a good break can be way too much to take as you lie on the ground writhing in an uncompromising agony. On occasions I’ve honestly wished that someone would shoot me as I’ve been encompassed by indescribable pain. Sometimes you’re pretty sure something’s bust but adrenaline can get you to the end of the race. Always though, denial kicks in, it’ll be “a bad sprain” or “I think I’ve got away with that”, nothing will ever let you admit to yourself you might be sitting in a pot for the next six weeks or more until you hear it from the horse’s, or doctors more appropriately, mouth.
That news always hits me hard, so hard it’s one of the only things in adulthood to make me well up on a regular basis; I find it utterly crushing to know another season is to go by while I sit in front of a telly. Life is severely disrupted but nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that months, years even, of preparation are shot down in a millisecond and, while you get fatter and slower the rest of your sporting world marches on regardless, leaving you behind again. Every time I get hurt some clever soul (usually my old man) always gives it, “aren’t you getting too old for all this?” to which I reply with a shrug of the shoulders or a wry smile, while an indescribable rage fills me from the inside. To those people I ultimately feel sorrow as they clearly don’t know what life is about.
Wrap yourselves in cotton wool and never leave the house, what kind of existence is that? I live for those moments of having a bike drifting around underneath me barely in my control, for those runs where I’m going so fast my focus leaves only a jigsaw of moments to piece together through a hazy cloud of euphoria. Days and weeks after a good race those feelings stay with me and make the ultimate ride worth almost the ultimate price.
Over the years I’ve smashed and broken this body of mine to pieces, five surgeries and counting, five broken ankles, a snapped leg, a wrecked knee, destroyed hips, wrecked back, broken hand, bust wrist, three times bust elbow, broken shoulder blade, a dozen broken ribs, separated my ribs from my spine, complete separation of my shoulder, severe nerve compression making my arm useless for two months, from prolapsing a disc in my neck and concussions that have left me with a recurring blindness in one eye and put on top of the chronic fatigue syndrome from the party lifestyle and you have to ask yourself was it all worth it? Well it was, and it still is cause I’m not ever going to stop and I’d do it all again and more because this is living, this is what it’s all about. There’s no point taking an immaculate corpse to the grave, make sure you’ve worn it out to the max, played hard in it and lived your life to the full because riding is life and the only thing that’ll slow you down is picking up the pieces after a big one.
More info: NHS Direct: 0845 4647
www.innerbody.com (human anatomy online)