I still can’t work out if this went fast or slowly, but today we have hit the 3 week mark into #Bracelyfe and believe it or not, that is apparently the halfway mark! Don’t worry, that seems a little strange to me as well and perhaps I’m being a little optimistic. Everything except my legs are crossed that in another 3 weeks there will be a healthy CT scan and the Doctor, who could easily pass for a stylish Bond villain, gives me a green light to ditch the brace.

I’ve previously done a post on Gimpin Ain’t Easy, so don’t intend to regurgitate all those ramblings, no, this time I have all new ones. Oddly on this road to recovery sequel, I feel far more relaxed than last time. Second time round perhaps making the process seem a little familiar? With a broken collarbone and elbow you feel and look a whole lot more fucked up than just with a broken C2 vertebrae, even though that sounds way more serious. But, aside from that one rather vital little part of you, everything else body wise just seems to rock on normally. Its also a shit load easier doing a blog post than this time last year that’s Fo Sho.

In a sense of twisted irony however, one of the biggest cunts about rocking the neck brace, aside from trying to sleep in one, is that it has a penchant for rubbing on, you guessed it, the titanium plate in my collarbone from last years summer fingering accident… Its like they’re teaming up (not in the good innuendo way either) to remind me of my limitations and failings.

And that’s perhaps one of the weird things about being injured like this. I was looking back the other day on photos of the sublime Japanese Alps trip of July last year and realised that my chassis was 100% intact back then. No metal, no weak points, no range of motion issues – Just a complete and whole physical entity that didn’t spend much time thinking about limitations or rehabilitation. Whilst it wasn’t that long ago, its starting to feel like a different life time as I rub my chin again to give it some reprieve from the Philadelphia Brace. Having injuries that in some way physically alter you forever is definitely a weird feeling.

So, philosophical musings aside, what’s been going down on the Sequel to the Road to Recovery? The major upgrade over the last R2R – 2014 edition, has been the addition of Netflix. Yes, I’ve been marathoning the fuck out of ‘Suits’ purely because I love complex legal case plots and witty argumentative dialogue… Absolutely no other motivating factors to watch back to back episodes of that show.

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It suddenly makes sense why Specialized love their legal team SO much

Aside from binge watching ‘Narcos’ (great series) and Suits, I’ve had the time on my hands to think about switching disciplines again. After much debate, assessing all the risk profiles of course, I settled on being a single speed hipster cunt for 2016, and given I was camped out in Wellington recently, thought I had a fairly decent crack at it as well.

Turns out I fucked that up by not having spray on jeans that were too short, missed the memo about the need for a 1970’s antique cycling cap of an obscure Euro team, beard wasn’t feral enough, don’t own a leather satchel and didn’t nail the all important cycling related tattoo confirming fuckwittery:

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“Meet you in Cuba Street Brah”

Gutted given I had nailed the lumberjack shirt, was working on the beard and clearly had the artisanal ‘hand crafted in a small shed by someone who works in a bike shop’ fixie sorted. Will just have to remain full ENDURO in 2016.

But hipster confusion aside, I have bigger fish to fry in my gimp state at the moment. And not just the feeling all your eForm is slowly ebbing out of you or no longer being able to smash expensive niche popcorn guilt free, here’s one of the biggest problems with not riding:

The less you ride, the more you want to buy shit

This is one of the stranger ratios in cycling: The less you ride, the more you feel inclined to purchase anything cycling related. I’ve spoken about this before, as conversely the more miles you smash, usually the more your purchasing is focused on consumables like cassettes and tires.

Being back on the sidelines for an unknown amount of time has me once again scratching around like a junkie inexplicably wanting to procure new kit. Yes, I have preached all year about spending money on experiences and riding, but sit me on the bench for 5 minutes and I bust out a giant raging “I want I want I want I want” hard on for new equipment.

I want a new Santa Cruz Solo, I want a new Bronson (that makes no sense), I want whatever new 29er I am sure SC are bringing out next year… And how do I know its getting really bad? I even want one of these for utter fucks sake:

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I hate what you do… But I still want you… Its 1990’s dating all over again

Holy shit… I have a hard time deciding what makes me want to puke into my brace more – CX or Gravel riding, so I must be really losing my shit when I start to covet the SC Stigmata. Why did I ask Santa for one in Orange, minus the Enve’s of course? I need to get back on the Wahoo fucking pronto.

Shit people say to you when you’re fucked up

Moving on quickly before I buy something I don’t need… Perhaps the only sport you can have when rocking the #Bracelyfe action is the reaction you get when people ask what’s happened. “I broke my neck” can quickly lead to a conversational cul-de-sac, or alternatively it can garner some excellent reactions from people. Some of my personal favourites thus far:

How come you’re not paralysed? – This one awkward for everyone the moment its out and in the middle of your conversation. I’m no doctor clearly, so aren’t able to provide the correct medical response, instead opting for the less factually accurate: ‘I’m a rad cunt is why’ explanation. I think lucky as fuck probably a better summary.

Is the bike ok? – This question weeds out the cyclists from the civilians. The earlier its asked in the conversation, the more hardcore a rider you have in front of you. Best effort is the person who asked this before enquiring if I was ok, which I strangely respected.

So, no more cycling for you then, what will you do instead? – Yeah, cycling is just some cute hobby I play on the side when I’m not busy masterbating on a Monocle magazine or looking forward to the next social engagement with people who don’t really like each other but need sources of gossip to fuel their lives. Totally going to pull pin due to a minor set back and take up golf, didn’t you hear its the new cycling?

