I've been out of my boot and able to walk for just over 2 weeks now. I'm feeling pretty good and whilst I still can't do a single leg calf raise I can feel the strength building. I rode a bike on a turbo trainer last week and I tested a Montesa Honda 4rt last Saturday, everything felt good so I've been out riding the specialized around the streets.
On Friday a Honda Montesa 4rt should arrive from Pidcock Honda so I can continue my rehab. It may seem a little early to ride given the nature of the injury, but I'd rather use it as a form of rehab and start carefully riding the easy route.
Well another week has started and I seem to have taken a few steps backwards. I ended up back at accident and emergency (A&E) yesterday due to the pain and the fact that my cast was hanging off. The leg looked bruised and swollen particularly around the ankle. I ended up getting my 4th cast fitted as I haven't had much look with them. My initial one was great and the synthetic variety (usually fiberglass impregnated with polyurethane). Ever since I've been fitted with traditional plaster of paris (calcined gypsum) and they just don't seem to give the same support. All of them have spread and become loose, even the new one that was fitted yesterday, is now sliding about on my lower leg.
Am looking forward to seeing the specialist tomorrow (3pm) as I'm keen to get a scan or ultrasound and check I didn't cause and further damage when I slipped over on Saturday. I'm also hoping that they at least give me a synthetic cast (if you have any opinions on colour leave me a comment, I'm swayed towards green at the moment). Even better than that would be an aircast fitted with some heel lifts. At least this way I could maintain the pressure (they have a pump system that allows you to increase and decrease pressure to keep cast snug), which I believe speeds up the healing process, and certainly gives more reassurance.
Found some pictures of myself on Fali Nogales Alcaid's facebook page from Witches Burn which bring back some happy memories of the earlier parts of the week. Witches is a favorite group for me and most other riders (some maybe aren't so keen) so the photos are defiantly worth a look if your a facebook member.
Day 8 of my recovery and despite today being a day that I would normally ride (my dad still went), which causes a great risk of me becoming downbeat, and in need of comfort from my wife Jen. I'm in a positive frame of mind and am focused on my recovery.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their messages of support, they mean a lot to me. From the observer who helped me from the section on Ben Nevis and the spectator who lent me her shoulder to help me move. The guy at Nevis Forest who kickstarted my bike and put my bag on my back. Tony and Geoff for not leaving me and literally babysitting me the final few miles (and ignoring the fact that I had as many tears as a teenage Justin Bieber fan). The staff at Fort William A&E for being super quick, especially the nurse who argued the case for giving me a below the knee cast. All the guys at Pidcock Montesa Honda for the fantastic bike and support (glad I made it to the end after all your hard work). My own GP for getting me into see my chosen specialist so quick, Mr McDermott for stitching me back together, the nursing staff for getting me through a rough night when my BP dropped dangerously low. Robert Yang and Dr Sakari Orava for the fantastic advice. Paul Chek and Ray Peat for all the nutritional research that will see me come back stronger. Jen for doing everything for me right now and putting up with me, my mum for not crying when she saw how bad I was, and finally, my dad for simply asking if I wanted to carry on or visit A&E. Only MY dad could know how truly broken I'd be to not finish such an important centenary edition of the greatest trial ever.
The operation was a success and you've all looked after me in some way. I'm eternally grateful, without you all I'd be at serious risk of not returning to compete in one of my favorite sporting events.
I'm feeling positive and now concentrating on getting back to full fitness over the coming months.
Well todays the day. Am at hospital at 10:30am to double check my paperwork and its planned for me to be sorted just after lunch. Hope he has a good metabolically typed meal and is fully alert.
Theirs two methods of surgery available, the percutaneous method which requires a few incisions. This enables the skin to remain relatively unbroken and as such less chance of infection (quicker skin healing). Their is potential for nerve damage due to restricted access/view.
Open surgery is what I expect to be used for me but I'm happy for my surgeon to use the method he feels is most appropriate. The larger incision allows him more room to work, this increases the risk of infection but does reduce the possibility of nerve damage. In my opinion it allows him the best chance of doing a good strong fix for me. (remember I'm hardly likely to give up my passion for activity).
The protocol I have planned (depending on the discussion I have with the specialist) is that following the tendon repair no weight bearing for ten days. Hopefully using an aircast boot walking can begin. I am worried that they will put me in a leg cast (if they do I'll have to "roll with the punches") which can lead to weakness and atrophy of muscle. A treatment pioneered by Dr. Myerson, recommends "a removable boot is worn and instead of using crutches, walking is commenced very rapidly after surgery. Therapy and exercises are begun soon after surgery. This therapy process is critical in the recovery after tendon rupture, and without a carefully monitored program, full recovery is never possible. This treatment has made a huge difference in the recovery process for both recreational and professional athletes."
