I’ve had plenty of people asking me questions lately. Here are my answers:
[Note: You can tell all the old links on the right of screen need updating, but, well, nah, can't be bothered]
Friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, Asian travel advocates and fine food purveyors. It is with great regret that I have to announce that I ain’t gonna be racing no more.
My knee is f^^ked. Knees are rather important to cycling. My right knee is f^^ked.
What, but how?
Last April I crashed and broke my neck of femur and collarbone. Bad.
|I was not enthused|
I was swiftly operated on and my bones healed tremendously well. Good.
|Never give up|
But when I started training -initially just rehab and soon after proper riding- my knee (on the RHS, same side as hip and collarbone) proved to be very sore and swollen. Bad.
I had an MRI, it said everything was fine. Good.
But the problems persisted and I ended up getting an operation. Bad.
The operation was also used to clean up some junk in my ankle, from another crash back in china, that had been bothering me for a few years. Very good.
|The outer side of my right ankle|
The surgeon revealed I had torn the fat pad, and my knee was full of blood. Bad.
But he had fixed it, I could start easy spinning again the day after the operation, full training could recommence in a few weeks. Good. Really good!
But the fat pad remained swollen and sore, a classic case of Hoffa’s syndrome. Bad. So very, very bad.
All I want for Christmas
All I wanted for Christmas was my two front knees. But all I got was another MRI. The MRI led me from to the specialist, to the surgeon and back to the specialist. He led me to an endocrinologist, and that led me to the chemist.
|I would love a bit of Mt Wellington right now|
I had lots of bad stuff happening behind my knee cap, something wrong with the bone. Now that is bad.
My osteoclasts -that normally get rid of old bone- had gone bezerk on my osteoblasts -that normally create new bone- and thus the disabling pain in my knee was explained. It had been going since last April.
A physiological condition that was eating my knee cap. Hmmm, that’s bad.
But from the chemist came some special drugs [WADA approved, believe me I checked], supposed to do the trick. The pain would be gone in two days as proclaimed by the endocrinologist. Good.
I’m here writing, though, because the knee remains rooted. So it’s time to be realistic. Sometimes shit just ain’t gonna go.
|There's been a bit of this|
|And a bit of this|
What does it all mean?
Don’t for one second think this is a bad thing. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been given a ridiculous amount of support throughout my career, initially by BikeNow, then the VIS and for a long time now by Avanti.
|Aerodynamics has never been my strong point|
Most recently Andrew Christie-Johnston and Steve Price have looked after me whilst I attempted to sort my shit out. And the support they’ve shown obviously sends a message to me, but more so it tells the other guys on the Avanti team that they’re in safe hands. Just do your job, don’t worry about the rest.
|Donna Buang in the snow, a rite of passage|
I’ve also got a medical team behind me to rival any professional sports team now, and I’ll thank them in person, because they require a blog post of their own, each. And my parents who’ve put up with me as I punish my body from pillar to post, thanks. I'm a lucky prick. I know that.
|SunTour with the national team|
But what’s the point?
The point is this: I’ve literally pushed my body to the edge. Broken more bones than I’ve had hot meals, but loved every minute of it. The sport has given me new friends, taken me to new places and christ almighty, it’s a bit of a cliché, but I would not have it any other way. People do crazy shit just to ride a bike, and I like to think I'm one of them. I will continue to do crazy shit to ride my bike, but I can't expect ongoing support from a team I'm giving nothing to. Time for journalistic endeavours.
|Lovin' the Marco Polo days|
Once I sort my knee, I’ll be back cruising around, maybe doing the odd club race. Or maybe I'll enjoy the lazy bunch rides I eschewed whilst being uptight and addicted to my powermeter.
|An old favourite, Metro Road champs back in the day|
Shit, maybe I’ll have another red-hot crack in a few years’ time. But for the time being, I can't even walk up a step and I would really like to be able to walk up a step. To even think about racing when you haven't been able to load your knee for nearly a year?
|Junior reppin' back in the day|
Nah man. Get real. It’s over and out.
|I'll always love the Northern Combine races|
|Let me eat cake|
It's been fun.