Thursday, July 21, 2011


Its been exactly a week since my last update, still have a sore arm and non-working fingers so not been doing anything exciting. Today turned out to be big though.

Set off for Kettering General Hospital this morning to get my stitches out and see what can be done about the fingers. Because there has been no progress I was referred to Leicester Royal Infirmary, they wanted to see me today. This itself caused problems because my dad couldn't get the afternoon off work and my friend who had very kindly driven me to the hospital isn't confident with big roads or cities so didn't want to drive to Leicester, so we ended up having an adventure on the train!

I then spent the afternoon being prodded and poked by various doctors, none of whom seemed to have any idea why my fingers don't work. I was a bit worried when not only were they googling for help they were using wikipedia! More x-rays too! Here's my x-ray...yes I was allowed to take it home, and I know there appears to be a bush growing in my arm!

The verdict of the day was, despite being told previously that I didn't, that I have damaged a nerve so the signal isn't getting through to my fingers to move (slightly bizarre as I still have full sensation!). Made more impressive by the fact that to reach the nerve the brake lever that originally impaled me must have passed several muscles, tendons and nerves without causing any damage whatsoever (hence the confusion as to why I'm broken!).

Because I don't live in Leicester I'm expecting a phone call tomorrow detailing an appointment at my local hospital on Monday. Have been told not to eat anything in the morning as there is a good chance I will be having surgery in the afternoon to repair the nerve.

That said, there are a lot of questions I need answering before I decide if I actually want this operation. I need to know risks of further damage, how likely it is to succeed and the recovery time amongst other things, because after all, as annoying as having some non-working fingers is, its not necessarily worth the operation to fix them!

Will update as usual when I hear anything!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Another short post today as sitting around doing nothing is pretty dull!

There's still no change with mu arm and hand, although I am getting used to it now so everything is getting a little bit easier!

Was very nervous this morning in anticipation of my hospital appointment, lots of scenarios were buzzing around my head but thankfully it went quite well. My tendons would appear to be all in tact, and there isn't any nerve damage the poor consultant was a bit baffled as to why my fingers aren't working properly but thinks its just muscles causing my problems, slightly worried by his attitude that its not important as I can grip and that's all that matters because I know its not the worst thing that could have happened but it doesn't make things easy! Still quite a lot of bruising, don't think thats helping either (here's my arm now for anyone interested...considerably less gross than on friday night! )

Have to keep trying to move everything, back same time next week to see what progress there is and to get my stitches out (yes that is 13 days of having stitches in, not the promised 7!)

Missing the bike already, I'm not good at sitting inside doing nothing but thankfully the Tour is keeping me occupied, as is my new found love for Grey's Anatomy.

That's all for now, will update again soon!

Monday, July 11, 2011


With a palindrome for a date I thought I ought to post a blog.

Thankfully I've got the pain in my arm under control, and am sitting nicely under the maximum dosage of my various drugs! I even managed to go to work yesterday, all be it on light duties!

A couple of days on and the swelling has almost subsided but unfortunately I haven't gained any more motion in my hand and arm, starting to get slightly worried that there has been some damage done but am hopeful that its just me being impatient and that if I keep trying I will have at least got a bit closer to full movement by my appointment on Thursday! Don't really want to think about the alternative...

Predictably I can't ride my bike so the weather today has been lovely! Very tempted to put the turbo trainer in the garden so I can do some D2D training!

Typing is still rather difficult and slow so I shan't write much, just thought I'd let everyone know how I'm getting on. I'd like to say thanks to everyone for their well wishes too :)

I shall dedicate this post to one of my new favourite chemical compounds...

I'd like to think at least a couple of people who read this might know what it is!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


This entry is going to be short, and possibly a bit incomprehensible as I'm 1 handed at the moment (and sadly it is the wrong hand!)

After an awesome ride Wednesday night I was feeling really good about last night, especially as poor weather earlier in the day meant I was one of only 2 ladies to turn up. Guaranteed podium right?

Sadly not. A practise lap showed this would be a tough race as it was not technical, just long and quite hard going, Knowing I didn't need to be very fast I decided I wasn't going to go very fast, but as the first km of the race was through a very windy field I decided keeping in the bunch would be a good idea.

