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The Long Road Back - Part 1

"You'll be back on the bike in one month. At the very worst three months". As my surgeon spoke those words I could feel myself relax a little. Only a few weeks off the bike then I thought. Back just in time for the Tour. To watch that is.

Five and a half years later the longest I have been on a bike since my surgeon spoke those words is probably a half an hour. Once.

You see, my knee didn't get better. In fact post surgery it got worse. A lot worse and nobody could really tell me why.

Let's rewind

In November of 2010, I was a member of the military on patrol in Afghanistan. Trying to walk around that place was challenging enough without the 40 - 50 kg of battle kit we had to cart around on our bodies everywhere we went. It was mission essential kit so we dealt with it best we could,

The weight made everything difficult. Especially climbing up and down the tressels that the locals used for their farming purposes.

Long story short. One day I had a fall, hurt my knee. Rubbed some spit on it and got on with it.

For the next 6 months of my tour, it got worse and worse to the point I couldn't really straighten my leg out properly anymore.

Back home

On return to Australia, I was a mess physically, The months of patrolling under that heavy weight really took its toll and it took me some weeks to recover enough physically before I felt I wanted to get back on the bike. It was now mid-2011.

In my downtime, I had planned out my training program to get back to racing and hopefully move from C Grade up to a Grade.

Prior to my tour, I had become pretty strong under some regular riding and big Ks but I hadn't done any real riding in almost 2 yrs due to preparing for and going on my deployment to the sandpit.

I started base training but didn't last long. The knee pain was too much. 

Surgery

The operation went well. Doc told me I had a very slight tear in my ACL and because I didn't get any treatment a cyst had grown on the injury site. This is why I couldn't straighten my leg. 

He also noticed some minor damage to my knee cap so he 'cleaned that up' too. 

After the surgery, I had follow-ups and everything seemed to be going well enough albeit slower than expected.

One month turned into three. Three months into six and I still couldn't get full range back in my leg. I was now a civilian and my leg was still stuffed.

What happened?

In short, nobody can really tell me. My knee just didn't respond well to the surgery. One of those things I guess. The neural pathways in my brain that control the muscles were blocked and that took ages to work through.

It also took almost two years to get full range back in my leg to be able to straighten it fully again.

Year three and Four were spent trying to regain muscle mass back in my leg, but the brain didn't want to play the game. I was inhibited by knee pain that didn't allow me to squat or turn the pedals (I tried)

Year five. finally a breakthrough. Hard work and patience finally paid off and finally, I can get back on the bike. So I am

Fast Forward

It's now 2018. almost six years since I last rode a bike for any real length of time. Rather than be content with just getting back on the bike I am setting myself a little bit of a goal.

I want to race again. 

So this year, you are welcome to follow along as I document everything that I do to get myself back to the start line. In video and in posts like these I am going to show you how I get a fat and unfit forty-year-old MAMIL back into the swing of things and back to the start line.

I'll share with you my training plans, my philosophies and of course all my data as I try and turn my fat arse into a racer once again.

Who knows you may just be lining up next to me next summer.

Until then,

ride safe and stay on top of the pedals

Darren

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