Understanding the impact of injury and recovery on cyclists

Our clients often tell us how difficult it is for them to have been injured and see their fitness decline as they recover, how awful it has been for their precious bike to have been damaged or written off, or how tough it has been for their mental health to have been kept off their bike.  At Cycle Law Scotland, we are all cyclists too, and we can honestly say that we understand how important cycling can be to our clients.

Personal journey – from novice to enthusiastic cyclist

Roz Galloway - Pedal for Scotland 2011

I’ve been cycling for over 10 years now, having started on a whim when I was invited to take part in a Charity Sportive, Pedal for Scotland in 2011.  I’ve never been sporty, or even outdoorsy, so cycling was completely out of character for me.  Indeed, I’d never really exercised in my life until I caught the cycling bug.  From then on, I kept taking on new cycling challenges; sportives, triathlons, even the odd time-trial, but always being very much at the slow end, finishing just ahead of the broom wagon, and I didn’t mind being an enthusiastic “have a go hero”.

When I started working at Cycle Law Scotland back in 2018, by agreement, I wanted to work on a part-time basis – as I had a little voice in my head telling me that I could take my cycling more seriously.  What actually happened was that I did very little in the way of proper cycling for a good year until something inside me flipped and I knew it was time.  A global pandemic and the rise of turbo trainers and Zwift allowed me the time to start training by riding most days, either outside when weather allowed or inside on the turbo trainer.  It was amazing what some consistent training could do and I could see that my average speed and power was creeping up.

The role of structured training and coaching

I started working with coaches Andy McDonald at Grit and Glory, and more recently Tim Mackley at Velocita Coaching who gave me plans to follow in order to build endurance and fitness – the first time I’d followed a structured training plan.  Training 6 days a week, usually around 12 hours a week with a training session for each day set out for me – all I had to do was turn the pedals.

However, it became clear pretty quickly that it wasn’t just the time on the bike that has to be factored in – there’s eating well, recovering properly, bike maintenance, lots of sleep, and piles of laundry – all taking up a surprising amount of time.  There’s no way I could have done it without a workplace who allowed me to work part-time, and who truly and enthusiastically supported what I was trying to do.

A week in the life of a dedicated cyclist

In a normal week, I’ll train for about 1-2 hours every Monday to Thursday, usually on a Turbo Trainer.  My rest day is on a Friday where I spend some quality time with my sofa.  At the weekend, I’ll usually do two or three hours of interval training on a Saturday, and the four hours endurance riding on a Sunday.  If weather allows at the weekend, I’ll usually be out on the bike with friends or my clubmates at Aberdeen Wheelers, but often during the winter I’ve done four-hour stints on a turbo trainer due to weather which is a mental challenge as much as a physical. I usually ride around 10,000 miles a year, often about half on the roads and half on Zwift.

By 2021, I was able to start entering road races in Scotland and by 2022 I earned enough points from race results to get my Category 3 race licence from British Cycling.  I had been fastest female twice at the Etape Caledonia and I started to wonder what I could achieve next.

Competing on the world stage

Roz Galloway at UCI World Champs, Gran FondoIn 2023, with the first ever UCI Cycling World Championships coming to Scotland, I wanted to see if I could qualify for the UCI Grand Fondo World Championships which were being held in Perthshire.  A solid winter of training with the Aberdeen Wheelers had me fit enough to enter the Grand Fondo at the Isle of Man for an 85 mile qualifying event there. I needed to finish in a top 3 podium place for my age group in order to earn my spot at the World Championships. Despite awful weather conditions meaning the route was cut in half for safety, I managed to finish first in my age category and qualify to ride in the Championships in August 2023.  The route started in Perth and went out over 100 miles on closed roads to Aberfeldy, Schiehallion, Pitlochry and back to Perth, in glorious sunshine showing off Scotland at its finest.  I was able to ride in GBR kit which was an honour I won’t forget, riding amongst some amazingly strong women, and finishing 28th in my age category which isn’t too bad at all in a World Champs.

Cycling as a lifelong passion

The old quote from Greg LeMond about “It never gets easier; you just go faster” is probably the truest thing I’ve ever heard about cycling.  I still struggle on the same hills, going fast still hurts as much as it did before, and I’m still ever aware that I’m only currently blessed with the good fortune of health and fitness which I’ve seen can be taken away so quickly after an accident. Cycling is a massive part of my life and I genuinely don’t know what I’d do without it!  So, when a client asks me if I ride bikes, I can honestly say, “just a bit!”

Roz Galloway – Associate

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