To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

Steve’s Super Cool Recovery Blog: So I Crashed Again

In his second dispatch on recovering from a shattered clavicle, team rider Steve Rousseau rides outside, finds his legs and shreds his ass (see part I here):

Look, I crashed again. It’s okay. I’m okay. Maybe don’t tell my doctor okay? My chain slipped off while I was sprinting for the New York state line and luckily the worst thing that happened was that I skidded across the road on my ass for a solid 15 meters, and ruined a Garneau Course skinsuit and my right buttcheek.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s rewind to the good part.
In late April I started physical therapy. In my first session my therapist moved my arm around, and she, and all the nearby therapists, were just awestruck by how flexible my shoulder was. (I’m going to assume this was because I was a bit of a rebel and started not wearing my sling a few weeks before I started therapy). 
“Wow, this looks very good,” they all said. And I could tell that they meant it. I felt like Frodo waking up after destroying the One Ring in Mount Doom. I did it, I made it through surgery and all the pain. Now I just had to walk my left arm up a wall like a spider and lift a 2-lb dumbbell. I joked with friends that I was going to be the World’s Best Physical Therapy Patient. 
This involved going to therapy, working really hard to do all the exercises properly, and then remembering to also stretch three times a day. The pros call this “taking your rehab seriously.” When I saw my orthopedic surgeon again, he moved my arm around and started laughing. “I can’t believe how quickly this is healing.” And I could tell that he meant it.

I asked him when I could ride outside again. It’s important to do this because your doctor is not a mind reader. He told me there was nothing I could do — outside of falling on it again — to hurt the bone. It wasn’t exactly the emphatic “Yes” I was hoping for, but good enough for me. I could ride outside again. 
The sheer elation of being able to do something I haven’t been able to do for over a month was replaced by a new and exciting fear that I’d crash again and bring myself back to square one.
Yeah, that feeling never goes away. It’s like breaking a LEGO model you’ve spent days creating and then trying to put it back together. There are bits and pieces that are still definitely intact — maybe your ability to suffer or handle the bike is still there  — but you still have to put it all back together. Maybe riding over bumpy pavement freaks you out now, which means you can’t carry as much speed into a corner as you’d like. Or maybe your chain slips off mid-sprint and now you can’t even trust your bike to respond when you want to pedal hard. 
So yeah, I crashed. The first thing I thought, after realizing that I hadn’t broken anything, was “Wow, I’m glad I got that out of the way.” But the truth is I didn’t get it out of the way. I can ride a bike outside, but it’s not fun. Everything and everyone looks like a threat. I’m torn between wanting to ride hard and as fast as I used to before I got hurt, and not wanting to go back to lying in bed high on painkillers, unable to even put a shirt on.
You know that, eventually, you’re going to put it all back together, but you’re not sure how or even what the end product will look like.