Best Company.jpg
EDITORIAL

When, Not If.

Words Andrew Major
Photos JacVenture
Date Jan 24, 2022
Reading time

Don't "Last Lap" Yourself

Many years ago, when I first moved to the North Shore, I hooked up with some folks on the NSMB.com Forum to do some shuttle laps on Mt Seymour. It was the good-and-bad old days and every sort of rig and attire you can imagine was present, from me wearing a bucket on my single-speeded Balfa MinuteMan to a dude with a Monster T-equipped Rocky RMX wearing the full gladiator package. Shuttling wasn't really my thing even back then, but somehow we all managed to ride together and have a bunch of fun.

A couple runs in while re-setting the crew, one of the fellows innocently suggested we should "do one more lap" and then call it a day. I was halfway through nodding my agreement when another member of our party came stomping over and grumpily retorted something along the lines of "DO NOT LAST LAP US!" and then "now we either have to do at least a couple more or it's time to roll and get a beer." I had never come across the concept before, and it was explained to me thus: the last lap is always the last lap anyway, but saying it out loud is inviting catastrophe. As if voicing the option ensures the outcome one way or another.

It was a bit of a moment, but mountain biking has always been filled with folks with big feelings and interesting superstitions so I filed the whole event away under 'Uncouth Moments On Group Rides With Strangers' and moved on to some beers. I can't even remember the name or face of a single rider who was there. But today, I'm sitting in my daughter's room while she keeps me company by playing Lego, preparing for months of being patient and looking back on that moment with half a laugh. Having fully last-lapped myself yesterday, I suddenly find that I’m a disciple of the concept.

Achilles Andrew NSMB JacVenture (2).jpg

Foot Out, Flat Out. Well, actually in this case it's 'Foot Out, Get Out.'

Achilles Andrew NSMB JacVenture.jpg

I am actually laughing in this photo, thanks to my friend Jac sharing a wonderfully dark sense of humour.

Achilles Andrew NSMB JacVenture (3).jpg

At least I have some picturesque North Shore backgrounds for these radical descending shots.


I had never come across the concept before, and it was explained to me thus: the last lap is always the last lap anyway, but saying it out loud is inviting catastrophe. As if voicing the option ensures the outcome one way or another.

Life being what it is, I had everything in the bag to complete my review of the Chameleon MX except for a couple of riding shots. Conditions were perfect to portray the bright yellow bike against the background of some dark, dank North Vancouver forest and off we went. I even f***ing said that I was planning for this to be my wrap up ride on the #HotForMullet bicycle. Nice move, Andrew. Way to be that guy.

And how I wish I had an epic crash story to tell. Some green-means-grip log ride, greasy rock-armoured descent, or maybe a blown corner due to epic and impressive speed. But I don't. I simply stepped backward, put my foot down, and was hit with a flash of pain. If it makes sense, it actually hurt so much that it really didn't hurt at all. I sat down, I stood up, I sat down. My ankle felt very weak. I looked at Jac. There were three of her arranged by height and blurriness from left to right. We talked a bit. I closed my eyes, and when I woke up she was on the phone ordering me a bus.

I liken it to rebooting a computer because when I woke up I was normal. My calf was wicked sore and my ankle region was on fire but my brain function had returned. Using the bike as a crutch we made our way down the trail, keeping me focused on the task at hand by laughing with some dark humour and bad crash stories of years past. When the slope was less steep I could coast with one foot on the pedals - Foot Out, Flat Out - and for climbs and steeper descents I just sort of hobbled along. If I was self diagnosing in the moment I would have told you I had a bad sprain.

Best Company.jpg

I've received everything from bad dad jokes ("when will your Achilles heal?") to test writing suggestions like best mods for crutches, min-maxing your rehab experience, or finding someone else with size 43 feet but a gimped left so we could co-review shoes. I appreciate the gallows humour. Really. This shot is from a brief stretching break on the journey home.

I don't have much in the tank in terms of pending gear reviews, but you'll certainly see some from me coming up. I also have some long-long term reviews I've been meaning to find the time to write - the universe provides, am I right? That aside, I'm sure I'll have plenty to write about in the hopefully-not-more-than-six-months that I'll be off my bike. I've heard some scary stories about recovery times over a year. At this point I'm waiting to see a specialist so I don't know if I'm a candidate for surgery or wait-and-pray healing. Even if it is the former, with our hospitals clogged with Covid, wait times are epic.

That said, I do have to say that the folks at Lions Gate Hospital were friendly, funny, and efficient. I really appreciated the level of care I received last night from people that I know are over-worked and over-stressed and I'm choosing to take it as a positive omen for things to come. On that note, I also have to shout out my friend Dr. Smillie, who took time out of a brutally long day to prepare me with hard facts and a few laughs for a process that I know is going to try my patience.

And look, I can't complain too much. I've had a good run without any prolonged time off my bike in years. I'm just paying for that now, and obviously should have read the fine points about variable interest. Joking aside, I know plenty of folks get hurt worse than I have while riding their mountain bikes and that a lot of us - maybe even a majority of us - will experience some significant time off our mountain bikes at some point in our lives. As many people have said to me, when it comes to a real injury "it's when, not if." What's crazy is that we're at Day 2 and I'm already jonesing SO HARD for a ride. I can hear my bike calling to me right now (sorry boy).

