Friday, December 13, 2013

Tweaked knee forces me out of the first World Cup

After two solid weeks of training in Nakiska, Canada, it was time to race. The week of the race saw an unusually extreme cold front pass through the area. Temperatures plummeted to -40 C on race day, despite it being sunny and blue skies. Quite a change from summer in Australia a couple of weeks ago!

Unfortunately for me, the first World Cup of the season didn’t quite go to plan! On the first training day, I had an awkward landing off the final jump. I didn’t crash, it was just an hard, painful landing. I felt pain rush through my heels and into my right knee. I immediately assumed the worst; I’ve re-blown my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). I had a knee reconstruction on my right knee after tearing my ACL just over four years ago now. Re-tearing the ligament at this stage in the season right before the Olympics would have been a disaster and my dreams would have been shattered. An ACL reconstruction takes you off skis for 6-12 months. You can get an idea of the anxiety and anticipation I felt in finding out the damage I’d done…

After an MRI scan in Calgary and the opinions of the Australian Olympic Winter Team sports physician and an orthopedic surgeon in Canada, the verdict was bone bruising and an irritation of an old injury. As painful as it is, bone bruising will usually heal itself with time. The timeframe depends on the severity, and fortunately mine was definitely not season-ending.

The bad news; I wouldn’t be racing the first World Cup of the season. The good news; I would be back on snow within 2-3 weeks. A huge relief!

Anton, myself and Scotty facing the cold.

Proof of cold temperatures.

Cheering my teammates on from the side lines on finals day...

After the race, the team and myself headed to Europe. Bad weather in Chicago meant our flight was cancelled after taxi-ing on the runway for over five hours. I spent the night clung to my suitcase, attempting to get at least one hours sleep on the floor at Chicago airport (definitely a first…). I then spent the next two days making my way to Milan. I think I had about 3 hours sleep in 48 hours. Let’s just say this travel experience was ‘character building.’

The team getting cosy on the floor at Chicago airport at 3am

I am now at the AIS European Training Centre in Varese, Italy, doing rehabilitation for my knee. Whilst the team is currently in Val Thorens, France, for the next World Cup, I’m getting my knee 100% before I race again (which looks like it will be the double World Cup event in San Candido just before Christmas). The knee is progressing very quickly, and I am feeling very confident on it now. I am back to full strength, and the pain has almost completely gone. The facilities here are incredible for training and rehabilitation. I have access to a physiotherapist, a brand new gym, recovery pools, and a supportive team of people who work here at the ETC… not to mention a stunning lake to ride around as apart of my training.

Lake Varese

Rowers on the lake at sunset

My cycling tour around Lake Varese. It was incredibly easy to get lost, but I made it in the end!

I wish the team the best of luck this weekend in Val Thorens, and I am looking forward to joining them next week for the races in San Candido.