The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Monday, April 09, 2007


Recovering from my ITB injury and the odd pain in my right knee has been frustrating, but it's teaching me a lot. And I recently learned two more lessons.

There is a great if somewhat erratic cyclist by the name of Oscar Freire. Freire has won the world championships twice, yet has also spent months doing very little. Up until a couple of months ago he had been forced to stop riding because of injury. Being a former world champion with millions invested in him, he was sent to every specialist his team could find. He underwent hours of painful intensive therapy, but all to no avail. He remained injured.

Then he decided to take responsibility for his own body. He told his team he would stop all treatment. He said he wanted to rest. Slowly his body recovered, he started going for short rides, he tested how far his body would let him cycle. Eventually he was able to do a proper training ride again. Soon he was racing again - but not searching for victories.

A few weeks ago he asked his manager to enter him in the 290-kilometer Milan to San Remo bike race, a gruelling event with a nasty climb right near the end, followed by a rapid descent and sprint that is considered a "classic" - one of the 10 races that really matter in the cycling calender.

The morning of the event he told his team he was ready. More than ready - he intended to win.

More than six hours later it was Freire's orange jersey that flashed across the finishline first. He was back.

My second lesson was less dramatic. I picked up a book and read a page at random. It said, "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras." It's an old medical adage, but it reminded me that injuries happen, bodies recover, there's no magic cure and no reason to think that I have something I can't recover from. I just have to take small steps, then longer steps, and slowly test my body until I feel it's time to say "I'm ready".



At 5:09 pm, Blogger Ingo said...

That's the right spirit mate! Good wine takes time. I just have to make sure that I don't run myself into the ground before your comeback.

At 9:26 pm, Blogger oldsprinter said...

As you can see on your blog I've been trying to place evil thoughts in your head, testing your resolve not to overdo things. You can always rely on me to tell you to get out and run if you're feeling lazy.

I did an hour tonight and feel OK still.

By the way folks, my better half has her own blog - check it out:


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