A couple of Fridays ago I was given some good news. As you might remember from when I was ready for the struggle, I was hoping to get news that I would “be able to start rehab. But really, to be able to jump back on my bike, if only indoors.” I was really hoping to get back on the road but I knew that was a long shot. But in terms of my pelvis fracture, it was healing well.
The news I did get was in fact what I was hoping for. I am allowed to jump on the indoor trainer and start rehab. Guess what I did. I jumped on the indoor trainer that night, and called about physio rehab later in the week. I have another appointment in about 4 weeks’ time, and I’m hoping that’ll be the all clear.
First, the trainer. This, to most people, is quite a boring thing to do. It was for me back when I first got the damn thing. Sitting there looking at your power output, heart rate and trying to keep it within a small window. For an hour or so. Boring, get be outside. This time I am loving it. I signed up for a bit of software called Zwift. It’s kind of like an indoor simulation of riding a bike.
They have 3 courses / areas. First came Watopia. A virtual island, situated in the Pacific Ocean on the islands of Te Anu and Naunonga. Part of the Solomon Islands archipelago. Zwift have built a great course with many features to choose from. A flat course, some hills and also a mountain. The software works out your power to weight ratio and predicts how fast you’d go up a gradient. It also uses your wattage to guess how fast you'd go on a flat. Added into that, is the ability to draft. Very clever stuff. Anyway, I am using Zwift along with some customised workouts to build up my strength. It’s a great time to focus on my base training—riding between 60-75% of my max heartrate. The other courses are the Richmond Wold Championship course and a London route. You even get to climb the infamous Box Hill, used in the Olympic road race.
I also attempted my first race on Zwift. Now that’s an experience and a half, which I’ll write up later. I ended up using it more as an FTP test than a race, and didn’t complete it. I'm not ready for racing! I'm too competitive and now is not the time to push myself beyond my limit.
Now for the rehabilitation. So, I started my rehab last Saturday. I began by explaining everything from the crash to the pain I am having. Which is just to left of the base of my spine after walking a lot. He also wanted to know my goals for the season. He was very keen to get an idea of what I wanted to achieve from cycling. It made me actually think competing was possible this year.
I was then made to do some squats, one-legged squats, walk up and down the halls, and other things. The physio made his diagnosis. I have weak left pelvic muscles, which was causing my spine to rotate and rub against my pelvis or something. That's what causes the back pain, not the injury itself. He gave me some exercises to do to strengthen those muscles. He also said that I could ride a bike indoors for about 1-2 hours a day without causing any damage. I will also be taking up pilates, ran by the physiotherapy clinic, to strengthen my core. Sit-ups are apparently not very good for the core. Or at least not as good as we think.