Return to Racing: A Post-Crash Training Plan—Part I

<strong>George Hincapie sits on the ground after crashing during Stage 1 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. He would finish the stage.</strong><br>Photo: Jesse Hammond/Active.com

At one time or another, if you ride bikes long enough, you will crash.

If you're lucky, all you'll get is a little road rash and maybe minor equipment damage. If you're not as lucky, you might get a broken collarbone keeping you off the road for six weeks. During that six weeks you can still ride indoors, but what you can do is limited.

If you are even more unlucky, another rider will do something silly that makes both of you crash. You end up with a shattered bone in your arm. The ulna, broken near the elbow joint, requires surgery with new hardware installed to keep everything together.

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An additional bonus, along with an overnight hospital stay, is a gigantic hematoma on your quad. The hematoma is so big and painful that you can barely move your leg. You need a cane to walk.

The doc decides not to drain the hematoma and tells you it will be four to six weeks before you can get on an indoor trainer. It takes that long for the hematoma to break up and absorb.

After you are allowed to begin indoor training, the doc says it will be another four to six weeks before you can ride outdoors. It will take that much time for the bone in your arm to heal enough to handle the road vibrations.

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The incident occurs during the first part of February and you have a two-day stage race you want to do in mid-June. You also want to do another event in September, a 200-mile road race.

Argh!! Can your season be salvaged?

Ray's Story

The story about the broken ulna and giant hematoma is true. We'll call the rider Ray.

After the crash, Ray called me to see if we could set up a post-crash, fast-track-back-to-fitness training plan. Though the crash didn't happen on my group ride, Ray does show up for many of my group rides and I have helped him with training plan strategies in the past.

I was interested in helping him get back to riding—and riding strong—as soon as possible. That written, the fast track should not compromise his health or crash recovery in any manner.

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