Dealing with injuries in 10 simple steps (with pictures!)

Injuries are inevitable in sports. Some are easier to bounce back from than others. Not even two weeks after being on could nine from winning Nationals did I face my first big injury of the season. I was racing in a co-ed madison out in Rochester Hills, Michigan when several riders in front of me collided. I was sitting 3rd wheel and T’d into the rider in front of me which sent me flying off the bike. When I was younger I took tumbling classes and I think they’ve paid off. I somersaulted and then flipped onto my back which caused the side tabs of my vertebrae to fracture.

Hospital Bill

(Here’s what paying my hospital bill is going to look like)

Having a broken back sounds much more dramatic than it is (or at least in my case) but trying to convince my mom of this over the phone was not so easy. I bruised my kidney’s and had punctured the lower sacks of my lungs as well. My treatment options were as followed: take time off and take it easy, that’s it. There were no other options. As most endurance athletes know, being told to not do anything is almost as harsh as having to work for the first summer post college graduation.

So here are my guidelines for dealing with an injury:

Step 1: Grieving

Cycling Injuries

Coping with your injury: your friends will tell you to stay strong and to stay positive, but they will also take cruel photos of you while you’re in the hospital so what do they know…

Step 2: Deal with your FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

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That’s right, your friends are going to keep training and racing without you. Those bas#%^$%& . All of a sudden that lame race ride you’ve avoided now seems like the coolest event that you desperately wish you could attend….You’ll be fine

Step 3: Catching up on calories

crazyrunninggirl.budytheelf5

While your friends are out getting fast you’re in fear of getting fat….You’ll be fine.

Step 4: You’re never going to be fast again!

Slow Mo

(Slowmo is cool with it, you should be too)

No, that’s not true but that thought will cross your mind an awful lot…. You’ll be fine.

Step 5: Trying to workout despite your injury

marc pro

Don’t- I know you’re thinking about trying to anyway but it usually leads to muscle compensation and more severe injuries down the road. Ya, you probably won’t be fine if you do this.

Step 6: Coming to terms and then going over board.

binge-watching-netflix

Binge watching on Netflix! This is honestly the best part of any injury and in true American fashion I say, ‘go big or go home’. I highly recommend House of Cards and Scandal.You’re welcome.

Step 7: Re-Set Goals

funny-my-life-goal-kid-swing-pics

It’s hard to admit that you may lose some of your fitness during your injury but resetting goals is a good way to keep your motivation while still being realistic with your injury…You’ll be fine.

Step 8: De-active your Strava Notifications

Strava

Unless you want to get a bunch of emails about how everyone is out stealing your KOMs and how you’ll be getting a bunch of PWs (Personal Worsts). This also takes us back to Step 2, your friends are jerks.

Step 9: Be grateful for technology!

Marc Pro machine

For me the biggest issue with my back was all the muscle spasms. The Marc Pro machine was a great tool for rehabbing my injury. It allowed the muscles to contract and loosen up without putting any strain on the injury.

Rocktape

Rocktape was also a contributor in my road to recovery. It helped expedite the bruising and stabilize the area when I resumed training.

Set 10: The Silver Lining: Trying new things.

Cycling

Since we know you don’t have any hobbies outside of cycling.

*Huge thank you to Erika Fulk who took such good care of me during my injury and Brian Adams, an amazing PT out in Michigan that helped me create a rehab plan to get me back on the bike. Thank you Adams Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy!

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USA Cycling Track Camp 2013

1282 days until Rio but who’s counting? Every single girl here, that’s who. I was invited to USA Cycling’s Team Pursuit Camp. Hot off their Silver medal in the Team Pursuit, USA Cycling is starting their development of riders for the 2016 Olympics by hosting a ‘Talent Identification Camp’. This was step 1 of (insert endless number here).

The camp was 10 days in total, nine days on the track and one road ride to break things up half way through.

After seeing the invite list I decided I would spend the first half of day one at camp collecting autographs. Lauren Tamayo, Evelyn Stevens, Kristen McGrath, Carmen Small…oh my!

 “Practice in training the way you want to compete” -Ben Sharp

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You may have heard the quote:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

This quote can be the best or the worst news ever, knowing that excellence can be achieved but only though our consistent practice of it. The team pursuit is a truly tactical disciple. Like anything you can’t go out there on race day and expect anything other than what you’ve put into your training. Therefore we must practice excellence, or at least try to come close to it. (That is until you see our standing starts, they are nowhere near excellent).

A lot of our workouts consisted of group efforts, target paces, and goal lap splits. It’s about consistency, and dialing the fundamentals until they become second nature.

Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect (say that 10 times fast).

Sport Science

Cycling is a nerdy sport, let’s face it most endurance sports are.  I tried cheerleading in my youth: too much football,  not enough math.

Team Pursuit Equation                                                        Now we’re talking!
It really is pretty amazing delving into the science aspect of sports. Luckily we had Neal Henderson on deck to help us understand power meter files and data analysis of the team pursuit.

“Getting Comfortable with being uncomfortable”

This is something that Ben said to us on day one of camp. It truly summed up our experience at camp. It’s easy to focus on the aspects of cycling your good at, but it’s better to challenge yourself and focus on the things that you need improvement on.
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Check out those wheels! Thanks Fast Forward for making the bikes look good!

“Do one thing that scares you daily”.

Go outside of your element, practice the things you hate, or your weaknesses. Do as Ben says, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Ready. Pounce. Hug the barrel. Push Pull. Breathe.

Standing Starts:
What we think we look like:
Chris Hoy Standing StartWhat we really look like:falling_from_bike
Artistic Cycling

They say the average attention span lasts for 45 minutes. Luckily that applies to athletes and coaches. Our two hour meeting on power analysis and other sport science info soon transitioned into YouTube videos and google searches on ‘Artistic cycling’ (I’ll give you a minute to go Google it yourself).

