Journals Riders

James Jobber journal: what crashing has taught me

Rider journals 2020: James Jobber #04

James Jobber and five other cyclists are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. The 26-year-old has ridden UCI races across the world. This is James’ fourth journal entry…

It’s not until something like this happens you realise the dangers of not being present

Ten weeks into lockdown and some level of normality was on the cards as the bike shop where I work was due to re-open. A couple of days later, however, and I was in A & E waiting for my arm to be put in plaster. An awkward fall in training left me with a fractured radius and several stitches in my eyebrow.  

After a few days of beating myself up over something so avoidable I reset and got back to training although this time it was all indoors. I’m not a fan of training on the turbo (I spent a grand total of one hour on there in the previous year) but I thought it would be a good opportunity to test myself and see what the Zwift hype was about. I flipped my bars to give my arm something to rest on and started training as normal.

Photo: James Jobber

After a week spinning the legs out with a splint on I went back to the hospital and was told I would have another two weeks in a cast and six weeks until I would be fully recovered. With that news, I was able to break training down into sections. Two weeks of turbo training is easily manageable and given my only other focus was decorating a house I’ve just moved into, I had plenty of time to recover in between sessions. I ended up completing split days training most days with some structured efforts in the morning, a low carb lunch, followed by an easy session in the afternoon. I was able to spend a lot of time focusing on my diet and recovery which I think helped speed up the recovery process. 

Four weeks on from the crash I was back out on the roads, albeit with 38mm tyres and descending like I’d never ridden my bike before. I didn’t have the same sense of freedom cycling normally allows you but it was another important step in the process of recovery. It took me a couple of rides to find my legs and relax but I could feel me gaining more movement in my arm every day and by week five I was nearly back to normal. 

The day I crashed, I was in a bad place mentally when I left for the ride

The crash taught me several lessons, firstly about making sure you are in the right headspace when out on the bike. The day I crashed, I was in a bad place mentally when I left for the ride. With the stress of moving house and going back to work on my mind, I wasn’t 100% concentrated. I imagine most people ride with their thoughts elsewhere but it’s not until something like this happens you realise the dangers of not being present. 

Secondly, it taught me about the power of mindset in recovery. I laughed when the doctor told me bones take the same time to heal for everybody. I am 100% confident that the speed I was back up to fitness was down to me keeping active, eating well and completing stretches and exercises on my arm multiple times a day once the cast was off. There’s no miracle cure and I had age on my side but fuelling your recovery from an injury is no different to fuelling recovery from training, other than the quantity of food you need to eat. 

It made me appreciate what training and riding gives you

Finally, it made me even more grateful for the sport I’m part of and the people I have around me. It made me appreciate what training and riding gives you and weirdly it helped my motivation to train as I’d missed out on riding on the roads for four weeks. I’m sure I was a nightmare to live with for the first couple of weeks as well, so my girlfriend probably deserves as much credit for getting me through it as much as anyone!

Featured photo: Chris Auld / Band of Climbers

Find out more

James Jobber journal: how to stay motivated with moving goalposts

James Jobber journal: a guide to winter training camp locations

James Jobber journal #01: what motivates me

Rider journals 2020: introducing James Jobber

James on Twitter

James on Instagram

James’ coaching business, Upshift Vélo

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