Have to say I appreciate the help from my friends and family getting out and getting sorted. My reduced mobility is certainly going to impact people other than myself, especially my daughter and my wife, and it's lovely to have their support anyway. I appreciate any experience that you can share from dealing with a ruptured Achilles. I'm a big fan of gallows humour, and I already have friends sending me cheeky "You Just Missed The Best Ride Ever" messages so there's that too. I've also had endless "standing offers" of help - always accompanied with "no pun intended" - which has been so touching. And if it is a matter of 'When, Not If' I have to say that I couldn't ask for better backup than I have.

Cheers!

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Comments

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+7 Andrew Major kcy4130 Andy Eunson khai mrbrett Todd Hellinga IslandLife

My standing offer, stands. 

I will deliver anything you need, via a geared, electric bicycle. I promise I won't blab about it publicly, or post photos, or anything like that .

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 kcy4130 Cooper Quinn IslandLife

I have to sit down before I get all defensive. I have no beef with your electrified car replacement! 

Hahaha. Thanks for your standing offer. It’s not something I’d squat on.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Andrew Major Vik Banerjee kcy4130 Andy Eunson Greg Bly

Ohhhhh dude. Ouch. Just reading about that made my 20 year old achilles injury flare up. You'll find out from your doc about the severity of the rupture, and that will dictate surgery or not, most likely. I had a severe noninsertional tendinitis, where the tendon sheath got super inflamed and kind of frayed the tendon to buggery, courtesy of three days hiking seismic lines in carbon fiber soles at the first Transrockies. Not even a tear, and it took me down for a while. Surgery was not necessary in my case but it was about 10 weeks of therapeutic boot wearing, heel lifts, and being really fucking careful about walking up or down stairs, before I was allowed to even start PT. Lots of PT and massage followed. And then it was another few months of being super careful about how I walked or rode, and not doing anything droppy or jumpy, before I felt like the tendon had recovered enough to use somewhat normally. The knots in the tendon took a few years to go away, though, and there's still a lump in there that I can feel after heavy days hiking steeps, but it all works. Patience will be your friend here!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 kcy4130

Thanks Mike!

Reply

Poz
Poz
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Dogl0rd Andrew Major Cr4w Luix

Ahhhh the last lap curse. I’ve been trying to teach my 9 year-old this sage advice that applies to our sports. 

Get well! And some Crutch-mod or min-max recovery articles would be welcome!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Luix Poz

Cheers! Have already swapped out the stock (AWFUL) grips. Haven't decided if I'm done or maybe I'll try a few more different options. It is nice that they're 7/8" (22mm) moto bar standard like bikes.

Yeah, better to internalize it at 9-years old when you're still made of rubber.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Cr4w

I had Oury grips in bright green on my crutches. I know a couple people that tore their Achilles. One did it skiIng when he hit a rail that was left on the side of a trail but had been buried by snow. He saw it late and got his skis up so he didn’t break both shins. Pretty sure he was skiing next season. Another did hers playing squash. I’m thinking she was 8 months before playing again but I’m not sure.

Reply

khai
khai
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Andrew Major Cr4w Luix Timer

I'm thinking you could at least wire & glue some push-on grips onto a sick knee scooter and maybe test a few other bits using the same rig.  Bars/stems/bottle cages/maybe even sealant depending on what sort of tyres those things run...  Clothing & eyewear, too!  I've seen unicycles out on the trails, but never a knee scoot - you could be breaking new ground!  (And when your ankle feels good and you're ready to hurt something else take it to the pump track/skate park!)  Actually, installing grips on crutches would be a legit massive improvement...

Riverdancing is overrated and your basketball career wasn't going anywhere anyway - heal up and we'll *test ankle braces together.  

*wear test, not crash test

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 blackhat

HAHAHA, Basketball career never got off the ground but take it easy on the trashing of Riverdance! 

I've spent way too much time researching Achilles support options and then wondering how they'd be to pedal in. Absolutely future food-for-thought.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Andrew Major hairymountainbeast Pete Roggeman Greg Bly

The last lap thing is from alpine skiing. It’s expensive, the chair takes you up anD people tend to want to "get their money’s worth" and ski all day. Tired legs and body and mistakes happen on the last run. Plus. No one skis after they get hurt so it’s always their last run. In 99 on my last run I blew out my ACL, MCL and tore the meniscus in my left knee. Morning. Second run. These things heal. Takes time. Do what the doctors and physiotherapists say. Push a little bit not too much.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andy Eunson

Thanks Andy!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Andy Eunson

Skiing is where I first heard about 'last lap' but we ported it over to bike park riding soon after that.

Reply

Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Poz MTB_THETOWN Cr4w

Best of luck with the recovery. I always say, "let's do two more laps and skip the last one..."

At my workplace, which includes a factory, a guy recently lost a piece of his finger after a lapse of attention working at a dangerous piece of machinery. It was found on the floor and he was sent to the hospital. The secondhand story I heard was that the hospital kept him waiting and then sent him home without trying to reattach it because they were too overloaded (COVID patients). Take a guess what country I live in (eye roll).