The sooner I get working on it the better. (by working on it I don't mean weight training, I mean maintaining flexibility, trying to keep the muscles working, massage, walking, various therapies etc).
Had a good meeting with my GP yesterday and she got me booked into see the specialist today at 2pm.
A few days ago I went from being full weight bearing (FWB) with no problems to my current state of being non weight bearing (NWB). I have a long road to recovery and hopefully my blogging will assist others in their recovery in the future.
My main aim is to hopefully help you prevent it. Prevention is better than cure and I'm in a pretty miserable place right now so I'd urge you to avoid this at all costs.
As most of you know I'm fairy well skilled at rehab and am obsessed with nutrition. I also have asperger's and follow strict patterns and routines with my diet and lifestyle. The rupture is my own doing and given my time again I'd change the weeks prior to the injury. So, how did it occur.
So, there you go, a catalog of errors. I nursed a sore achilles through almost 3 weeks and just didn't quite do a good enough job on the last day. Before starting riding on Saturday I commented that my achilles felt ready to snap, I just didn't expect to be that accurate in my diagnosis.
Their were tears shed between the section I did it at (last one at Ben Nevis), and the finish. As anyone who has had a rupture knows, its not that painful. After the initial feeling of being shot it goes kind of warm. Mine did hurt a little as I continued to try and ride across Ben Nevis for a few miles one footed in a desperate attempt to reach the finish. I even wiped my tears and tried to ride the last section as I knew it would be my final time riding for a considerable amount of time. The tears though were more likely due to the realisation of what I'd done, how long my road to recovery is. I also felt massive disappointment in failing to stop it happening. I have asperger's and my passion is anatomy, physiology and biology (nutrition). Within seconds of it happening I knew what it was and had worked out a plan, the jigsaw of how it happened fell into place while I way being helped out of the section. When I see a client I can formulate a picture (I see things visually) of what caused their issue so I really had though it through while the watching spectators were still wondering what had happened to me. The guy helping me said I looked white with shock (remember I'm tanned from Hawaii) and it was more the shock of thinking "how could I let this happen".
I've had lots of nice messages from spectators, fellow riders and some health professionals. It kills me to know I won't be riding for a while but I'll be back observing and helping out from the other side of the fence as soon as I am partial weight bearing (PWB). Hopefully once I'm in a boot with my foot at 90 degs I'll be allowed to ride a bike round flat ground just to keep me happy. Other than that I aim to take some photos at trials which I enjoy but just never get the chance. Hopefully I'll be able to snap Donald Young with his foot down...
Once I'm past the surgery stage, I know I'm in the best hands in terms of rehabilitation...my own!!
Well thats it all over for another year. The big news is that 35 year old veteran Dougie Lampkin didn't start the final day after his crash on Thursday left him with severe ligament damage
Slightly less "big" news is that my achilles which has troubled me in recent weeks snapped this afternoon at the Ben Nevis group and caused me another succession of fives as I attempted to reach the finish unable to stand on one leg
Whilst riding the section I suddenly felt like I'd been shot in the back of my leg, followed by radiating heat. I instantly knew what had happened and stopped. Boyd got my bike out for me and the observer leant me his shoulder to hobble out of the section.
From this point it was a case of working out whether to ride off the moor or wait for assistance. As I was only 3 sections I decided to chance it and aim for the finish. Geoff and Tony babysat me across the moor and got me to the Nevis Forest where I took 2 fives. From there it was on the the road and off towards the final section, town hall brae, which rather daftly I tried (and failed). Next stop was A&E for some very speedy service and they confirmed my thoughts that it had snapped.
So, I have a plaster cast and a fair amount of time till I can ride again which will be frustrating as hell because I'm desperate to ride the Montesa again. A huge thank you to Lee, Mick, Chris and everyone else at Pidcock Montesa Honda, sorry I limped into the finish, but I'm glad I got the bike round as its been more than fun all week.
Final positions are available on ssdt.org but James Dabill won, Michael Brown second and Graham Jarvis third which is amazing for someone who gave up trials but came back to take on the factory sponsored riders. Commiserations to Wiggy, think the whole trials world feels for him after his chain came off and robbed him of the win.
Picture Credit ~ Donald Young Leanachan Section 1 on Monday. New bike, no scratches
A 79 mile blast round the peninsula yesterday, (road race day). Sections were harder than on every other day and a lot of marks were being lost by riders. I felt like I was riding about the best I have all week. Just before group I (i think) I sustained a wrist injury and re-damaged my left knee which led to a succession of 5's. So I limped home with a succession of fives which saw my score rocket from 33 up to 93 for the day.
