A humbling experience

In the old days, pre-shoulder, I could descend with the best. I would just throw the bike downhill and ride the knife edge that is control. The faster you go the sharper the blade. It’s amazing that the brain can control two brakes with fingertip accuracy while positioning the body for perfect balance, while reading and predicting what’s coming next racing down a hillside over rock, roots, grass, and dirt. Not to mention sorting out where other riders are so as not to hit them. You really are just there in the moment, there is nothing else, and nothing else quite like it.Things are a little different now, try as I might, pain and stiffness stop me from approaching adequate. It is a very humbling experience to be among the slowest going downhill. Riders coming from behind calling me to move over because I am holding them up. Then when I cruise past them on the uphill they try hard to hold me off so that I won’t hold them up on the next downhill.

I rode the Merida 100 at Builth Well last weekend, and part way down one descent I moved over to allow a couple of faster riders through. They flew past me and were gone in seconds. I cursed as I battled with the terrain, so frustrated, then as I came around the corner, there they were, stacked on top of each other in a big rut, but unhurt and laughing! Lucky lads.

I took over 5hrs to complete the course, and was the third vet home just 4 minutes down. If only I hadn’t made the daft mistake of riding my hardtail. Ah well, I’ll know next time.

2 thoughts on “A humbling experience

  1. Hi,
    I met with similar incident 3 months back. How is your shoulder now? Does it become as it was earlier? Do u removed screws inside?? Please let me know. As my situation is as lke you only.

  2. Hi Harshad,
    Sorry ’bout your shoulder, but happy to hear from you.
    First, you’re shoulder is still only three months old. That’s pretty early, and with a
    bit of luck, and hard work you can expect to see improvements for up to 18 months. I know
    I did.

    THE BAD – Mine was quite bad, and the surgeon warned me at the time that it would never
    be the same again. Part of the problem for me is that the head of the humerous has partly
    died leaving no articular surface. I have very little movement in my shoulder. I can just
    about raise my arm high enough to scratch the top of my head, I cannot get my hand into
    the rear pocket of my cycling jersey. It often aches.

    THE GOOD – People commented on how well I took it! Thing is, you have no choice, and I
    was determined to make the best of things. So, three years down the line I’m back to
    racing my bike (which I love), and even winning the odd event. In some ways breaking my
    shoulder so badly was the best thing that ever happened to me!!! It forced me to take a
    look at things/my life from a different perspective, I learned a lot, and I reckon I’m
    better for it.

    Keep working hard on yours. I guarantee that sometime in the near future you’ll suddenly
    realise that you hadn’t thought about it all day.

    I hope this helps, and wish you well,

    PS: Metalwork stayed in place. No problem.

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