Meanwhile I have been sending it and I wonder if I should reconsider, but probably won't reconsider. As long as I don't do any last laps there is nothing to fear.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Dogl0rd

Thanks! Yeah, I haven't decided on how I'm going to phrase my riding plans - obviously need to keep the trail gods guessing. 

That's crazy, and sad. I've been warned that even if the specialist decides surgery is the way to go I could be well past the point of return on healing it myself before I could even get a date. We'll see. 

Sh*t happens. Some of my friends' worst injuries were stepping off curbs or falling down their own stairs. Honestly, I wonder if I damaged it previously and this was just the proverbial final straw because I just stepped backwards off a ledge.

Reply

shrockie
Shrockie
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Dogl0rd

Totally using your "two laps" line. 

Heal up Andrew!!

Reply

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Luix Timer

"Last lap" is about focusing on the end of the ride and not on the ride itself. The moment you start thinking about how great your ride will have been your mind starts wandering instead of focusing. So there is something to jinxing.

5 days in hospital with a badly broken leg last time I did this, luckily in the beginning of covid. 

Achilles sounds even more painful. Get well soon.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Ugh. How long did it take you to get back on the bike? Luckily I’ve only had to visit the hospital and haven’t had to take any down time from my main responsibilities.

Reply

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Luix

Out of hospital to first ride around the block 3 months, 3 more to fully recover. Full strength in the leg 1 year.

Problem is, my wife does not want me to go on epic rides anymore on my own. I called her first when I went down, must have been quite a shock to her...

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 cxfahrer Greg Bly

I have ridden by myself - day, night, less trafficked trails - for ages and I know I would have made it out myself this time too. But, that said, the Said The Whale song BC Orienteering has been playing on repeat in my brain. 

It’s hard to say how gun-shy I’ll be in the future. I have responsibilities I deem more sacred than riding bikes, but I also love being in the woods and do truly believe shit happens - so it might as well happen in the forest doing what you love.

Reply

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Well it was the second time I did something stupid like that. First time with broken scapula and ribs and punctured lung I was lucky that a after a while someone found me, because my phone was broken. I couldn´t have moved a millimeter by myself. Wrong tires, wet roots etc., too fast.

With the broken leg in August 2020, there was also no way of crouching out of the middle of a lonely forest, but the phone worked and an emergency team pulled me out with an ATV and airbag.

I know that I am prone to doing stupid things and the imagination to be able to handle everything with my routine (35years of riding) grows with becoming more tired...

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, I want to write something about this at some point.

There’s a grey area between where it’s good to get yourself out (saving emergency services for others who may need them more) and where the right thing to do is accept the help you need. In my case having the fire department carry me off the mountain wouldn’t have made any difference to my outcome so I made the calculated choice to get home with the help of my friend.

If I had been solo or was hurt in a similar way to you I would not have had a second thought about calling emergency services for help. 

Just as I’ve got a routine ticking now to get my daughter to/from school but the first time a bus doesn’t show or I miss a connection I have a Rolodex of folks who’ve offered us a lift.

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

craw
Cr4w
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major kcy4130 Mammal

This might be a huge teachable moment. Think of all you'll learn about planned obsolescence and conspiracies of new standard introduction for crutches and air casts! You might have to do a shootout for the different crutch rubber feet. What type of marker works best for writing on air casts and its surprising link to Louis Riel or something. Are the handles of your crutches 22.2 and you can use bike grips? I guess you don't even like lock-ons so you'll just wire them down anyway. 

Maybe it's time for a group outing. Can we borrow a couple of these to try?  https://www.bowheadcorp.com/

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Raymond Epstein Luix Martin Andy Eunson mrbrett

It’s too bad that, like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the scores don’t count for sh*t because you definitely get a whack of bonus points for the random Louis Riel reference.

The stock grips are push-on but they SUCK. They are standard 7/8” so the experimenting with upgrades has begun.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

craw
Cr4w
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Luix

You should swap that crossbar for a piece of actual 22.2 handlebar. If you're using ergonomic grips make sure you get the sides right!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Cr4w

Planning to ditch the crutches ASAP.

Reply

MTB_THETOWN
MTB_THETOWN
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Luix

I've had a few pretty bad rolled ankles in my life, the most recent being when I slipped a pedal and rolled my foot underneath during practice for a race. I now almost always wear high tops when riding for the extra support and even add some ankle braces if shuttling. The BMX ones from Space Brace work well and I would suggest they become a part of your regular ride attire once you can get back on the bike.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Luix

Thank you, I will check out Space Brace for sure. I've been looking at a few different options for Achilles supports.

Reply

DanLees1978
Dan Lees
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 kcy4130 Luix

I know of 3 people who have torn their Achilles in similar fashion, as an example, stepping back off a ladder.

All in the 30-50 age bracket and recreational athletes.  The joys of getting older!  

You're now your riding groups "Achilles guy", I'm my riding groups "Knee guy", we also have a hip (sweet Ti upgrade) and a toe guy...

Heel up fast and well!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thank you!

Any idea of recovery times for the ladder squad?

Cheers,

Reply

DanLees1978
Dan Lees
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

6-9 months ish from memory...

Are you in a plastic "walking boot"?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Cheers!

Yes, a friendly plastic and foam leg hugs with an evil heal shim.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Looks like best case is back riding at full strength in 9-months. Looking forward to being able to swim in 8-12 weeks. Fitness and sanity aren’t that far away!

