Saturday, 31 October 2015

Gareth's Road to Recovery

2014 started out great. Lots of sea, surf, and white water paddling ,with a healthy dose of motorbiking thrown in for good measure.

However, the end of 2014 wasn’t too great.

Having participated in a few exciting UK track days with my bright Yellow Yamaha R1 motorcycle, I decided to ship it off to Spain for a week long racetrack holiday at the Almeria Circuit in Southern Spain.

It is September, the weather is very hot (40c at times) ideal for a few beers and some pool time before we set the bikes and kit up at the track. Day one on track went very well with a scenic setting surrounded by mountains. Day two saw me complete the citing laps in the morning then it was full speed ahead, well, until I entered turn No.3, a very long left bend and half way through it my rear tyre decided to slip out from under me, it re-gripped (otherwise known as a ‘High-Side’) firing me straight up into the air like a rocket.

So after a bit of bouncing and sliding across the tarmac I finally stopped and found my bearings, got up onto my feet and noticed the bike was quite a distance away from me in the gravel. I started walking to the bike, about halfway my walk started turning into a limp followed by not being able to put weight on my left foot. The bike had miraculously stayed on two wheels and fell on its side when it ran out of momentum causing very little damage to itself. The track marshal sent an ambulance to take me back to the pits where I was checked over, everything appeared fine apart from a slightly tender ankle.

The next few days saw my leg got blacker and more swollen and I had to use crutches which I borrowed from the hotel. The foot was still not very painful but safe to say that I couldn’t ride for the rest of the week. We finally flew back to Bristol airport after and great week away, despite the slight mishap, went straight to Morriston Hospital in Swansea where X-rays diagnosed a broken ankle, a nasty displaced Talus bone fracture (the ‘ball joint’ bone your foot and shin attach too) and a snapped Lateral Malleolus (bone that sticks out the side if the ankle). An operation to insert Titanium plates, screws and pins etc followed.

The next 3 months consisted of no weight bearing, x-rays, and watching Storage Hunters on Dave. The following 3 months consisted of swelling, burning skin and physio.

In February 2015 I decided to get the pushbike out (quite rare) and make use of the Swansea Valley cycle network as I found cycling was so much better than trying to walk anywhere.
Then in April 2015 I finally got to go paddling. I took my Ride Surf Kayak to Rest Bay, Porthcawl for some fun 2ft waves (which was well overdue!) followed by some very rusty paddling on the Tawe, CIWW and surfing. My confidence was growing again after each session.

It is now November 2015, I am making the most of being mobile again and participating in my favourite discipline of surf kayaking as much as possible. Also the cycling has progressed into a full on addiction to mountain biking, not what I thought i’d be doing one year on but the ankle feels great.

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