Peloton Watch
  Manon Lloyd Blog: Dealing with injury and five weeks off the bike  
  May 18th 2016 By Manon Lloyd @manonlloyd96  
  Manon Lloyd reflecting on her injury looking out over the water in Mallorca  
  My season was going well, I was getting fitter and stronger every race I did. I was going into what would be my fourth Energiewacht Tour, I've ridden it twice as junior and once in the elite women, this would be my second for GB. I was going in to EWT in a much better place this year after a good, hard winter on the road and the track with the new women's academy coach Chris Newton. The first stage in the five-day tour was the TTT, we as GB did really well and finished in the mix of the UCI teams, so we were all very pleased with eighth place.

But on the third stage about 20km into the race everyone in the peloton slammed the brakes, as everyone was trying not to crash bouncing off shoulders and handlebars poking into bums, I hit the floor pretty hard. I didn't slide or get any road rash I just hit the floor. I knew there was something wrong as soon as I tried to get up I physically couldn't lift my self up. I sat on the floor for a few minutes trying to get my self together.

The team car pulled up along with the race doctor, by the time I finally got up the peloton had gone, the mechanic got me back on my bike and gave me a big push, and that push on my lower back really hurt. I was determined to get back in the race. Everyone tells you not to panic in these situations but that's all you can do, "but what if the race is over and I can't get back in the peloton." It took me a while, just hovering between the race official car and the back of the peloton, but I got back in the end. As soon as I got back in the bunch I had time to get myself together and check myself, this is when I realised I was in a lot of pain. Luckily for me it was one of the easier stages, flat and no wind, but it was the longest stage, 130km.

So this meant it still had to get through 110km of racing. I was riding round trying not to think about the pain I was in, the only thing that got me through that stage was the fact that I had Nutella bites and a few Haribos in my back pocket. I wasn't having the best of days so my teammate Emily Nelson came over to see how I was, we rode next to each other eating Haribos. She was enjoying them so much she didn't notice there was a crash and rode straight it to it haha. (Don't worry she was fine!) I dragged my bum to the finish in some pain.

I decided to carry on racing and figured I was just sore because of how hard I hit the floor. The next day was a double day; a short 75km stage and a short ITT. In the road race I was getting dropped in places that I knew I shouldn't normally be getting dropped. The TT went the same I was a lot lower down than I should have been, I was disappointed but happy there was only one more stage to go. The last day was on a small German island, I knew before even starting that it was going to be a bad day. I was still in pain but still wanted to do well and get round the race. Again I was getting dropped in places that I shouldn't have been getting dropped at, I was pushing myself to the limit and still getting dropped, my poor body couldn't handle it.

Thumbs up ahead of Energiewacht Tour

I couldn't wait to get back to the UK and see the doctor so he could fix me. The next morning I got an appointment with the British Cycling doctor and he sent me for a scan. I spent the rest of that morning getting physio treatment done on my lower back where it was sore from the crash. I was lucky enough to get the scan done the next morning. The following morning I got my results, but before I went to get the results I was packing my bags again planning to go on a training camp in Valencia. I walked into the doctors room and when the physio saw me he said, "Manon you are one tough cookie!" He went on to explain it wasn't good news and that I had fractured the left side of my sacrum. I had to ask the doctor three or four time what I had actually done. I was in utter disbelief. I was told I needed three weeks off the bike completely then another MRI scan to see how things are healing.

For a cyclist that trains every day sometimes twice a day, three weeks is a long time off. He went on to say that I could still do long walks and some swimming but not using my lower half too much. My initial thought was that at least it's something to try and keep a bit of fitness. I was told to go back to my family and friends back in Wales and not stress about missing so much training, it would have been my worst nightmare staying in Manchester watching all my teammates go out training every day when I would be sitting there hopelessly.

Firstly I headed over to North Wales for a few days with my boyfriend Ryan Mullen who had just come back from racing Paris Roubaix and had a few days off. So it was nice to do normal people stuff with him for a change as we don't get much time off the bikes at the same time. I then headed back down to West Wales to my family. I tried my best to keep positive about the situation and thought this would be a good time to try and loose some weight because I didn't need to fuel my body for any training. Before my cycling days I used to swim, so I went to my old swimming coach Alex Dallimore and asked him for a swimming session that I could follow. I always find having some structure to your training always helps.

To my surprise the three weeks went by pretty quickly and it was then time for my second scan. I was feeling positive that the scan was going to go well; I went walking and swimming every other day to try and keep myself fit. I was soon back in the MRI machine getting my scan then getting my results. Soon after, the doctor rang me up with the results, he started off asking how I was, and I went on to say how good I was feeling. He then said, 'the not so good news is...' Ohhh no this wasn't the news I wanted. He went on to say how he spoke to a pelvis specialist about the scan results and that my sacrum hadn't started to heal and I was going to need another four weeks off my bike. I think I repeated '4 WEEKS' three times just to make sure he hadn't got it wrong. That would be a total of seven weeks. That was way too long in my liking. He said he wanted to see me in two weeks for another update. It was a massive shock to hear that I need possibly another four weeks off after I convinced my self it was going to be good news.

Out for a run in Mallorca

As I'm on the Olympic Academy program we get to only go home a few times a year, we had one home break at the start of May so my family decided to go on holiday. We chose to go to Mallorca so I could train out there. I know the roads and had many training camps out there, little did I know that I wouldn't even be taking my bike out. It was hard for me as everyone in my family was packing their cycling kit and I was the only one not. I still had a lovely holiday doing 'normal people stuff'. One day I walked 16km to Formentor, it was strange walking up a hill than I'm use to doing savage training camp efforts on!

Half way though the holiday I got a text from the doc saying he wanted to see me for an update and another scan, this made my day knowing that I would possibly be back on a bike sooner than I thought.

Two weeks after my second scan I had another and saw a pelvis professor, a few days later I got the scan results and after that I had yet another meeting with the doc and the professor. This time they gave me good news! The scan had showed that my sacrum had finally started to heal. After five weeks off the bike I was allowed back on the bike and straight back on the road!

Manon Lloyd all smiles hoping for good news after another scan

It feels so good to be back on the bike. I may not be doing the big hours or intensity that I'm used to but it's a lot more than I've done in the last five weeks and I'm so motivated and very excited for more. I have a lot of work to do to prepare for my upcoming goals. I feel ready to give it my all!
 © 2016