Reply

meloroast
meloroast
10 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Getting in your fitness however you can is key. I had a bad fall in July 2021 (rotator cuff - so similar prognosis wrt time to full recovery being 6-12months) and while I couldn't ride for awhile, I continued trail running/hiking as much as possible. Now I'm also in the gym to keep muscle mass up. 

Not gonna lie, first few weeks were horrid and I fell into a bit of a depression. Time went by soooooooo slowly. It became easier once the initial acute phase had passed (a month or so) and I could move the bod in other ways. 

Great you've got solid family support! Tweaking my diet to support healing and recovery were also key. Good luck and heal up soon!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months ago
+1 meloroast

Thank you! Yeah, I'm weight bearing around the house and short distances but I'm still using the crutches a lot so I gave get out and do as much distance as possible. As soon as I'm "safe" to be out of the boot I'm going to start swimming with a floatation aid (no kicking) so I can at least burn off all my excess energy. 

I don't want to get too dark, but I use mountain biking as a mental health tool (as much as I also love riding and the nerdy tech stuff that accompanies it) and have had some moments that I normally would have ridden myself out of. Thank you for sharing.

fartymarty
fartymarty
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 kcy4130 Andrew Major

Andrew, sorry to read about your achilles both here and on MEATengines.  As you say though it's not a matter of "if" but "when" and I can vouch for having too many "when" moments in my time on a bike - most from plain and simple dumbfuckery.

I guess the bright side is that you can write about "rehab", "maintaining sanity when you can't ride" and build that "wide five / sexy six" drivetrain.  Keep us posted on how you're doing - both physically and mentally.  Hope you heal up quick.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 kcy4130

I do have some bike projects in mind! But I’m starting off with getting my crutches more comfortable and getting a weather-cover made for my walking boot.

Thanks Marty.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

No worries.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Mammal

Sorry to hear about the Major accident Andrew. All the best for the recovery. My mom needed major surgery and rehab recently. Despite COVID the medical system did what they could to help her. It was not ideal, but everyone involved was caring and worked hard. I'm hopeful you'll get all the treatments you need for a return to the bike as soon as is possible given the circumstances.

Might be worth an article on MTB foot wear since you have time. Given what we do on bikes, often at speed and often on rough uneven ground we pretty much wear glorified MTB slippers. Maybe it's time to start wearing really supportive/protective footwear. Full face helmets for the feet so to speak?

If you find yourself watching e-bike shred videos on Youtube and start feeling a pull to the darkside you can always reach out for some Meat Powered support. Worst case Margarita Engines doesn't sound so bad and the .com URL is available. ;-)

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Vik Banerjee khai

I’ve been thinking about braces and shoes a lot Vik, so I’ll be trying to do the topic justice at some point.

Can’t complain about my hospital experience so far. Hopefully seeing a specialist today (the hospital called me Sunday night!) so actually “can’t complain” isn’t fair really. I’ve had a great experience.

Reply

mrbrett
mrbrett
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Mammal

Sorry to hear Andrew, but moving onward it's off to the glue factory for you ...

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 kcy4130 mrbrett

Hahahaha. Don’t give my wife any ideas. I’m enough of a patience-trying PIA with two legs.

Reply

taprider
taprider
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major kcy4130

Get a downhill fork, remove the legs from the crowns, cut the brake bridge, remove all the damping, and make crutches. Or take apart a Fox fork with a creaky CSU, or just get two Lefties to make crutches.

Anyway, get well soon

Reply

mtbman99
mtbman99
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major kcy4130

Foot injuries are the worst. I have been dealing with one for more than 10 years (that's what I get for going for a 10km run when I thought it was healed after a few months) I had a horrible bout of Syatica this year that kept me from doing almost anything for 3 months except lying on the floor and watching TV. 

Hope you heal up and get back at it. As others have said push a bit but don't go to hard or you will be thinking about that thing you shouldn't have done 10 years ago.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That sucks. Really hope a full recovery is in your future!

Yeah, I think the best advice I’ve had so far is be patient, listen to Docs and Physios.

I care more about a full recovery than a quick recovery.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 4Runner1 Andrew Major

It's ALWAYS "two more laps". Always.

Reply

chacou
chacou
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major 4Runner1

Ironic, I was just explaining the "never call last run" concept to my 5 and 7 year olds on the chair lift this weekend while skiing. I said you can only say it in past tense at the bottom, or if you're at the top you can say "I'm getting tired. let's head to the base and see how we feel." but never ever say "This is the last run", you can say "That was the last run." though. They got it, my 7 y/o daughter said at the top "Let's head down and get a waffle then see how we feel" at the end of her day, we got down and she then told me "last run dad".

Here's to a speedy recovery.

Reply

FlipSide
FlipSide
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 cheapondirt Andrew Major

Very sorry about the injury. I hope you heal up well and rapidly!

If you ever need to pump out more articles to keep the fat paychecks from NSMB rolling in, but you still can't ride, may I suggest you do more of your teardown articles? I really enjoy these! For example, I really liked the one about the RF Vault hubs. :)

Good luck with the injury!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 FlipSide

Cheers!

