A sprained thumb while warming up at the first cross race of the year is a little bit of a physical blow and a pretty big mental blow. Sadly this is what happened to me at the USGP in Madison about 6 weeks ago today. My fitness up until that point was decent and starting to ramp up for cross season. The funny thing is it was a routine corner I washed out in and just by reaction I put my hand out to break by fall. When it broke it all right! It felt like I destroyed all the tendons and ligaments in my right thumb to the point where I couldn't hold a water bottle with that hand and have it not feel like it was 50lbs and ovular in shape. The medical tent attempted to wrap it so I could attempt to race on it but the tape job was anything but good enough and the pain was anything but dull enough to ride. It only took 2 more practice laps after wrapping the thumb to know the racing for the day was over and quite possibly the next couple weeks.
Although I was down mentally with the thumb I made myself useful and worked the pits that day for Tristan. It's a totally new perspective not racing even though you want to so badly but still being in the middle of the race and watching it unfold. The guys in the pits are pretty hilarious and are some of the best hecklers out there. They not only rip on every rider that is not there own but also the other guys in the pits to keep themselves entertained. I'm glad I helped in the pits just to keep my mind off the thumb and help out Tristan a little along the way.
The next 3 weeks were some of the hardest for me mentally trying not to freak out not racing and trying to train and do workouts as much as possible with the thumb permitting. 3 weeks doesn't seem like that long of a time but when you can barely hold onto the bars of the your bike to ride its an eternity! Slow but sure the thumb was healing and I could actually hold onto the bar rather than lifting my hand off for every little bump. By the end of week 2 I was gutting through through intervals on the road where the pain in the thumb was more than in the legs. One day at a time the thumb was getting it's range of movement back and starting to get better.
It wasn't until last weekend that I was able to do a cross race.... 5 weeks after nearly breaking my thumb off of my hand! The good news is my legs hurt a lot more than my thumb did that day. The bad news is my legs hurt a lot more than my thumb did that day lol. It wasn't my best race by any means but that's for many other reasons and leaves lots of room for improvement. 6 weeks ago today is when it all went down and now I feel like it's healthy enough (85-90%) to resume any type of workout and racing I can thrown at it.
Next up is the annual Halloween cross race at Washington Park in Milwaukee. I'm still not sure if I'll have a costume or not but I'm there will be plenty of other people wearing them.