Recovery from injury can feel like two steps back

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Rider at the top of the Gatineau hills

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Coming back after an injury can seem harder than doing nothing.

“I recently had a serious accident. A tib-fib fracture. They went in with a rod through the tibia, right through the inside of the bone. Screws here and here. And then a plate here and some more screws and another plate over here. I was just walking home on a flat sidewalk. The doctor was surprised because that injury is more associated with a high velocity impact. Skiing, or something like that. The bike ride is because I am finally finding legs, but it is also physio. I was told cycling and swimming are the only two sports I can partake in right now. They are both low impact sports. Recovery is anywhere from six to 24 months. But the problem I am having right now is, I get badly swollen. By this afternoon, this entire lower leg area will get swollen equally as large as my knee. And then it his just pain because of all the scar tissue in there as well. This is about my fifth ride out since the accident. My first ride up here. Even after the riding it still swells. They say it will get better over time, but I suppose time is all I have on my side right now.” Continue reading

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Icebergs, hot knives and butter

@Barry Sandland/TIMB - Cyclist at the top of Gatineau Hills

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – A great view from the top of the Gatineau hills.

“I am a satellite imagery analyst and analyse the images we get for the conditions of the ice in the Canadian arctic, the NorthWest passage and the entire east coast of Canada, as well. We monitor ice conditions and icebergs and all that. And we run down to the American side a little as well. Especially this year. They have a lot of ice on their coast. They are not used to that. We are monitoring unusual conditions. Nowadays we have lots more satellite and data and there are a lot more ships into the Northwest passage. There was a European ship that went back and forth all summer. He was pressing through ice all summer long and he went through it like a hot knife through butter.”

Being best at your second choice

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Robyn Angeles and her time trial bike

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Ontario women’s masters champion and podium at the national level, Robyn Angeles is one of Canada’s elite cyclists.

“I am a cyclist-pro cyclist. I guess if I wanted to be the best in any sport,  I wish it were cyclo-cross, but I am too heavy – and so I am not a good cyclo-crosser.  But I have always been good at road racing and always been good at time-trialling. So last year at the Masters National Championships, I was second in the time-trial. As long as it is pretty flat, I can go pretty fast. And in the road race, I was third. That is national. In Ontario I am provincial champion. And I qualified in Denmark for the UCI UWCT world championships in Denmark this year.” Continue reading

To helmet or not to helmet – a constant presence

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Woman and her bicycle safety equipment

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Vest and helmet as the constant

“I did not wear a hemet and then I heard about a friend of mine who had an accident. And I kind of value my brain. So I spent quite a bit of money and got one that fits and had lots of ventilation. It took me a long time to get used to it because I used to feel claustrophobic. But now I would not go out without it. Funny, though, because they tell you sometimes it gives you a false sense of security and I go faster and I think, ‘I have a helmet on’ and if I fall .. and I go fast down these hills.”

So, there is this bicycle story about an old axe

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Woman with her vintage bike in Ottawa

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – If you keep your bike long enough, you get the best comparisons.

“Everything is functional. It has quick release wheels so I can get into a car, if I need to. But then, I take my wheel with me often, so if somebody does get through this lock, they cannot ride away on my bike. There are bikes out there that cost thousands. I would be so afraid my bike would be stolen. I keep this looking kind of ratty, with tape and stuff. And I keep it that way so nobody wants to steal it. So I just put money in every year to keep it tuned up. I just use the bike to get around on nice days. And this bike is 35 years old. It is a good frame but it is the only thing that has really stayed the same. I have had to replace cables and tires and still it is a good bike. As the old adage goes, ‘We have had this axe in our family for 150 years and we have only had to change the handle twice and the blade once’.”