2019 is beginning to fly past at a rapid rate. May has been quite a whirlwind of a month in itself, so I’ll do my best to sum it up into a few hundred words for the third edition of my monthly racer blogs… Here it goes!
So this month didn’t exactly start off on the happiest of notes for me: as I mentioned in my previous blog, I found myself in a bit of a “sticky” situation on Good Friday (how ironic) at the end of April – sitting in a heap next to the road with a massive hole in my leg and a whole lot of road rash… Far from ideal. Long story short; I was involved in a bad crash while out on a training ride with a group on the road, which resulted in me acquiring many bandages for the road rash, as well as internal and external stitches in my knee to mend the gaping hole.
The experience was both as gruesome and as painful as it sounds, and meant some forced time off the bike for about two weeks. Once I began cycling again, it took quite a while before I could generate enough mobility in my leg just to be able to stand up on the pedals, let alone sprint while standing; a technique which is crucial in any competitive racing situation.
Thankfully, I was able to receive some assistance with the rehab of my injury from the awesome people at Prime Human Performance Institute in Durban. This made the world of a difference, and also subsequently meant I could pin a race number on just a few days after having my stitches removed from my knee, to line up at the 100 Cycle Challenge Road Race in Gauteng.
I was pleasantly surprised with how my knee felt, salvaging a 7th place overall in the Elite Women’s race in the sprint finish. This was just one day after running around playing the role of spectator and bottle-feeder, for my dad and teammate – Jamie Penfold, at the 4th round of the SA Cross-Country Series in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.
Since then, I’ve been spending some quality time with my Titan Racing Cypher prototype mountain bike, and trying to get the strength back into my leg. In doing so, I’ve just been enjoying riding my bike again (not that I ever stopped really), and spending some time with friends on two wheels – I think this social aspect of the sport is really important. I’ve also taken up a bit of skills coaching while I’m on study leave leading up to my first set of university exams, which for me is quite an effective “study break”. Getting more kids on bikes and seeing their smiles when they realize how cool it is, is something that really makes me happy.
I ended off the month’s racing (which produced a grand total of two races for a change) with some suffering in A-batch of the third and final round of the KZN Provincial Cross-Country Series at