Sadly, about 500m in a couple of people went down right in front of me, there was nothing I could do to avoid crashing, so down I went. Didn't go down very hard but my arm was impaled on a brake lever.

Cue an ambulance ride, complete with sirens and being rushed into x-ray as they thought my arm was broken too. Thankfully no break but lots of soft tissue damage. Now have 7 stitches and am struggling to use my arm and hand. Have to go in thursday once swelling has gone down to make sure that its just the swelling affecting my movement, fingers crossed there's no serious damage.

Had a rough night once the morphine had worn off, and a mixture of pain, tiredness and frustration means I'm already getting grumpy. Not helped by the fact I'd jut entered dusk 2 dawn so this is going to delay my training!

Its a bit disgusting so I won't post the picture, here is the link to a pic of the hole in my arm if you are interested:

Will update as to my progress when there is any news.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


The Race
Having missed the last couple of races for one reason or another I was ready and raring to go for this one; my dad came along to cheer me on, and my mum came too (first time she's seen me race!). We arrived nice and early so there was plenty of time for a practise lap and with leeway for doing bit multiple times (to find the best line) or fixing any mechanical issues. But everything went pretty smoothly - there was one tricky off camber section which I walked last year, I attempted to ride this on my practise lap but didn't quite get it.

So I had just over half an hour to kill before the race began, thankfully the sun was shining (although there was a nice breeze so it wasn't to hot!), so I chilled out and chatted to various racers.

Then it was time to race, having had a big bottleneck at the start last year they opted to send us off in 3 groups (ladies last) and get us to do a small circuit before we entered the tight stuff. I got off to a much better start than I have done previously and for the first bit of the lap I think I was 3rd or 4th.

Unfortunately my flat pedals (although confidence inspiring on the tricky sections) meant that I couldn't get as much speed as I'd have liked through the first rough section (it was really quite bumpy!) but I managed to stay at the back of the fast group as we headed into the first section of singletrack. I was just starting to plan my overtakes for the next (short) open section but my plans were thwarted by one of the grand vets who got stuck on the sharp slope out of the woods as I was just behind him. I was still behind him in the next bit of singletrack, but knew I could get past and make up some time in the field. He decided to walk the off camber section but somehow still lost control of his bike which then knocked me down, so I did my best to run up the hill and back into the open.

The group had quite a lead on me now but they were still in sight, so I pushed for the next lap and a half but just couldn't catch them. Then the leading men started coming through, I did my best to jump out of the way but without losing too much time. I kept pushing on, as much as I could until the final lap, my legs were shouting at me but I did my best to keep up with the men for as long as I could when I was lapped, just to try and get some more speed. I thought I might just catch up some of the ladies but unfortunately, having cleared the off camber section one of the lapping men thought pushing me onto the back and off the track was OK so I had no choice but to stop, and then run up the top of the hill. There was no one to catch but I still finished with a sprint.

9th postion on the night which (unofficially) puts me 8th out of 21 ladies overall so although there is room for improvement I'm happy with that! Highlight of the evening was definitely clearing that off camber section to cheers from the "crowd" (about 5 people, although they did know my name!), whilst some of the men couldn't do it, made me feel like a pro!

The "Recovery" Ride - Why I don't stick to training plans
With the sun shining this morning I thought a recovery ride was probably a good idea, the plan was a steady 20 miles just to give the legs a spin. It started off well, the first 5 miles were nice and steady and I was feeling good. But then I got carried away!

I ended up doing 30 miles at a not too shabby pace, including various intervals and hill sprints! Why did I do that you may ask? Because I enjoy riding my bike; I race because its fun, getting good results is an added bonus. So although I go out with the best intentions if my legs and my head are feeling good then I was want to make the most of it, and thats what I did. With the Tour starting today perhaps is was fitting that I was thinking of those riders when I was sprinting to reach the top of a hill, or seeing what speed I could achieve on the flat (although definitely couldn't ride as fast as they do, or for as long!).

