Them's the breaks


In this instance, literally. One moment riding along, my lungs feeling the best they had in nearly a month. The next on the pavement. Was a accident, pure and simple. Only person to blame is myself. However, just a note on the fabled bike paths of Europe. As sensational as they are portrayed in Australia, given our embarrassing lack of cycling infrastructure (from my own home town, Geelong, no less), they seem to exist in Belgium largely because foothpaths do not. This is all designated bike path.

Or rather, they're combined.

And as sensational as they can be

are not always as smooth and free of Mario Kart-esque pitfalls (this one has a cafe that takes over the path 150 metres further on). In my case, a gutter appeared in the middle of the path (as the road and path again divided to be separate). I was a few wheels back, didn't see it and dropped it. It was so slow that I stuck my hand out, which is the textbook method in how to fracture your radius - falling on to an outstretched hand. Only I didn't look like I was break dancing. King Hubbard, right here.
 
Straight away I know something didn't feel right. Tried to ride home, but 30km later had to call our Belgium director sportif (Bob) and he came to pick me up. I missed the pleasure of riding through the electrical storm that the rest of the boys copped. My reward though was being greeted an x-ray confirming I was a busted unit.

 
As you can bet, it was a pretty shattering (pun intended) outcome. But moaning about the precious weeks of Euro racing that had just disappeared down the drain wasn't going to change the situation (as rubbish as the timing was, two weeks in to the trip). Going home also wasn't an option. As attached as I am to Geelong, leaving a country that was finally showing glimpses of heading in to summer for a Victorian winter wasn't all that appealing...and the fracture could have been a whole lot worse. I actually got off rather lightly - no surgery or cast needed. That's two broken bones now and no cast - guess I'm too old to have people sign and draw juvenile pictures all over it. Damn.
 
Concerns about needing surgery out of the way, next priority would be a set up to allow me to use the ergo with one hand. A broken clavicle in 2012 (and some inspiration from Jono Lovelock) meant I knew precisely what I needed. And while not as good as the rig I had at home (or Jono's masterpiece), this one did the job. The trick is to immobilise the arm at the same level as the sling, but allows you to still sit on the trainer. Old inner tubes are ideal for this, as they're comfortable enough to leave the arm in for an hour at a time and elastic enough to be able to adapt to whatever you're using as a mount.

Crude but effective. Lucky I like the ergo. It's part of my training even when I'm fully fit. So once I emailed my coach and let him know the pain was tolerable, the new work outs came through immediately. The only thing was that nearly a month of bronchitis meant my Vo2 max and anaerobic work capacity was shot to hell. Even my functional threshold power (FTP, the aerobic work capacity) had dropped. I am physiologically and structurally a bit of a mess. A renovators dream. Luckily I have a coach as good as any contestant on The Block.
 
A snapshot of one of the workout he prescribed. Four sets, 20 reps of 15 seconds zone 7, 15 seconds zone 1. Five minutes recovery. Oh boy...

I asked him afterwards (after I wasn't able to hit zone 7 for three of the four sets and was close to puking at the end) if this was a new workout. "Nope, had it for a while" the reply. Wasn't sure if I should be grateful that he had held out until now to prescribe this session or be too scared to sleep in anticipation of what other hurt locker workouts he had just lying around...
 
The bigger picture however makes the pain worth it, as I have a two week trip to the French Alps planned from early June. In the most cliché use of the term 'making lemonade when life gives you lemons' (not employing one of the alternatives), I figure why not use part of the rehab time where I'm fit enough to ride but not far enough healed (bone wise) to race by exploring some of the famed climbs of the Tour de France. As much as I love the Giro, the gradient of the Dolomites and the extra travel time meant I had to rule them out. However given the town I'll be staying (Saint Michel de Maurienne) is at the base of the Col du Galbier, it doesn't make for a bad Plan B
 
So for now, all I have left is to try and survive my coach's program, get myself back training on the road and work out which climbs I want to try and cram in to the two weeks. That way once I'm back in Belgium I'll have four weeks to still race kermesse. All great in theory...lets hope this lemonade tastes ok (and doesn't turn out as awkward as this).