Rich Thomas – Ready to go!

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So, during my time at RoostDH in Feb I hurt my Achilles tendon. I wasn’t sure exactly how I did it or how bad it was, all I knew was that it hurt and I had to pop pills and strap it up to walk around.

Being relatively stupid and stubborn I just cracked on as I didn’t want to waste my time out in Spain. However, when I got home and to the hospital I realised I’d been a right tool, I was training and riding on a torn Achilles, which sucked. And I soon realised It wasn’t going to be a simple recovery.

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It is not a hugely debilitating injury; it just means you basically can’t ride anything as the tendon will keep tearing when the ankle flexes past 90 degrees each way, ultimately until it snaps which is game over, surgery and a 12 month rehab programme. So basically because of the huge high risk of further injury all I could do for 6 weeks is lower leg physio and massage, this sucked.

I’ve put a lot more into this off season fitness wise, also being on a better bike and with Combe Syd around the corner and the likelihood I wouldn’t be back on a bike in time for the race I did have a little swear to myself and banged my head against the wall. Basically I had to go to the hospital every few days, do my exercises and stretches and miss out on riding and training for 6 weeks before the first race of the year. Not ideal.

Pic thanks to WDC Cuts
Pic thanks to WDC Cuts

So the last few weeks have been slow and a little boring but I’ve been good and not done any riding or anything stupid so my Achilles is a lot stronger now, not 100% but has a full range of movement and good flexibility. So I thought it was about time I tried riding out, so I booked onto the Flyup Downhill uplift at the Forest of Dean for the day with some of the boys from Weston, Freddy T and Big Dave. We went over and cracked on and my ankle felt strong which was encouraging and the boys said I was going well so after little discussion and realising there was a MIJ downhill the following day I entered the race with the thought of pushing my Achilles, blowing the cobwebs out and hopefully being able to race Combe Syd this weekend.

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We headed back on the Sunday to MIJ summer round 1, a load of good riders turned up, local Will Jones, Floz and the Smith brothers to name a few, all world cup level. So I thought it would just be good to get back into the routine and get some racing in not necessarily worrying about a result. It was a good format, super chilled out and with only a push up it felt just like a day out on the bike, with a few race runs at the end. And to be honest, being at the race was good after such a long off season and with some pain killers and Voltarol gel I’d forgot about my ankle in time for racing.

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After the two days on my bike I felt back up to speed which was cool just a bit of a wet wipe and weak haha but after going at it first run I went into the lead by 6 seconds which shocked the shit out of me as usually these races are only separated but 100ths. So I figured my speed was still good I could just enjoy my second run and during that I got right back into it, feeling fast again and not noticing my ankle. Managing to knock a second off my time and taking the win by 5 ½ seconds, which is still a shock. So all in a good move and with the race going well and the all clear from the physio this morning I’ll definitely be at Combe Syd hoping for some luck to get near to this finish that I blagged last year..!

See you there.
Rich T

Credited images thanks to WDC Cuts, check them out!

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