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Life in the Recovery Lane: Cycling after Injury and Illness

Maggie and Nicola share their recovery stories as they prepare for the Red Bull Foxhunt

Words by Nicola Whittle and Maggie Bird

The chances are, if you ride mountain bikes you will find yourself unable to ride every now and then due to sickness or injury.

Once upon a time, I would have enjoyed sitting in front of the TV watching films day in day out but since I found mountain biking, two years ago, I long to be outside. When I’m sick or injured, it’s hard to get my weekly fix!

Maggie Bird was diagnosed with Cancer last October just after the 2016 Red Bull Fox Hunt. After a number of operations, she’s now on the road to a full recovery.

Maggie Bird

I’m currently recovering from surgery on my abdomen and although our situations are very different, we both share one very big thing in common… we both love to ride our bikes! But, because of recovery we’ve had to stay off the bikes for long periods of time.

As mountain bikers and general lovers of the great outdoors, what can we do in this situation to keep our minds active? As it turns out, the biking community is a friendly bunch and the support we have received from them has been overwhelming!

It’s amazing how speaking to people can make the situation some what more bearable. Social media groups like MTB Chix & Trails and GirlBikeVan have been really important in the whole recovery process for us both. It’s not easy watching people go out having fun when you can’t join in! Staying connected to the biking community has definitely helped.

Recovery: Are you doing it right?

It is very important to set goals to keep you motivated as well. Instead of feeling disappointed about the events you have missed, why not look forward to the events you can take part in? For Maggie and I, we have decided to set our sights on the 2017 Red Bull Fox Hunt.

Lucky for us, we managed to bag ourselves a ticket to the sell out event, and we hope to be race ready come October. The Red Bull Fox Hunt has significant importance to the both of us because we met one another and connected at the event last year. That weekend was the start of a lot of things for us both! Maggie was asked to be a member of the Screw Loose racing team and I was asked to be an ambassador for Girlbikevan.

How to recover from the fear of injury

With the event now set, how can we ensure we are fit enough to ride? It’s a struggle staying fit and healthy when you are unable to do much physical exercise. Even when the recovery process is over, we need to take it easy because neither of us wants to undo all of our hard work.

Thanks to the support from Maggie’s race team, they have managed to raise enough money to purchase her a cyclocross bike. Combining the cyclocross rides with dog walks every day, Maggie is well on the road to recovery.

Nicola Whittle

As I write this I’m still in the early stages of my recovery process, and won’t be allowed to get back on the bike until mid-August. With the help of my personal trainer, Rob from The Mill Fitness and Nutrition, we are working on a program to get me back on track and fighting fit.

The important thing to remember that the recovery process is only temporary.

It’s hard to sit on the sofa when you are used to an active lifestyle and still feel happy about it. Why not take the time to do something you have always wanted to do? Set up a blog, vlog and website or even plan that dream mountain bike trip!

Use the time away from the bike wisely, keep smiling and stay positive. Remember to stay connected and keep sharing pictures, even if they aren’t your usual bike related outdoor type post. Always remember what your end goal is and try not to lose sight of it.

You can follow both Nicola and Maggie on social media and keep up to date with their social hashtag #fitforfoxhunt

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