Stevie Schneider After a Summer Break at Home
Summer left its marks on me. First of all I had to deal with the bump on my shoulder caused by a blown AC joint, which I like to refer to as my parrot. But secondly, I’m not particularly productive when it's over 30 degrees in the shade.
After the parrot fluttered towards me in "Trailland Miesenbach", I had to pass the time with juggling and rehab exercises. Thank goodness I love doing both things. Juggling as well as any kind of physical exercise, so the injury-related time was never really boring, and I also cooked something on the barbecue almost every day.
It was also ideal that my girlfriend Laura had her major spinal surgery exactly one month after my crash. This gave me plenty of time to pretend to be a nurse and make sure that Laura, like me, had everything she needed during her rehabilitation period. We referred to it affectionately as a "home holiday".
As I also want to fulfil an educational mission in this column, here are my 10 commandments in case you are also on a "holiday at home" at the moment or at some point:
- be confident and bouncy. Mindset is everything. The more positive you are and the more you accept the situation/reality as it is, the more positive you will come out of such an injury or operation. My motto is always to get stronger and better than before the crash or operation.
- good and deep sleep is the be-all and end-all for healing.
- get moving. Don't go beyond your pain threshold. The more time you invest, the sooner you will be fit again.
- treat your body to delicious food and enough fluids (protein is your friend).
- do DETOX. You can't expect to heal if you eat junk food, smoke, drink and don't exercise enough. Now is the time for wellness for body and soul.
- don't be impatient and use the time. Especially when FOMO strikes (you see everyone else riding their bikes on social media, only you have to sit out), use the time to improve your life during the injury break. Tidy out the cellar, clear out the wardrobe or finally, as in my case, get rid of the messy behaviour in the bike shed.
- learn something new during the time you are injured, such as juggling with five balls, and ideally combine the injury time with projects. In my case, I gave a juggling workshop at the Lake of Charity in Saalbach and somehow also commented on the Downhill World Championships.
- flow drops and/or CBD in copious amounts.
- Wim Hof breathing
- don't be a dork when you get back on your bike. Don't worry, your skills are not gone. Give yourself time to get back to the level you were at "before" the crash.
Of course, I was a dork and immediately got on my downhill bike after four weeks, over-motivated. But my parrot was screaming so much that I couldn't be that much of a dork. The pain clearly said: get off the DH bike and get on a bike that doesn't shake quite so hard.
Thank goodness I live in Salzburg, close to Heaven. More precisely, 11 Heaven, a trail spot that has been around for 20 years and is unrivalled in its glory. There's no getting round the "NO DIG NO RIDE" rule at a trail spot like this. Despite my sparse shovelling this year, the gates of heaven were still opened to me and I was allowed to ride these works of art. This paragraph is actually a little declaration of love to the locals who build and maintain the hills with so much heart, care and love. It is also simply spectacular when the builders feel like they are two metres higher than you with every jump. In the end, you can roll into eight different lines. To save you the agony of choice, trail boss Bobby has installed a wheel of fortune. Ideal for me, as I've always wanted to be a bit like Peter Rapp. When you ride into one of the lines, everything happens by itself. No braking, no pedalling, just flow and glide over it. When the line is finished, you roll back up to the start tower, have to climb about ten steps and can spin the wheel of fortune again. Ideal for hyperactive people like me to tire themselves out. Once the energy is gone, Berchtesgade hop brew is served and the pizza oven is fired up. You can imagine how a day on the trails ends.
You wake up in the morning on the bus, pause for a moment, think "Where the hell am I?" - but as soon as you look out of the window and see the majestic hills, you realise: "Oh yes, still in heaven!" and the same thing again.
Once again hooked on the bouncy glide, my mission was clear. To play with the enduro bike until the parrot gets used to the big impacts and allows them. So I actually spent most of August in Saalbach, travelling somewhere between the Hacklbergtrail and the X-Line, stuffing my face with around 28 pancakes and as many Kaiserschmarrn pancakes at the Bergstadlhütte.
After the 37th Holler Schnaps... the time had finally come and I took the downhill bike with the lovely name YALLA out for the first time last week. It was the first time I'd ever ridden a 29er downhill bike. But it didn't feel like it, the skills were exactly where they should be, my head was a bit confused due to the fast and many impressions, but it quickly got used to it. Are you crazy, I was screaming like a child seeing Fabio Wibmer on every descent.
So I immediately made a plan to savour more of this feeling, which will take me to Champery next week, to the legendary downhill course.
Until then, I'm going to hide out in the shade for a while, jump into the lake and reflect on my intense holiday at home.