Archive for February, 2009
After spending two days in hospital I was discharged and back to the hotel where my own personal fan club kept me entertained for the remaining 2 days of the Tour. Thanks Mum, Dad, Sue, Graham, Nik, Louise, Mike, Trev, Juliet, Richard, Corey and my partner Sarah who spent her whole Tour Down Under experience in a hospital or hotel room. Though it was nice to be with the team as we were presented our jerseys as winners of the Teams Classification.
During this time a number of options came up as we discussed the best road to recovery. Due to my team’s requirements and insurance policies it was decided I would return to France the following week and commence my “reeducation” under FDJ’s care.
The journey back would prove to be quite taxing though with the help of my team mate Wes and an airport pick up from Jussi I made it back to french soil, almost in one piece. It was not long though before I was back on a plane towards Paris for the Team Presentation which also proved to be quite an adventure as a snow storm blocked the roads causing us to go underground and take the Metro to downtown Paris. Presentation went a lot smoother and thankfully there was no haka for me this year!!
I did have one condition on returning to France….. And that was the help of my girlfriend (who happens to be an Occupational Therapist) who arrived the next day to help me begin my post-injury “reeducation” programme. Driving me to and from Doctors, upper limb specialists, and gym appointments while also looking after my two team mates (Jussi and Hutarovich) who were getting stuck into our originally planned training camp. For me though the wind trainer was about to become my new best friend. However as different Doctors had conflicting opinions about the diagnosis of my elbow I didn’t really know what I was dealing with. So an M.R.I scan was ordered which confirmed a compression fracture to the head of the radius. This is now what is holding me back from returning to the road.
For the past 10 days I have been riding my modified road bike on the Erg, visiting the gym, and power walking around the region’s stunning forests and canals. With the stitches out of my operation site and my cast reduced to a plastic splint things are definitely looking up, but there is still some time to pass before I will be back on the road.
Here some pic’s of the progress. p.s big up mum for the fruit cake, the boys were stoked.
It’s another clear sunny morning as I look out my hotel window in Adelaide, the body is refreshed and ready for another days action as the 2009 Tour Down Under winds up. My mind is on a sprint finish at Victor Harbor, though this day would turn my early season good form and fresh motivation on its head very quickly.
Well, I will go back to more detail of that day shortly but firstly I would like say welcome back to my race/life diary for 2009. This post may come as very overdue to some of you and yes it is, though I’m sure we will get back on terms in the near future. After a very refreshing off season last year, I began my preparation for the 09 season with a new motivation and confidence that 2009 would bring conclusions to unanswered questions and goals and open doors I have been looking for since my debut as a professional cyclist.
Training began in late November with some very relaxed rides around the rolling Waikato, though I was back to France in December for a two week team training camp in the small coastal town of La Turballe. Our time was mainly spent on the bike, though also plenty of meetings, time to size up new equipment, photos, and a little socialising with the fans.
It was nice to do a little training in the cold, but I welcomed my return home just before Christmas to spend a couple more weeks with family and friends before the season got underway and I was back on the road.
The National Road Championships returned to my home town of Te Awamutu after an 8 year hiatus. Previously nerves have often got to me racing in front of a home crowd, though going into and during the race I was very relaxed, motivated and confident in my ability I could perform well. Though it turned out to be a frustrating day, and from my point of view disappointing not to see the national jersey racing on the world stage in Europe in 2009.
Though before I had time to ponder what would have been, I was on the plane for the real season opener at the Tour Down Under. What a race and what show, they really know how to run a bike race. The ‘Lance’ factor really did elevate the race’s profile but the level of the peloton was just as high. The atmosphere was amazing, and the feeling within the bunch was the same, relaxed but ready to put on a great show. With 140, 000 people out to watch the opening criterium we all knew we were in for a great week of racing.
I was boosted a little in confidence after a top 10 in the bunch kick on stage one, though it was not to be as bad luck struck just two days later. I was victim of the strong winds which hounded the stage, but not your normal touch of wheels as a gust blows through the bunch, rather a branch flew off a tree and went straight through my back wheel at 70kph. It was like pulling on the hand break in the middle of the bunch, the noise was incredible and the carnage even more so.
Left with a collarbone in four pieces and a fractured elbow I walked away so disappointed that my good form and plan ahead could be knocked off the rails just like that. Immediate surgery that night, had my collarbone back in line but the elbow would prove to be more problematic…..