Definitely an enjoyable ride though, one of the best I've had on the road bike for ages! I expect there'll be a few more like that to come in the next few weeks!
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So maybe instead of sunbathing this weekend you should see how much fun you can have on a bike!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Where did that last week go? Its now July and exactly 1 week ago I turned 20! Well I have been quite busy.

Friday was my birthday, celebrated by the making of many fairy cakes, I made 48 in total and maybe got a little bit carried away with the decorations:

As the evening came the weather took a turn for the worse, so rather than get cold and wet racing on my legs which were pretty sore after yesterdays mini TT escapades I decided to go to the pub with some friends instead. All people that I haven't seen in months (we're rubbish at keeping in touch since going to uni!) so it was a really nice evening. I broke my usual tea-total policy, got as far as 1 and a half pints of lovely pear cider, left the last half because as someone that doesn't drink pretty sure it won't take much to get me drunk and I could feel myself approaching!

Saturday was a nice slow morning followed by an afternoon at work and then a chinese takeaway with various family people, another lovely evening. Sunday I was at work all day, came home to a nice Sunday roast and a bizarrely large number of wasps in my room and the bathroom. After much wasp spotting and swatting throughout the evening by about 10pm we realised we had a problem. We then spent an hour "de-wasping" our airing cupboard after my brother had his bath rudely interrupted by the huuuuge queen!. It was a bit of a masacre, with about 50 wasps in total being "removed"; our theory is that they are left over the wasp nest we had in our wall last year. My dad blocked up the hole so any that were inside couldn't get out, I assume they found their way in instead! Thankfully I think we got most of them...have only seen 4 or 5 in the house since!

Monday night brought more drama, my parents and brother ad got the train to Birmingham earlier on, they were watching Pink Floyd - The Wall (I wasn't invited!), I'd had yet another nice evening, this time just chilling on my own. I was looking forward to getting some sleep after 3 late nights but heard my phone ring just after 11. I ignored it but it kept on ringing so I pulled my self out of bed and phoned my brother back giving him a very groggy "Whaddya want?!". He was very apologetic bless him, but they'd missed the last train home (with the next one not being until 5.30am), he was too polite to actually ask me to pick them up but what choice did I have? So off I went, thankfully it was a straightforward drive up, midnight traffic meant it took just shy of an hour to get there and I didn't get lost until the car park!

As you could probably expect, Tuesday was a day of yawning, although i got lots of jobs done! Drove my brother to school (he was tired and didn't fancy maths!), fixed my Pap's computer, got a tank of petrol, took my Dad to pick up his car from the train station, had a look at the scrap yard for bits for my car, then washed+waxed my car!

Wednesday arrived and I was missing my bike, nearly a week since I'd last ridden. Decided a nice social ride would be best, so the plan was the 8 mile trip around the local reservoir with a non-cyclist friend (someone else that I hadn't seen in ages). I did it on the singlespeed to maximise any training out of it, unfortunately, at the furthest point from civilisation I got a puncture. I think I've been due one as its been well over a year I think (touch wood I don't get another one racing tonight), so we rode on for as long as possible, watching the air leaving my tyre, I tried to carry on even when I could feel every stone on the rim but guessed that was a bad idea, thankfully only just over a mile left by this point so we walked up to the country park (and the bike shop I work in), so I could buy a new tube and get cycling again!

Yesterday was finally my day of rest, had a slow day. Just a sunny dog walk (which turned into a rainy dog run!), and a trip to the shops to stock up on stationery! I've started going through my organic chemistry textbook, making notes and stuff, with an aim of knowing everything that I should know by the time we go back in September! The plan is to carry on with that today, whilst trying to avoid thinking about all the big life questions which have once again popped into my head. Still umming and aaring about 3 vs 4 year course, potential for a phd and just generally what I want to do with my life!

Tonight is race night, I'm buzzing! Been a few weeks without racing for one reason or another so looking forward to getting back into it. I'm told the course is going to be very similar to last years, that means tough, but fun! I have the usual pedal dilema, but remembering last year I think I'm going for flats again, will take the spds just in case I change my mind after the practise lap though. Will do another blog over the weekend dedicated to how the race goes :)