Artistic cyclingIn unanimous decision our favorite was what we deemed the ‘two man titanic’.

Favorite Quotes from Camp:

1.) “ Winning is just so much better” -Evelyn Stevens after watching the Olympic Team Pursuit Round of Australia vs USA  (USA won in an amazing comeback)

2.) “It never gets easier, you just get faster” – Greg Lemond

3.) “The (individual) pursuit is really something where you have to figure out yourself how you’re going to ride it. Everyone rides it differently because it sucks so much and it’s so hard. It’s sort of like stabbing yourself in the legs and you have to figure out what the best way to stab yourself is. People can’t tell you how to do that because it’s stabbing yourself and it sucks. You know, it’s painful — you’re stabbing yourself in the legs.” – Taylor Phinney

Some of my favorite moments from Camp:

1.) Watching Evelyn Stevens slay herself in the ‘Hunger Games Championship’ aka Australian Pursuit. Lauren Tamayo went on to win and is the current ‘Hunger Games Champion’ congratulate her the next time you see her.

1.b.) During the race the girls who didn’t make the finals placed bets on their favorite riders. Ally Stacher, sweet as can be, makes one mean bookie.

2.) Spending 10 days doing nothing but playing bikes- seriously this is the dream!

3.) Watching Beth Newell crack what she thought was a hard boiled egg all over Amanda’s window, only to find out she was wrong.

4.) Shelby and Jen aka the Apron Crew. These two are hilarious and can teach you a thing or two about the track.
603329_4198861620415_1868622359_n5.) Viggo and Josh- the sweet, funny, helpful duo of team mechanic and soigneur. These two helped us all out so much and have some pretty good stories about the cycling world.

6.) Getting to share the experience with my H.W.T.P.P teammates aka Quads and Dots

7.) Getting to meet the amazing women who make up the pro peloton. At a time when cycling seems to be at it’s worst and the perception of professionals make the sport seem questionable it’s great to meet so many grounded, and hard working individuals.These women aren’t into bike racing for the money, and they don’t seek to win at all costs. Nothing’s better than finding out your bike heroes are just as inspiring off the bike as they are on.

553122_585336821482218_1507147893_nThank you to the Hellyer program, Fluid, Nuun,  and Fast Forward wheels for all your support!

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The un-written rules of Strava

Strava
“Strava makes fitness a social experience, providing motivation and camaraderie even if you’re exercising alone.” -their company website

What that really means:
A website which allows you to stalk your competition and friends, rub your long rides in your friends faces, and give “Kudos” to every ride that you wish you were on. I love Strava! After every ride you can guarantee I’m uploading my workout onto the website instead of stretching. I think Strava is a great way to keep track of your mileage and see improvements in your training. However, there are some who take Strava too far. I remember reading an article about a guy who was riding up a single track when a another rider came barreling down yelling “Strrraaaavvvvvaaaa!” As if all understood that this means he’s going for a ‘segment’ and to get the hell out of his way. You sir are the type that I’m talking about…

Here are the un-written rules of Strava:

Do write a title for your ride: Reading dates on rides is boring. Strava has a commercial on how writing a title can be a recap of your ride.
Strava commercial
Don’t go overboard with your title:

Sure, it’s ok to write fun titles to describe your ride. However, don’t come up with poems, things that rhyme, or an inside joke with yourself that you had on your ride.

Case in point:
strava name example

Really? A “Stravings acoount”??? You’re better than this…

Don’t flag people or report rides:  You know who you are.
Typical scenario:  You did a route that you know you just crushed, you plug in your Garmin and upload to Strava only to find out you’re sitting in 3rd overall. Not only are you third but you’re behind the leader by two minutes. You think to yourself there’s no way in hell they did that on their own. You check their heart rate: only 102?!? oh that’s total b.s….Flag em!!

No…don’t.Believe it or not there are people faster than you. So get over it and get back on your bike. Sure they give you the option but it doesn’t mean that you should do it. Plus there’s got to be ‘Flagging Karma’ or something.

Do create segments:  Segments are awesome. I remember when I first got into riding, some old random guy started telling me about his fastest time up Old La Honda and what Lance used to ride it in back in the day. (oh-sorry. Are we not allowed to mention his name anymore?) Now everyone can see what the fastest time up Old La Honda is.

Create a segment, make it a friendly competition, and have fun riding.

Don’t create a segment to your car, or stop sign to stop sign, or create 30 segments on your favorite 15 mile ride.

Segments are getting ridiculous, I went on a 20 mile ride and saw over 32 segments, how is that even possible. Water fountain sprint…really?

Strava-stalking:
Pro friendsIf you’re giving kudos or following people you don’t know then you’re guilty of Strava-stalking.

But there are some who take it to the next level. They give kudos on every ride you’ve ever been on. They know what neighborhood you live in. They know how many hours their friends ride each week. Look I go on some boring rides sometimes, I know that crap doesn’t deserve kudos so why are you doing it?

If it isn’t on Strava it didn’t happen:

garmin troubleFact: 63% of riders won’t ride without their garmin or Strava app.
Fact: if you say fact before something people believe it to be true.

Don’t call Strava because you think you got a KOM but their server must have crashed mid sprint and is placing you in 8th. I remember going on a ride with a guy and he was convinced that he got the KOM, he uploaded his ride at a friends house and was pissed that it wasn’t showing up as a KOM but a PR. Uhhh, it’s not a Strava error it’s that you’re slow.

I’m sure there are many more offenses I’m not listing but the point is, don’t be “that guy” or “that girl” and don’t break the rules.