“I was struck from behind by a car that lost control, ended up under the car severely injured and screaming.”
Congratulations to Michelle who was awarded: Ridewiser Rider of the Year 2017.
Michelle originally participated in Ridewiser Ergo training sessions over 10 years ago and has recently returned to Tuesday night classes. She has been a staunch advocate for cycling as a better way of life and always has the next cycling goal in mind.
Thanks very much for your enthusiasm Michelle, you are incredible and you know that I think so I’m sure! There will be more inspired people through releasing this article which I hope empowers you even more to go further, stronger, smarter, safer and faster on your journey back to full power.
What a hurdle to overcome.
Rob Crowe OAM
The fragility of the cyclist.
Heading out with a close friend for coffee at 11am on a Sunday morning. Slight drizzle but the roads in the area were well maintained, and divided road had three lanes each way and a 40kph speed limit. As a seasoned Audax cyclist I was aware of the need to be seen and had the front light and both back lights turned on (with well-maintained batteries) as well as reflectors and was wearing a bright yellow rain jacket. In the words of a dear friend, I was ‘lit up like a Christmas tree’. I was cycling at the far left of the lane nearest the footpath, a lane that had a few cars parked and therefore the safest possible place on the road.
However with the potentially lethal combination of bad weather, bad driving, and bad luck timing, even when you’re doing everything you can to be seen, you can still be hit. I was struck from behind by a car that lost control, ended up under the car severely injured and screaming.
The long road to recovery.
Fast forward 18 months, four operations, more hospital visits and specialists than I care to count and I was finally able to move all my limbs with a minimum of pain, considering myself lucky that none of the extensive external or internal injuries would limit my ability to live a relatively normal life. So here I was, finally physically able and desperately wanting to get back on a bike however my mind screamed “NOOOOO!”. I was faced with the question: how do I get from severe PTSD back onto the road? How do I rebuild the engine that used to regularly take me on 200km rides when I couldn’t even face clipping into the cleats?
I had taken Ridewiser Ergo classes with Rob Crowe in the past when training for major events like the Audax Alpine Classic, Around the Bay etc. and coincidentally in August 2016 Rob left me a message to say they were having a special offer and was I interested. I dared to ask myself: could this be the start of the road to recovery?
Ridewiser Ergo classes always appealed to me because they emulate riding conditions, focusing on both strength and endurance. You find yourself in a group of cyclists of all levels competing only against themselves and focusing on getting themselves to be the best they can be. It’s a safe and very private individual environment where you still feel part of a team.
So there I was. Day one. Standing on the threshold of the room, shaking, terrified, surrounded by Ridewiser Ergo bikes. I forced myself to walk across the room to where Rob was smiling next to a bike which had been set up to best suit my personal needs and I clipped in. I told myself: step one complete, and from here it just gets easier.
The road to the road.
I have been doing Ridewiser Ergo classes for 6 weeks now, improving and rebuilding my cycling engine from the ground up, including all systems checks: coordinated limb movements, deeper breathing, complimentary muscle activation, circular pedal-stroke tuning, speed development, improved cadence, graduated resistance loads, exposure to threshold efforts, explosive power-blasting in short bursts, endurance maintenance – all the elements I’ll need on the road! Personal measurements taken in each class show me how very much I’ve improved and still continue to improve.
The road outside is still many months away, but every Ridewiser Ergo class I do breaks down the barriers and fears; my confidence is building, I’m getting faster, stronger, tougher.
Would I have gotten onto the road without this particular routine? Possibly, but the Ridewiser Ergos have allowed me to bring forward the time-frame radically and train my body to be the best it can be when I (er, for want of a better term…) finally hit the road.
I would strongly and unhesitatingly recommend Rob’s Ridewiser Ergo classes to anyone – from aspiring top-end athletes to recovering amateurs. They literally changed my life.
Bravely written by Michelle Hendrie
Michelle Hendrie is a business IT architect, did Around the Bay 10 times, was Audax President and finished the Flèche Opperman 320km