Was actually supposed to do a King teardown with Nice Guy Geoff today as part of a long-long term review but had to bump it for my Dr appointment. Certainly have some stuff in the works.

Reply

FLATCH
flatch
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Luix

Andrew, here’s my break down. About fifteen years ago I landed awkwardly after a drop with only the very end of my foot on the peddle. Snap! Complete rupture. Like yourself I had to find my way down the hill and that sucked a lot.

Now complete rupture meant immediate surgery. I spent two weeks in a proper cast with my foot stretched right out as to take all the pressure off the tendon. Then I spent the next six weeks in an air cast. The boot had an insole that was made of many layers. Every 4-5 days I pulled a layer off to put tension on the tendon to start stretching it. After the boot I moved to a shoe with a wedge in it. Rehab included a lot of pool time and stretching. She recommended the stationary bike, and a fair bit of time on the treadmill (flat grade). In three months I was able to go back to work, placing and finishing concrete. Here’s the worst part, first week my surgeon instructed me to only  work 4 hr days not so much to protect it but kind of abuse it a bit, get it fully stretched out. It Fucking hurt like crazy. First couple weeks were complete hell. Keep telling yourself it’s good pain, if there is such a thing. Long story short, I was off the bike for about five months. 

Oh ya, even with strength training my right calf is still significantly smaller than my left.

Might want to start out fully suspended. 😂

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I get to take a wedge out of the walking boot in two weeks. Genuinely excited! Then another every two weeks until all three are out.

Lots of time in the pool in my future. Then hopefully errands by bike before I’m thinking about trails. 

Five months to get about 80% strength or fully cleared on five months? I dare not dream I’ll be riding in five. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

FLATCH
flatch
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I think having a complete rupture was in my favour. Having it overlapped and stitched ended up giving it more strength. My surgeon said with the extra scar tissue it would be stronger than before. You should see the scar from the surgery though. 

I hope all goes well for you Andrew. Embrace the pain! Cheers🍻

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Embrace the pain

My Dr says pain is bad, but discomfort is okay. So I’m embracing the discomfort. Hahaha.

Reply

Taz123
Taz123
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major walnuts77

I managed to snap my Achilles about 5 yrs ago while stepping forward in a warm up for a volleyball game. I'm in the 30-50 range, in good shape - bike, workout, ski and no history of achilles issues. Apparently the largest percentage of achilles injuries happen from stepping out of the house onto your deck - its totally random.

I did the surgery route at Lionsgate - it all went ok. I had a full detachment (the Thompson test made be scream). 4 weeks in a half-cast, 8weeks or so in a boot where you start with heel-lifts and take one out each week. Getting the stitches out was the biggest pain for me of the whole ordeal. The biggest win for me was getting a "iwalk". Yes you look like a pirate, but you have pretty awesome mobility and two free hands for beer and wings - you can even go up/down stairs. Forget the scooter, get the iwalk. Showers are a bad idea until you can stand...

Recovery - 2 months and on a trainer while wearing the boot (I looked cool), month 3 unclipped on the trainer, clipped at 4-4.5months (being clipped was very helpful in reestablishing flexibility). 5 months on the bike (light road) and 6 was a gentle ride on Bobsled. In my case the damaged leg was my "rear" leg while riding, so the bouncing of mountain biking on flow trails with a full suspension bike was good stretching rehab. Month 6 included lots of laps of highschool league, Bobsled, empress bypass and eventually JD and Expresso - the jank is hard on the leg, so I took it really slow. I had written off the ski season (and putting my new-shaped ankle area in to a boot the first time the next October was excruciating). I got back to some light low-leg workouts at month 6 (i.e. weights), but took it very slow.

I was back to full strength in ~10 months, flexibility took time. My calves and lower leg shape are now different left to right "I'm unique", but I've managed to get strength fairly balanced. Wobble-board or bosu were very helpful (or even standing one-footed on a pillow) was good to do while watching tv.

Good luck in the recovery - feel free to message or PM me for any advice or recommendations.

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khai
khai
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

@Andrew, if you get an iWalk I'll totally buy you an eye patch (iPatch?)  

That's a promise!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Hahahaha. I’m down with whatever works for whoever and you know I don’t give two shakes what folks think about how it looks. That said, I’m already walking about - stairs etc. Have a cane for when I need it but going okay so far (knock on wood).

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walnuts77
walnuts77
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Just saw this after I wrote my comment below - I also got the iWalk and it's awesome!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks! Will hit you up when I get into the rehab phase.

I had to get a shower seat - sorry if that’s TMI for some comment browsers. I know there’s a risk getting on/off but sitting in the running water with the boot off is the one luxury I’m allowing myself. Maybe it’s dumb, obviously not recommending it to anyone else, but it’s a few minutes of sanity.

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walnuts77
walnuts77
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Martin

I ruptured my achilles in 2017 - I was 40 at the time. It was 100% ruptured but the surgeon insisted on just casting my lower leg with my toe pointed, which allows the torn ends to find each other and heal. He said that the outcome with and without surgery for someone who is otherwise healthy are roughly equal so the risk of surgery (infection, etc.) doesn't have much upside. Every case is different of course but I would guess that argument is even more applicable these days.

