Jeppe Nygaard: No Trans Provence this time round…

The digital ink wasn’t dry on my last blog before I had a trip over the handlebars resulting in a shoulder subluxation and a fair bit of damage — you know it is a fair whack when bruising is still hanging around four weeks later.

Ironically I am on the train to Glasgow to get the first available MR arthrogram scan on the day I was supposed to load up the van and head for the airport, Nice and Trans Provence. I have been looking forward to this for six months and it has been a mental challenge to deal with it and find a way forward.

Tweed Valley sniper root

Everything was on point for TP. I have never been fitter and my riding was in a good spot for the last four weeks of training aiming to enjoy trails in spring conditions and bag a few new tops in the Highlands.

Jeppe’s x-ray showing shoulder subluxation

I was out showing some Tweed Valley gold to Danish mates when a sniper root took me out on ‘Community Service’. A trip over the bars ended with shoulder partially knocked out of the socket resulting in a bit of screaming and pain. It luckily popped back on its own when I got up from the dance floor. A&E x-rays showed nothing broken, but unfortunately doesn’t say anything about tendons and soft tissue, which both my physio and the consultant is little worried about.

WTF? I’ve ridden that trail many times and wasn’t in any of the tricky parts but I violated Barlow’s 3rd law: ‘Go light over the roots’ (1st and 2nd being ‘Ride your bike’ and ‘Learn to manual’, respectively).

The useless ‘what if’ scenario of having gone ‘light’ or even manualling would suggest a save and a much better outlook on the rest of 2017. Please learn from this and keep working on technique so it becomes second nature, it may keep you on your bike one day.

Pulling out isn’t easy or is it?

I the first few weeks there was hope, or denial, depending on your point of view. Today it is pretty obvious that I couldn’t take on TP, let alone do a regular ride as the shoulder barely can get into the attack position, without considering the load and jarring from a full run.

Training Peaks status showing the drop in fitness from much lower training load

Focus was to keep it together in case it rapidly improved once the body was over the first stage of self repair. I spent a lot of time loosing sleep grumbling if I could still go, should I still go and what where the risks? Along with this was the pain knowing that TP entries doesn’t exactly hang on the trees, basically as rare as a snowball in hell. It also meant ditching a good buddy to do it alone (I’m sure he’ll manage). After numerous discussions with professional, friends, coach and my ever-supporting wife I realised that I was trying to get others to make the decision for me and it was locking me from focusing on recovery. I actual felt worse about simply not riding my bike at all. Suddenly missing TP was easy. I realised I could take the risk of having a lot of pain and risking prolonged injury by racing, or give up the race to focus getting back to riding. One thing is making it work for a few 5 minutes runs, another thing is six days of hard riding. The risk of becoming a passenger rather than a rider was just too high.

Rab was a big help in keeping focus on things we could actually do something about. He also helped me regain the perspective to focus on recovery, to ensure that this doesn’t come back an haunt me with repeat injuries.

Moving Forward and Staying Positive

After the usual mucking about with the medical system and thanks to the fortunes of medical insurance I have scans and a specialist lined up. Unfortuntaley the physiotherapy doesn’t seem to be quite enough and we need to figure out how bad it is. Maybe I am just being impatient as usual and expecting too much…

Good luck to all who made it to TP. Go steady and enjoy. I will be back!

Image of Dirt School founder Chris Ball tackling the Trans Provence back in 2013 — PC Sven Martin