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Turning Wounds Into Scars

If you’ve been checking my site and wondering why in the world I haven’t updated since January, hopefully a quick Google search answered those questions for you…. I have managed a couple of Velonews journals (see the link at the top of the page to find those), but haven’t done much writing. While in the hospital, I was all over twitter, entertaining myself as much as my followers to make the time pass more quickly, but after being discharged I went a bit quiet. I was entirely consumed with the recovery and training process, working harder than ever before just to get back to where I had been, and any spare time was spent with Kate and Shane, making the most of their time here. Shane wrote a fantastic blog about his time as my personal assistant and chef, and I mirror every sentiment he shares here: Blessed By Accident

As time goes by, I’m continually amazed at the reach of the crash and how many people it has affected. Friends and family of course, but I’ve heard from fellow racers how upset they were to hear of the crash. We want to believe that things like that don’t happen to us–professionals–but our world can be rocked when that false belief is unseated.

I got a haircut two days before the crash, and it had grown to be quite shaggy over the past 2.5 months. I had been really happy with the cut from the time I walked out of the salon (a rarity), so I definitely wanted Miriam to work her magic again. I’ve grown a bit weary of explaining to strangers how I came to have these crazy scars on my face and neck, and was putting off the haircut for a while because I was going to have to have this conversation in Spanish. I was relieved when I walked through the door, though, and she immediately recognized me and came up and gave me a big hug. She was so glad to see that I was alright, and had been worried about me. As it turns out, she recognized me (and her work) in the newspaper after the crash. I was flattered that she had been so concerned about me after a single 30 minute conversation in broken Spanish, but some people have big hearts.

That made me realize that there may be more of you around the world, craving updates that haven’t been coming. Well I’m here to tell you that I’m almost back to normal. My legs are back to the fitness they had before the crash, even though my right knee is still lacking some range of motion. My neck is back to full strength and doesn’t bother me at all, which is pretty obvious to anybody who has been following me on Strava. The last remaining issues are my shoulders…my left rotator complains anytime I try to get into my jersey pockets, and compensating for the whiplash resulted in some wild muscle imbalances on the right side, to the point that it takes effort to lift my hand and change position on the handlebars. Thankfully the team doctor and physios have laid out some exercises for me to get the correct muscles working again. I’m already seeing progress, which I expected…I mean, how strong do those muscles actually need to be if they’re fine on the left side, which also has no muscle?

I’ve got a few other nuisances that linger from the crash, including partial numbness of my right temple, some of my teeth, and my right nostril (which results in that side being blocked up most of the time). The scar tissue is slowly breaking down, but there is a lot of it and will take some time.

After much preparation, my season finally started with Criterium International and Scheldeprijs, and now I’m in The Netherlands to get into the real meat of the season. First up is Amstel Gold Race, which will be my first time. At nearly 260km, my recent 7-hour training rides will hopefully pay off!

I also had a bit of fun with haikus, click on over to The Peloton Brief to read them! There are also a couple of videos of me playing the piano if you haven’t already seen those.

Here are some pictures of how the last couple months have gone:

Kate got to spend a regularly-scheduled 3 weeks in Girona
Chef Shane and his beardless brother
Putting in the miles
Back in a sprintsuit, the way things should be