The cast came off after 5 weeks and I started walking with the plastic boot. I worked hard at physio and I was riding bikes (slowly on pavement) and walking Disneyland after 4 months (vacation was paid for so it was good motivation). I played in my first soccer game at 6 months but wasn't very good for another few months. It was about a year before all of the strength came back.

One thing that was a HUGE godsend while I was in the cast was this strap-on peg leg called the iWalk: https://iwalk-free.com/. Unlike crutches or a knee scooter, you can walk hands free and you can go up and down stairs. I walked a tradeshow with it and even threw a football at the beach one afternoon. After about 10 minutes of practice, you can almost walk normally.

Good luck with your recovery! You'll be back riding before you know it.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 walnuts77 Martin

Wow, this sounds familiar! 40 years old, full rupture, I’m in a walking boot but same story re. no surgery. 

I hope my timeline is as awesome as yours! Would give anything to be pedaling a bit with my daughter at 4-6 months.

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walnuts77
walnuts77
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Walking right away in the plastic boot should give you a good head start! As others have said, work hard at the physio and the this whole episode will be nothing more than a memory and a great article in your back catalog.

Cheers!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 walnuts77

Thanks for the positive energy!

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UFO
UFO
10 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

My brother full ruptured his Achilles a couple years back. I was so sure he would have gotten surgery as that was the way from my past life experience, and my ex-ER doc friend figured the same. But low and behold the current science tells us that outcomes for surgery and natural healing are basically the same. My mind was blown at how a fully ruptured tendon can reconnect itself.

All the best, my brother had a fairly smooth healing journey and I suspect yours will be much the same or better.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months ago
0

Thanks! Yeah, I was shocked I didn't need surgery, but if I can get 99% of the strength (of a perfect surgery) with none of the potential complications, I'm all in!

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brad-sedola
Brad Sedola
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Vik Banerjee

Heal up Andrew.

I'd take your injury over any of mine. I've recovered from most of my various fractures over time; femur, spine, wrists, elbow. Each of those have been trying to tell me to maybe slow down a little and that I'm not young anymore. The last event was a year and a half ago and made me simply appreciate to be on a bike and that's something I'd like to be able to do with some reasonable comfort for years to come. I've overcome the individual injuries, but the cumulative effect is catching up.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Brad Sedola Vik Banerjee

Cheers Brad!

Yeah, it's hard to feel too sorry for yourself when you read some of the gnar that folks have come back from in this thread. It's all relative!

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PowellRiviera
PowellRiviera
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Oh that sounds awful. Heal up man.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Luix

Thank you!

I know a lot of folks that have been through way worse, so I don't want to oversell it. But yeah, Achilles rupture is on the not recommended list.

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realtortechguy
realtortechguy
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Sorry to hear Andrew. Wishing you fast healings. This sucks! 😔

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thank you!

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Reuben.Sandwich
Reuben.Sandwich
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Two rules of shuttling:

  • Talk in the car 
  • Never say "one more lap"

The first should be obvious but you'll get way more riding in if you leave your epic tales of shred for the lift, not the parking lot. Also appeases the neighbours if your trail finishes in suburbia.

If you must, and mean if you really really reeeeeaaaalllly must seek out an extra ride; ask who's up for say, 5 more runs (depending on the turnaround time of said runs) then call it a day at the completion of the 1st of 5. If the fateful phrase has already been said, then you need to pull up stumps and head for the pub as it's too late, the curse is already apon you.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 khai Pete Roggeman Luix Cr4w

I almost never shuttle but I'll still give you an AMEN! 

You could probably add:

  • If you're going to get hurt, do it in such a way that you can be the shuttle driver until you heal up.

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wishiwereriding
John Keiffer
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Hope you recover well and heal fast.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thank you John!

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Bikeryder85
Bikeryder85
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I hope you heal up quick Andrew!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thank you!

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kcy4130
kcy4130
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Brutal! Are you going to review adaptive ebikes in the interim ? Like that Bow head 3 wheeler. Best of luck keeping sane while off the bike.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 kcy4130 Carlos Matutes

Hahahaha. No, I’ll leave the adaptive bike reviews to folks who have a foundation of experience and a real need for them.

I do have to say, the tech is very cool.

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delta5
delta5
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Good luck, heal fast! I've been teaching my kids that if the words "one more run" or "last run" leave anyone's lips, time to pack it up. If I'm thinking about going home, I'm already too tired to be doing any more. Hard earned lesson: all but one of my hospital visits were on last laps.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I mean, if it’s a proper injury it’s always the last lap right? Hahaha. 

Yeah, apparently some of us (me) need to learn from personal experience.

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mammal
Mammal
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

My good buddy has been dealing with this for about a year and a half now, and finally decided to schedule surgery for next month, when they called him about a surprise opening.

Anyway, he uses a moto knee brace he got from Fortnine and still rides mtb and moto (after a decent recovery period). I can't comment on whether that's a recommended thing, but it seems to have worked for him, and only required a couple/few weeks off the bike.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mammal

Yeah, it’s no proper mountain biking for nine months and maybe some light trails with my kid in six if I want to get back to 100% without going the surgery route (which actually has a similar timeline from what I understand, it just forces you off your feet.

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slimchances57
slimchances57
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Aww, sorry man. I hope your recovery is quicker and easier than you can possibly imagine.  AND, to paraphrase one of those silly stupid, little driving safety PSA's, "Most cycling injuries happen within 25 feet of your bike."

