I’m into mountain biking (in a big way) and have just about got back in the saddle following a pretty bad fall at the back end of last year.
I broke my femur, which left me immobilized and in pain for months. I was lucky in that a few bits of metal and two operations put me back on the path to recovery – I know some that have smashed their thing so bad they’ve had to be pieced back together, and spent months and months laid up in hospital.
Anyway, that’s the biggest reason why you need to apply a little safety awareness if you’re a lover of sports, extreme or otherwise. Ok, I wouldn’t call mountain biking extreme, more rugged and active but believe me … falling off and smashing your femur is pretty extreme in the grand scheme of things. And did I mention the pain?!
Happily, as I said before, the right medical attention made all the difference. As did the rehab stuff after. Initially I struggled to walk. Not because I couldn’t, rather because my muscles had gone on my legs (too much lying around) and I had to rebuild them. Funny but I expanded my waistline through inactivity, yet experienced a fair degree of muscle wastage.
Anyway I had EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) in hospital, which was something I could do at home once I got a portable EMS unit. In case you don’t realize what they are, I’ll say two words: ab belt. Everyone’s heard of them and that’s (pretty much) what the machines are. They deliver electrical stimulation to targeted muscle groups.
I had to use EMS as part of my physio. I needed to stimulate tone and strength in my leg muscles in order to get back on my feet. Literally. It’s painless, and progressive providing you follow the routine correctly, and enabled me to start exercising and using the muscles as nature intended. For the record, EMS works, and if you need it for medical or fitness purposes, you can read more about them (review wise) if you click here.
Moving on from the pain and hard work, I’m about back to my old self, only now I’m a lot more conscious of how much it can hurt when you connect with the ground. I also make sure that my cell phone is fully charged, as last time I was almost out of battery and real lucky I had enough juice to call for help. In case you need reminding of the level of safety etc that you need to observe as a mountain biker, go here.
Otherwise enjoy the ride … and stay safe!
So, despite the deathly cold of the Mongolian winter we’re heading out tomorrow with the Ulaanbaatar Cycling Club. My girlfriend and I went out a few times last year with the team leader, Naran, a fifty year old Mongolian guy who’s in much better shape than me, and I found it tough going even on cool summer days.
This winter, though, the temperature will be something in the region of -20 degrees Celsius (or stupid degrees Fahrenheit). We’ll be riding out for a few hours in the direction of the Chiggis Khaan statues over near Terelj National park, and out there there really isn’t any protection from the cold if you find yourself in trouble.
The idea is that we’ll call Naran’s son if we hit mechanical trouble or injuries, but when I was out there last summer I noticed that there’s no cell phone reception. I’m not really sure about this, but there’s a bit of peer pressure involved so it looks like I have no choice.
Anyway, since we’ll be out in harsh temperatures I’m gonna have to take the best clothing I have with me. I can’t risk getting out there with sub-standard gear, so I’m taking along my Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket and Mountain Hardwear Men’s Zonal jacket.
The Zonal jacket in particular will be vital. It’s a lightweight puff jacket that allows full range of movement, which is pretty damned important when you’re cycling on icy ground. The last thing you need in that situation is a big, bulky coat. The Nano Puff is a little bigger (the Zonal really isn’t enough insulation against the cold), but it’s still pretty good for range of movement.
Anyway, wish me luck. If I don’t report back by this time tomorrow… well, there’s not much you can do, as Mongolia doesn’t really have any ambulances!