Spend any time with coaches, training manuals or even just vaguely competitive types and before long you will hear talk of understanding your baseline. Knowing your current fitness and performance level, in order to begin planning forwards.
I’m currently almost two months on from a pretty horrific crash, whilst racing at Derby Velodrome. It was a pretty ordinary race league night. We were coming to the end of a 20 lap scratch race. My form had been building really well since the early spring and I was going well. A group of 5 of us were about to lap most of the rest of the field. As we approached them, spinning really smoothly at 37mph, one of the riders decided to turn up the track. The guy in front of me hit him pretty square on and went down. I was second wheel and had just enough time to begin turning up the track. All that meant was that I clipped the two riders and was flipped over them, landing on my back. I made some pretty loud, but ultimately feeble attempts to get air into my lungs, but ultimately that was the end of my race night.
I spent 16 days in the Trauma Unit at Nottingham, followed by a short time at home, then a further week in hospital in Sheffield. My injuries are extensive:
– 11 broken ribs on the left side. Most whats known as ‘flail’, which simply means broken in multiple places
– 4 broken ribs on the right side. These weren’t even picked up until I was discharged
– broken left collar bone
– 4 broken vertebra. Having a broken back certainly sounds dramatic
– broken breast bone. That’s a pretty big one to break.
– Haematoma behind the breast bone. Just a big bruise really, but added to the pain
– Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
– Haemothorax (collection of blood in the chest space.) Had to have the chest drained. Initially this was with an ultrasound drain, which was almost impossible to get in due to thickening of the chest wall due to the length of time that fluid had been in place. Once the first drain was blocked, I had a proper surgical drain. (Think hosepipe shoved between broken ribs and you might begin to get the picture.) This drained a total of around 2 litres of fluid and allowed my lung to begin to re-inflate.
– Pain was initially managed by a series of epidurals. Although painful to tunnel into my back, once working, they were great! Life without them however wasn’t. My cocktail of drugs was described as an addicts wish list, containing pretty much every class A drug available in a hospital setting, and plenty more besides.
So that’s my baseline. I’m currently extremely tired a lot of the time. I’m walking about an hour a day and my lung seems to be remembering how to work really well. Lying down and sleeping help a lot, although I don’t seem to be able to manage more than about 5 or 6 hours at a time, so I’m getting used to 4am youtube club.
I’m told that being this wiped out is normal. I’m also told that my progress is better than expected for this early in the recovery process. I’m expected to make a full recovery, although probably won’t be able to do anything you might consider to be training ’till about Christmas. Full fitness will take a good while longer, but I’m already enjoying the journey.