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Ha! In my world all cycling injuries happen with 25’ of my bike… but I guess if I come back REALLY strong Rampage is still a possibility?!

Cheers!

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4Runner1
4Runner1
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Effin’ last lap! 

Sorry to hear of your misfortune.

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gibspaulding
gibspaulding
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

One of my earliest memories of riding is of watching someone say "One more try" and then immediately proceed to knock himself out at a skatepark.  I don't even remember what they were trying to do, but I do remember my dad sharing a bit of sage wisdom about never "last lapping" yourself.  I've been pretty suspicious ever since.

Just this summer, I knocked myself out on one of my first rides in a brand new helmet.  After replacing the helmet I crashed in, I made sure to scuff up the new one before riding again!

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khai
khai
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

>>   After replacing the helmet I crashed in, I made sure to scuff up the new one before riding again!

There's a tradition in motorcycle roadracing where upon receiving new leathers, a rider will often have friends/pit crew drag him or her down the asphalt for a ways to "bed them in" - hopefully delaying the "high speed test".  I wouldn't do the same with a helmet, but I do tend to "drop test" kneed pads and give the elbows a good whack.  It's kind of like testing a stud finder before using it, to make sure it works...  ;p

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I’ve heard of the scuffed helmet tradition. Not surprised it’s a superstition that originated from Moto.

Nice to hear you learned from your dad’s advice instead of having to last lap yourself!

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Losifer
Carlos Matutes
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Oof. Sorry to hear about your injury, here’s to a full and speedy recovery.

I last lapped myself during practice before a DH race in 2k- broken sternum, 3 broken ribs, lacerations to the liver, spleen, and a kidney.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks Carlos. That’s freakin’ gnarly - how long were you off the bike?

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hairymountainbeast
hairymountainbeast
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Sorry to hear the bad news Andrew. I'm 6 weeks into recovering from getting a new ACL installed, and 8 weeks out from a type 2 shoulder separation, and I understand the restless feeling. Fortunately, I was able to take care of things before the new Covid surge hit Bellingham! I've been really enjoying your articles in my down time! Never considered upgrading the grips on my crutches, that's a good one. Looking forward to more excellent articles from you in the future! Just remember that nothing lasts forever. Here's to a speedy recovery!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks!

New year, new me. Hoping to be swimming every day somewhere in the 8-12 week window so I can work through my insanities.

Hope you’re back on the bike soon!

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hbelly13
Raymond Epstein
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Sucks. Been there. A few times. Heal up soon.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thank you!

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slimshady76
Luix
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Healing vibes going your way Andrew! 

I have fallen a victim to the last lap curse too many times to ignore it. Twice on the same downhill track, both times near the start, and without other means of getting down the track than actually riding. At the time I reached the bottom, I was mostly riding from memory, as the tears of pain blinded me. 

Three cracked ribs and a minor internal bleeding after, I know better.

I have a couple of basketball playing friends who severed their Achilles tendon too, and in general it took them around 9 months to be "in the zone" again. They highlighted the importance of having a good physiotherapist on board, and sticking to the exercise routines to the letter.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Luix

I’m weeks from physio and really looking forward to it!

Yeah, Dr today told me if I do good listening I should be back to full strength in 9-months.

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niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Sorry to hear about your injury, Andrew. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks Niels!

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roil
roil
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Find yourself a good PT. You're going to become imbalanced and tight as a result of favoring different movement patterns and postures to compensate for the injury. A good PT will do movement screens to assess your progress. There's more than just fixing your Achilles.

On the bright side, this can give you the opportunity to correct and strengthen your entire body. You could come back a stronger rider than before. 

I took up daily stretching at the start of lockdown. As a lifelong runner, my hips were tight. I didn't know what I was missing until I experienced the improved mobility on the bike.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I’m looking forward to rehab - and a lot of swimming.

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syncro
Mark
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Maybe this is a good thing as you'll have the time to take up that competitive knitting career you've always lusted after.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Watching my gramma knit was like watching Wayne Gretzky play hockey… I knew I could do anything well enough recreationally but pro-knitter was not in my future.

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martin
Martin
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Sorry to read that Andrew! Having had 3-4 stupid accidents like that, each of which has kept me away from the bike for a few weeks to a few months, I can totally relate. 

Like others have said, letting the time to properly heal is key, then be really disciplined with the physio and exercices (don't be like me, ha!). I've always used those moments to do things that I never had time to do otherwise and ended up being real busy. And also, the last injuries I've had were when stopping to take a break or going at 3kph, but it still made me re-evaluate general risk management in my riding. It also reminded me to be really mindful, concentrated and in-the-moment all the time when I'm riding (or stopping!), even if it's on an easy well-known trail.

Anyway, go write, read, sort out pictures, get some good family time and take it easy. I'd help you shovel the driveway or some other standing-up chores, but unfortunately I'm too far.  I'll send healing vibes from the other side of the country and will wait for your next piece. Cheers!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Martin

Cheers! I have a bad history of not fully following the recommendations of Dr/Physio but I don’t feel it will be like that this time around. I am highly motivated to get healed back as close to 100% as possible and I recognize that my Wolverine-level healing factor is long gone.