Are you going back to Road racing now then? – I must come across as such a discipline whore… Jumping around to hang out with whoever appears to offer the least chance of injury. Whilst watching the Rivet boys go at in the recent NI Series race back in NZ was invigorating, it reminded me how ill suited I am to road racing with hills in it, so full ENDURO I shall remain. I do suspect a bit of road riding on the horizon though until I stop being a pencil necked geek.

Does your cock still work? – I’ve got my work cut out for me to dispel the myths and rumours around what happens with a broken neck, but this was probably my favourite. For my Snapchat fans, never fear, its business as usual.

I can understand the temptation

Thinking ahead though and I have to be honest… At the moment I have a little bit of ‘can’t be fucked’ when I think about the whole come back scenario. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not a PRO athlete with the world’s media chasing me wanting to know how my road to recovery is going (well, the Rodfather did ask me how shit was the other day, so that sort of counts).

No, its more the process I know lies ahead to get back to a point I was at some time ago. You have to eat a lot of shit to get back to where you were. Its like starting at a new company in a lower position than you used to have… First meeting in and some cum sock asks you to take minutes… What the FUCK motherfucker, that’s not how this rolls!

But that’s how it rolls in cycling… You’re on brain detail in the back seat for however long it takes to get back into the zone. I can still recall how hard that felt in Dirty Mega March, being absolutely fingered in that 6 hour ball burner race, taking another face job at the Queenstown 6 Hour Super D and the CP Enduro race before struggling physically through EWS Rototua. March the school of hard knocks on racing with only a months prep post injury…

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6 hours of feeling like an ENDURO Piñata

So… I can see why some PRO, let’s face it, Roadies, fall into the trap of taking short cuts of the medical variety if coming back from injury or set backs. Holy shit it must be so hard to say no to a little ‘preparation’ assistance when you’re under the pump and its your job. Before you have a cycling tips inspired ethics melt down, I’m not endorsing, but I am understanding it.

No one likes that shit eating rebuild period on the bike when everything feels hard and progress can be stunted by life. The fear that you perhaps won’t get back to former glory or powers is a powerful bad ass to have sitting on your shoulder, usually with his cock in the mouth of the good guy who’s trying to say “Don’t do it“. But, to avoid making a life long cunt of yourself, forget all that shit and just go out and ride, eat bananas even if you hate them, create some new missions and don’t think about how it used to be. Get your crew together and have fun eating some shit for a while until normal service is restored.

2016 takes a Fingerbanging 

Speaking of which… I think the main point of consternation I have is the ambiguity over what happens next. Man, did I have it all worked out for 2016 or what…

Prior to #neckgate I had finally slipped into a sweet spot of health, fitness and a bit of form. Hell, I had even done 9 days in a row of Yoga! I was vinyasaering the utter fuck out of the session to the point where people confused me for the instructor (common mistake). My crow was so bad ass I’m pretty sure someone in class Grammed that shit out.

On top of that, now that I was back to being a Hobo, the forecast was to smash some massive riding volume in November and December before hitting a super rad NZ summer where I had already lined up two of the most sought after ENDURO events you can put your eSpecific socks on for:

Dodzy Memorial Enduro – Do you know how hard it is to get into this one? Rad trails with awesome people in an amazing spot to celebrate the life of a kiwi legend, its no surprise it sells out in 1.5 minutes, real talk. So, to get in on the ballot second chance draw was an epic win. Er… Just so happens to be the first weekend in Feb. Chances of being back to some sort of rad shredding ability by then? I’m suspecting almost non-existent.

NZ Enduro – Another BIG event, this one mid March. 3 days of some serious riding where you really want to be on your toes apparently, trust me, I asked around. Trails on this bad boy fucked up a few gun riders last year, so you want to turn up with a big pair of ENDURO balls and confidence to match.

As massive as these two awesome events are, in an embarrassment of ENDURO riches, they were just the first course for the first half of 2016. Yup, firmly on the radar as the big goals? That’s right… ENDURO World Series back to back rounds in Chile and Argentina.

Whilst it remains to be seen if I would have got entries, I have a pretty good track record of turning up late and begging organisers until they basically can’t be fucked with my embarrassing frothing and shameless sycophantic displays and let me in out of pity.

Right now, half way in, I have no idea what now happens to the planned out 2016 summer of radness. To go and do these things you need fitness, confidence and the skills & speed to be able to not make it feel like a death march. The only thing I can do is sit around and wait for bone to heal before working out what’s next. In other words – Don’t sweat the shit you can’t control.

All of that aside, I constantly remind myself that I have a lot of reasons to not complain or lament and that’s perhaps why I still feel pretty positive. Yes, as I’ve been told many times, I’m actually rather lucky and this whole broken neck thing could have been a LOT worse. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to run through the worst case scenarios or outcomes, a few of which would mean I wouldn’t be typing up this post myself. Sometimes if shit is whack, its good to remind ourselves to relax as it can always be worse, someone else is worse off than we are and importantly: It will get better with time.

Speaking of getting better, I can’t wait to get back to doing something like this, except half the speed and without the jumping… Or being as pinned as fuck. If only SRAM seat post internals were as good as this marketing:

That little video just provides unnecessary reinforcement of what I already knew: Fuck I miss riding my bike. Any type of bike riding (except CX, Fat bikes or eCuntery)… Right now I would just love to go for a tame flat ride on the Tallboy. Not being able to ride a poignant reminder how lucky we are that we get to enjoy this sport and how we should never take it for granted.

Struggling for motivation for today’s ride? Take a moment to appreciate that you can, then go forth and shred it, pin it, smash it, spin it, hammer it, cruise it, rail it, slide it, love it, climb it, sprint it, mash it, coffee it and above all – Enjoy it.

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