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Despatches from the Cone of Shame

Despatches from the Cone of Shame

Alan Dorrington, a.k.a Crossjunkie / Fluent in Cross, is a prominent rider and writer on the British 'cross scene. Following a recent crash at Clif 'Cross, Alan is coming to terms with his injury with one eye constantly on his return to the saddle.

It’s part comforter, part tormenter and definitely a fashion statement for the ‘broken’. We’ve been together nearly 4 weeks now, but have plenty more time planned for each other in the near future following my self-induced up-ending and subsequent fracturing of two vertebrae (C7 and T5 for the curious) in a crash at the end of March.

They gave me a fetching two-part Cone of Shame neck brace at the hospital with instructions to take it easy and not take it off for 12 weeks. At all. With no frame of reference for this type of situation, nor any experience of ever having broken any bone, let alone my neck and back, it’s fair to say it has been an interesting and steep learning curve. As a moderately, well ok, extensively obsessive rider, I thought the hardest part would be dealing with not being able to ride. Of course I asked the consultant in the hospital lots of questions about my condition.... Nothing useful about the actual condition itself you understand, more about when I could ride (not for a long time), if running was possible (NO!) and when I could get on the turbo (when you feel able). That bit stuck in my memory - excellent, I can turbo as soon as I am ready. This will be easy then, I’ll get screaming fit on the turbo over the next few weeks and this whole thing will be a minor inconvenience.

Except my level of denial (strangely called ‘stupidity’ by my wife) was somewhat higher than my level of functioning. Three weeks of shuffling around the house, fairly constant pain, codeine induced fuzziness and an incredible lethargy the like of which I have never known, rapidly disabused me of the notion that this was a minor blip in proceedings and that normal service would be resumed soon.

Things are picking up though – my energy and mobility are slowly returning, my bikes are polished to perfection ready for the day when they can be ridden and I’ve sat on a turbo, albeit for 5 mins. That earned me a Grade A b*llocking off my wife. Given that I unwisely posted the moment on social media (while she was away) and was summarily told off using said media, team mate Dave Haygarth commented it was like watching a schoolboy showing off to his mates only for his Mum to come out and tear him off a strip in front of them. Her concern was understandable but actually, sitting on the turbo felt considerably more comfortable than walking because of the way my neck was supported by the brace and the fact that all the movement takes place from the hip down. I look forward to some gentle sessions on the turbo starting soon. And all safe in the knowledge that the winter ‘cross season is still a good few months away yet and provides a realistic carrot to aim for without pressure to get back too quick. See you in the mud!

29 April 2014


  • Dave H
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    Get well soon matey

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