Have never been so glad to return to the apartment and both relax and work on my injuries. Am walking a little better today but am not sure how long it will hold. Going down soon to see if I can hold the bars. Also have a little repair work to do post crash.
Picture credit ~ Donald Young. Taken at Trotters Burn
Little late posting about day four. Yesterday was my late day, I started at 11:16 and we managed to overcome a few little setbacks to race round all day and make it in just inside the time limit. So, I wasn't back here till 8pm and food and a bath took priority over blog updates.
The day started with the huge road ride out to Chairlift in very wet conditions. I saw from photos that the early numbers had a nice dry start to their day. By the time we arrived the sections were covered in mud.
We then continued to Ba House and then back on the road for a short blast to the start of Rannock Moor. From this part we become very isolated from all the support vehicles. For me with its always a nervous part of the week that I'm always happy to make it through. I know my Dad isn't keen on not knowing how I am and I'm sure its the same for every-bodies families.
Everybody breathes a sigh of releif when their rider arrives from the final group at Fersit. Dougie fived the penultimate section at Fersit yesterday and sustained ankle ligament damage (prob atfl). The results show that I cleaned it so it would be nice to see what caught out the multi world champion.
Picture by Jamie Hail
99 miles (i think) today with a lot of good moor crossings. Been up to Fort Augustus, Tomchrasky, Ceannacroc and then back through the Glengarry Forest with the final section at the infamous witches burn. Another warm day, especially out on the moors.
Bike went well again and absolutly flew up some of the waterfalls and has provided lots of smiles across the moor crossings.
Picture by James Hail
Great day out in the sun today in tropical conditions. Started around 9ish and set of for the first group. First section went well after some words of wisdom from Boyd Webster who has rode Montesa for a fair while. He told me to leave the clutch alone and he was right. Had a soft five at the second section when I mistimed a step and failed to get up it. Mind you better riders than me failed it so I'm not too upset.
Overtook my old schoolboy hero at one point (Eddy Lejeune) although I shouldn't of actually overtook him because he's supposed to be behind me. Turns out the Lejeune family missed a group of sections.
Felt a little tired after the lunch break, a combination of jet-lag and having to eat my lunch in 15 minutes!!! Bike rode well and I can report back that they are as much fun to ride as people have always told me. Was funny watching my riding companion Tony working his bike through the gearbox and using a lot of clutch to keep the bike going forward whilst I simply rode off the throttle. I remember the "never quite in the right gear" feeling very well. All is good at Team Pidcock with Jarvis sitting comfortably on 1 mark which is good seeing as he was number 33 today. Now he's got his early day out of the way he should settle in nicely.
Had a bath and am ready for bed now, day 2 coming up tomorrow.
Sunday 1st May 2011, day before the trial kicks off. Still an important day as everyone signs on, has their bike scrutinized and takes part in the parade through Fort William high street. Lot more people there watching this year which is either due to the 100 year anniversary or the tropical weather.
Lots of famous riders today, from Dougie and Jarvis through to the younger riders Challoner and Wigg. Theirs even a few famous faces (and voices) from the world of downhill MTB as Steve Peat and Rob Warner start the trial.
Fairly early start for me tomorrow with the first man away at 7:30 and me leaving 96 minutes later, hopefully in the same sunshine we've had today.
As usual its a long long journey to Fort William from Derby, but its one thats well worth it. This year the travel has been a little longer as I've headed here from Oahu, Hawaii via San Francisco. Even with the jet-lag that I have its an epic trip with beautiful scenery (well the end bit anyway).
I first came up in 1978 at the age of 2, my dad rather rudely came alone in 1977 and so I had to wait a further year to get the SSDT bug. It quickly became our annual family holiday and the electric atmosphere grabbed me early on as I fondly remember watching my heros such as Eddy Lejeune (he's riding just in front of me this year) and Steve Saunders (looks like he's won the Pre-65). From the famous sections to famous and familiar faces it really is trials heaven and shouldn't be missed by anyone connected with the sport.
This year is my first year on a 4 stroke Pidcock Montesa Honda and I'm very hyped up and ready to ride it. Theirs a brand new Repsol edition sat here waiting for the action to start and I'm looking forward to letting it loose in the sections and across the moors. Just picked up my Pidcock team jacket for the trial so I'm about ready to go.
On Saturday I spent the afternoon with Pidcock Motorcycles and Stu Day for a test ride on a Montesa Honda 4rt. I've been a confirmed Gas Gas rider since 2003 and before that was on Beta for a fair few years, I think I was about 9 the last time I rode a Honda. When I had my Honda TLM50 I got given a HRC sticker which I decided to save for my next bike...I'm 35 now and have never had the chance to actually put it on a bike.
