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)


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


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 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


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


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 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.


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!


The un-written rules of 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?

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.