If it snows again I’ll be out shoveling in my walking boot. I don’t let other people carry my weight when I’m perfectly capable of carrying it myself. But I do appreciate the offer!

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Got me thinking about mortality, which is healthy, so thank you.

In grade 5 I tore a ligament on top of my foot jumping off a snowbank. My A-hole teacher interrupted the next class twenty minutes in to tell me to stop crying. Not sure what was worse, that or going through Science World on crutches with the upper body strength of a 10-year-old bookworm. I don't know, just trying to relate.

Hope you heal up well and fast!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt

Ugh, and cheers.

Think today was my last day on crutches and won’t miss them. Did have a good laugh though when a friend (who last had them combined with the “upper body strength of a 10-year-old bookworm”) asked how I was getting along.

All that single speeding out of the saddle is good for something!

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FlipFantasia
Todd Hellinga
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

ugh! that's a tough one, hope you have a quick and drama free recovery!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks Todd, no hope of it being quick but fingers crossed for drama free!

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jonas-dodd
Jonas Dodd
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Speedy recovery Andrew, and I'm sure it'll be no time at all before we run into each other again at the top of seventh and you'll tell me I'm still over-biking it!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Hahaha. That doesn’t sound like me. Cheers!

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Skeen
Skeen
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Healing vibes! I had my “worst” crash after 25 years of mtb just a few months ago. I got back on my bike in a very limited capacity in just a few weeks but still healing 4 months later. Was wearing knee pads but they were old, worn out, and slid down when i needed them most. Keep your gear fresh I learned (again).

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Ouch. Yeah, nice helmets and good armour look expensive until you compare them to the alternative.

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IslandLife
IslandLife
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

After snowboarding for 30 years... the "last lap" thing is ingrained into my, as well as my friends and family's, psyche.  It is know.  It is the lap which must not be named.

But I'm also a connoisseur of dark humour and have been known to loudly proclaim to a large riding group, just when we're all ready to go... "Hey everyone, I have an announcement... this is our last lap!!  Last run of the day!  It was a great day, but it's time to go home and this is definitely the last one... whoo boy, can taste those beers already!!  Everyone ready for their very last, final, definitely not doing any more, run of the day??!!  Here we go... oh and beee caaarrefull, don't hurt yourself!!" ... as I ride away cackling.. haha... I always find it quite entertaining... not sure anyone else does though.

But I do have a pretty good "last try" story as well.  Was 19 years old... at the skatepark, late afternoon... had been trying to land a big pop shov over a hip.  It was time to go... called it "Ok, last one, this is the one!"  I rolled my ankle so hard it should have broken... my foot was actually on the skateboard when it rolled and my ankle hit the pavement!  Went to the hospital... doc took a quick look and was like "yep, that's broken... lets get an x-ray to see what we're dealing with."  Turned out it wasn't broken... just very badly sprained... doctor said "Too bad it's not broken... would have healed faster.."

The kicker... I and my two best friends were moving to Whistler the next fucking day!!  There was no bike park yet... but we were moving to shred the glacier and skate all summer.  We still made the move.. I somehow still made the 6.5 drive (it was my left foot and was driving an auto)... but I had to limp around the village on crutches most of the summer while my buddies were having the times of their lives on the glacier and in the skatepark... that wasn't fun.  Also, wish I still healed as fast as a 19 year old... man our bodies were like magic back then!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

I can't decide if I'm lucky it's my Achilles or not. I mean, yes it's going to take an age to heal but I'm mobile now which means I can still get my daughter around to all her stuff. The bus service is okay-enough so we're getting life done. Also catching up on some reading.

I'll know in four weeks how the healing is going. I had a daydream on the bus yesterday that the Dr told me I heal like a 19-year-old - HAHAHAHA. Fingers crossed it was a premonition.

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Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Sending healing vibes. 

We all heal at a different pace . Keep active . You will be doing easy commuter rides in another 2 months .  Because you are an active individual your body reacts faster to healing from trauma .  

6 months to a life time for full recovery is my guess.  

When the sun warms the trails this summer you will we riding again .Full send.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Greg Bly

Thanks Greg,

I'd love for you to be right!

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Oh man. I was feeling so sorry for myself after a bad ankle sprain on the 10th. Now I'm feeling lucky I didn't catch your break. Heal well, I hope there's other riding buddies for the Clairbarian. 

Mine was opposite to Last Run - right at the start of the ride I was rolling down the easy bit (my nemesis) en route to the steep tech, washed out the front tyre on the loose dusty duff and put the bike down... I think the Stealth rubber + sharp pins held my foot still while the bike twisted. 

Two weeks later and I'm not ready to ride yet, but it won't be anything like what you're facing. The fear of a long spell off the bike was strong in the beginning. 

Looking forward to the ankle brace min-max, and the tales of rapid recovery.

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Bondseye
Kevin Bond
10 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Ouch damn. Heal up fast, and stay away from the Red Bull TV Bike channel. 

At least it happened on the job. I have two friends who blew theirs jumping into pools of all things.

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AlanB
AlanB
10 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Sorry to hear this. Don't let Claire show you up too much before you're back on your bike!

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Bdcas1020@gmail.com
Bdcas1020@gmail.com
10 months, 1 week ago
0

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