After many years on 2 stroke power I never considered riding a 4 stroke. My dream bike all those years ago was an RTL 250 in Rothmans colors and theirs no doubt about it, a Repsol Montesa Honda 4rt is the modern day equivalent. So when we arrived at the test day to be greeted by a massive line up of both 4rt Racing and Repsol models, I made sure I stood close to a Repsol ready for the start of the test day.
The bike fired into life like clockwork, as it did all day and instantly the sound (or bark) of the engine put a few grins on the faces of the test riders. Their was a wide range of abilities at the test day, from capable riders, right through to a guy who'd never been off road. The day was arranged alongside the Mick Extance Off Road school under the guidance of Stu Day which meant everybody's skill level was catered for. Everyone managed to get a good 2 hours (yes 2 full hours) trying the bikes out and a number of staff (including Chris Pidcock himself) were on hand to make sure everybody got the assistance/information they needed.
Considering I had an S3 Championship round the next day, I should of been taking it steady and conserving my energy. However, I've never had so much fun on a bike and didn't want to waste a minute. Hence, my gloveless hands came away sore and blistered (will toughen me up for the SSDT in May). If you've not tried a 4rt I'd suggest you do, rather than forming an opinion based upon that of others give yourself a good go on one and remember that your learning to adapt to a new technique. Once you crack how to ride one, its a rewarding and often easier experience. One thing is guarenteed though, the noise will keep you riding much longer than you originally intended.
The bike I rode (Repsol 4rt) wasn't set up for me as it was a test day bike. However, even with out any personal adjustments the bike was comfortable and gave a sense of real quality. The bike is wider than my current GG but it feels right and just added to the stable feeling. The other thing that felt obvious (well it did to me) was that the mass of the bike felt very low down which obviously aides balance.
We started the test by having a guided tour of the land from Stu and the initial play area was an area of hard standing with various logs, see-saws, concrete blocks and a limbo bar which Stu kept lowering every-time someone went through without dislodging the beam. A log acting as a balance beam allowed us to see quite how stable the 4rt was across it. Straight away it became clear that the Montesa suspension is absolutely sublime. It seems to have no compromises and simply does what you require. It amazed me time and time again as the bike stuck like a leach to various rocks and obstacles and not once did it bounce around and loose grip.
From here we moved on to a mini MX track and a got a little chance to unleash the power of the 4rt. On a muddy track the engine never felt under stress. Once again the suspension soaked it all up, even the tabletop :-)
From here we followed Stu up towards the first real section we had planned. On the far side of a lake Stu had set out a stream section. For those a little more ambitious their was a turn out the stream up a steep bank and up a cambered climb covered in muddy roots. Its exactly the sort of section I dread as I'm usually far to clinical and want to be inch perfect before firing a bike up such as climb. I have great admiration for those 1970-80's riders that stick their tounges out and cling on at ridiculous angles as the bike climbs up. I grew up with a biketrials background, and wanted to ride like Tarres, If needed I ride like that but never feel happy or overly confident. Modern bikes probably aren't built with that in mind either. I got the shock of my life when it all seemed so easy as I shot up in 3rd gear. Once again the stability of the bike helped it track just right whilst the power just fired the bike up. I'd love to take claim for using my skills but I'm pretty sure it was the bike.
We moved on to some rocks and after a £5 bet with my friend Marcus (who thought I'd bottle it or fail) I tried a carrying the front wheel over a rock and tapping it on the the next step. The torque of the engine meant it was easy to control and Marcus now owes me £15 for my 3 attempts. Riding it on rocks felt good and was the area I was most interested in testing. I've often felt out of control in the SSDT (those who've seen me would no doubt agree, especially if they've had to pick me up). I've often wondered if the 4rt would prove more controllable across such sections and it did. Where as I often just have to rush rock piles on a 2 stroke I felt more able to ride. In part I'm sure this is also due to the suspension yet again. I've often described my Scottish riding as 'pinball' as my back wheel skips and bounces around, so I really appreciated the back end.
The final section of the day was a SSDT style section up a long long stream which ended with some pretty steep bits. The bike didn't seem to pull away or strain your arms but felt very strong with power instantly on tap. By this time our 2 hours were up and begrudgingly we headed back down to hand the bikes back. Given the chance I'd of kept it for the next day. Would of been handy with all those graded hill climbs at the Colmore.
To conclude, an excellent test day. Well organized with ample opportunity to get a real feel for the bike. It seems those that have a 4rt wouldn't trade them for anything and are full of praise. Those that haven't tried a 4rt should really give one a go and form their own opinion. Give Pidcock Motorcycles a ring http://www.pidcock.com/montesa/pages/montesa/home.htmweeblylink_new_window
Or if you fancy experiencing the Mick Extance Off Road School with Stu contact them via http://mickextanceoffroad.com/weeblylink_new_window
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