I thought I was making good progress doing the stretching exercises and light cycling (20 miles per day with no intensity) I had been restricted to by the specialist - to help recover from the knee injury I sustained during the ride. However, unfortunately things flared up after approx 6 weeks and I have now been advised to fully rest for the next 3-4 weeks and not do any cycling during this time to break the pain cycle. I'm very frustrated by this, as I was really getting into my cycling and had plans to start doing some more competitive organised long distance road races plus some other challenges I had in mind.
I'm pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoy cycling now I am into it - and that makes it all the more difficult to have to stop, be it for only a relatively short while. Watching the Olympics has got me even more enthusiastic and it is just incredible just how well British cycling has come on in recent years - not only do we win TDF but we also do so well at Track cycling. This has made me itch even more to want to get out on the road.
I do have some good news through - the dive appears to have bottomed out and it looks like I may be starting to pull out. The MRI showed no sign of any knee structural problem, but has illustrated a typical cycling overuse injury, probably caused by the large ramp up in activity from doing recommended 70-80 mile weekend rides during the training guide, to actually averaging this distance daily for 12 days.
The knee MRI shows (avoiding the technical terms) inflammation around the front knee cap tendon and some fluid build up around back of the knee. I am advised the knee will get better with physiotherapy and stretching exercises along with an active rehabilitation exercise plan (i.e. a gradual build up of cycling activity).
So hooray I can get back on the bike, but only for 5 miles initially and then a gradual build up from there. I've been advised I should be able to get back to normal fitness by the end of September if everything goes well, which for me nowadays is approx 140-160 miles per week.
So it's a start and I am optimistic. It it will be great to able to get back from having been on a ride and not feel like someone has been rubbing the back of your leg with sandpaper. I am determined to get better and hopefully stronger than before and really see if I can compete reasonable well in a road race. The only thing is, I have missed a lot of the season now, so guess 2016 is pretty much written off racing wise. I was really hoping I could utilise the fitness built up training for and completing LEJOG and translate it into seeing what I may be capable of in a road race. However, before I get anywhere near a road race, I also need to loose the 6 additional kilograms I have put on due not being able to burn calories doing cycling of any meaningful intensity augmented by going on holiday, which never helps balance the calorie books.
Anyway, this is new adventure and challenge I suppose - to see if I can return to full fitness and I am determined to pull it off. I guess in a very small way I am getting a taster of what it might be like to be an injured athlete trying to return to fitness - but at least I am not doing this for a living. We hear many times professional sportsmen and women returning from injury, but it must be quite a long dark and emotional road for them and for many of us it just appears as 'oh they are back', not realising how tough it may have been.
I'll leave with this graph which illustrates what falling of the rails looks like - the green bar is the official start of the LEJOG training, the red bars are during LEJOG, Week 76 illustrates no riding therefore zero miles. Hopefully I can start building this chart back up. Let's see.
Well let you know how it goes perhaps in a month or so.