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Mountain Bike Blog



Video: Return to Rotorua .. maybe?


Qantas tells me itís 19 days until I fly out for a 9 day MTB adventure in Rotorua, New Zealand.  The question is will I be ready?

The problem started on corner 13 of Stromloís Breakout where I washed out in the loose stuff breaking my left thumb on the handlebars in the process.  While I was not in pain at the time it was evident something was very wrong and a long stint on the sidelines was very likely.  

5 days after the crash I had surgery to pin the break, 3 weeks later the pins were removed.  Itís now a further 2 and half weeks and Iím happy to say much of my hand movement and strength has returned.  However Iím not out of the woods .. or should I say ďnot on my way to the RedwoodsĒ just yet.

Even as I rode my way out of Stromlo with my hand taped up I was planning how I would build fitness despite being off the bike.  In fact Iíve been incredibly positive through the whole experience, with one exception Ė Iíve struggled to believe that my left hand will be ready in time.  In this regard Iíve been on a roller coaster.

I surrendered early on, ďthere is no way Iím going to be ready to ride the Redwoods in NovemberĒ however my mountain biking Orthopaedic Surgeon convinced me otherwise.  Leading up to pin removal I began watching rehab YouTube videos that made November seem unobtainable however getting the pins out a week early gave me far greater hope as it meant an extra week of rehab.  

Just to be clear I donít expect there to be any issues with the bone, however getting all the muscles, tendons and joints working effectively and at a pain level I can tolerate is the challenge.  I wonít be pain free, Iíve accepted that much!  

Only after the pins came out did I fully appreciate the poor condition of my thumb, wrist and fingers.  My hand was totally useless.  I spent the first few days moving and squeezing them as much as possible.  To my surprise in that short time Iíd achieved close to full movement and excellent strength in my handle bar holding fingers.  I was feeling confident of making Rotorua once again.

I hate to think how many times Iíve looked to move my flights.  To be honest I would have rescheduled the trip by now except that the cost of flying in Dec / Jan is prohibitive and my next window of opportunity with work wonít be until late March.  Not wanting to wait until March has kept me hanging on to hope that I can be ready for November.

Yesterday was an opportunity to step up the prep and get back on a bike.  I jumped onto the hybrid and to my sheer delight riding, braking and turning around the back streets was completely pain free, I was so happy.  Well that was until I decided to change gear.  Torturous searing pain!  Despite trying to push through it the agony was so great I was physically unable to change gear.  The next disappointment was a small bump in the road that sent stabbing spikes of pain through my thumb.  

It turns out that I have little strength and lots of pain around the pin holes when pushing, however when going over bumps there is a pulling action on the thumb and in that regard I have zero tolerance for the pain.  In fact I canít tolerate even the slightest, lightest pull on the joint.

The inability to handle any level of pulling has ruled out a planned XC ride today and Iím again struggling to believe that I will be ready for November.

But the painful self-administered physio and cross training continues in hope that I will be ready.

19 days and counting.


Trail Centres and Trails featured in this blog



This website is brought to you by MTB weekend warrior Aaron Markie.
There are plenty of great websites out there with a wealth of information about Mountain Bike Trails,
however in my experience its hard to get a good mix of info, maps, photos and videos of trails I've never ridden.
The idea of this website is to tie those 4 elements together and give you a more detailed look at the MTB Trails I ride.
If you have anything to add then let me know.