1km to go and I’m sat 15th wheel, 300m to go were into the top ten, 100m to go were in 6th and gaining places, 50m to go I glance up and see the 2 riders in front of me lock bars. This is where the inevitable kicked in, I knew I was going down and when I did it hit hard. Hitting the deck at 65kph I landed literally on the line which was another kick in the teeth, 1m further and may still have been placed in the top ten. Still in shock, I was straight in the ambulance and thus began the long wait in a French hospital. Waiting around for close to 7 hours with nothing but my GCSE French to get me by was just as painful as the injury I had sustained. Finally I got seen by the doctor and initially the doctor said I had a small fracture in my left hand, gave me a brace, told me to wear it for 10 days and off I went.
A week went by, my hand was still a little painful but I felt as though it was getting stronger every day. I went for a check up with a local Belgian doctor and he swiftly pointed me back to the hospital saying to my horror, I had a broken scaphoid. At least 3 weeks in a full cast it was, at this point I was pretty down about things but after a chat with my coach at TrainSharp we made a new plan for my comeback. Facing 3 weeks purely on the trainer was a daunting prospect, however inspired by recent pro riders such as Matt Hayman and Steve Cummings who have come back stronger from weeks on the trainer, I was inspired and motivated to give it a crack. Once I got into the routine I started to relish the fact of double days on the turbo and grinding away hitting the numbers, the 3 weeks seemed to fly by. I had a full on pain cave set up in the barn of where. Everything I needed to make it more bearable. I was soon back in for a check up and with the heart rate beating higher than in a race I was thankfully given the all clear to get the cast off last week.
5 weeks later and I was on the start line again, my first race back was last Friday in Geel and I was happy enough to get 5th in my comeback. The weeks of efforts on the trainer have been swiftly rewarded as the following week was the big local race in Hulshout, GP Schaal Marcel Indeku. After being in the break of 20 for the whole race, me and a rider from the Differdange UCI team attacked the break with 20km remaining and were joined by a fellow teammate. I came across the line in 3rd place from 155 starters but was left a little disappointed as the legs warranted better. I didn’t have to wait long for the next race in Borgloon, just a day in between.
I knew the legs were good from Friday and the course suited me a lot better with a long ‘climb’ up the finish. We would do 20 ‘ronde’ equating to 145km. A lot of attacks were thrown in the early stages but the peleton was proving difficult to get away from. Eventually I got away in a group of 7 and we bridged across to the leading group of 8 with 4 laps to go. Having done a lot of work earlier in the race I thought I’d used quite a lot of energy. I tried to conserve as much as possible for the remaining laps. Coming up the climb to start the last lap I attacked to try and draw a smaller group clear; however it was all neutralised and looked to be a 15 up sprint. With around 2km to go a couple riders slipped away and I decided to jump across shortly after, I got onto the back of them just at the bottom of the long 1.5km drag to the finish. For the sprint, I knew I had to wait as long as possible, I was sat 3rd wheel and then with 150m to go I launched my sprint. I daren’t look round or celebrate until I crossed the line but when I crossed the line the realisation that I won hit!
Cycling is full of ups and downs, the past week and a half of positive results has definitely made those long hours on the trainer worthwhile. Thanks to the Dave Rayner Fund for the continued support.