Feeling Strong


‘So Lewis, what seems to be the problem?’ asks my physio (my third physio so far).

‘Okay…’ I reply, pausing to recollect what has been a tough year in regards to my health. I started strong, possibly the fittest I have ever been. Unfortunately it didn’t last.

‘June 2015 I dislocated my right knee, that was all fixed and I tore my left meniscus in May 2016. Now in June I have hit my right knee again and I can’t bend it properly…’

I had irritated my right meniscus and possible nicked my ACL. It was going to be another 5-6 weeks of resting and the slow build up to strength.

As you can see it’s been a hell of a year, resting up is a hard hard thing to do when all you want to do is be outside. I feel like a dog with his head in one of those cones! Filled with excitement and energy but confined and trapped. I prowled around the house binge watching TV series and movies. My mind wandered coming up with big ideas then falling back to earth over the reality of my situation. I got myself into a little dark funk for a while after this last bit of news from the physio, another 6 weeks! The ski field opened in a week! I had all the gear and the pass already and it looked like I would be sitting on the bench for the opening weeks! As I started to mourn over this thought I decided to call up my friend for a pick me up.

‘You need to focus on a new plan, think of something big to focus your mind and focus your training until your knees recover’, said Tia. A genius in her own right and she knows me better than almost anyone. So I started planning and scheming and looking at maps. You know it’s gonna be a good plan when you start looking at maps. Then it was formed! I would Bikepack the length of New Zealand! Off Road Aotearoa was born! In 6 months time I would set off from Queenstown sail over Lake Wakatipu and start riding. A solo,unsupported bike ride along as many of the Great Rides as possible covering 45000km of gravel and single track riding. This would be my longest bike ride by a long way and my first solo bike journey. All I had to do was get fit and get planning!

Cue the Rocky Training Montage!




“Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give… it’s about how many you can take, and keep moving forward.”
― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa

So I did my physio, I rested up and I stretched everyday. I bought a foam roller, and used it! I did all the exercises with the elastic band. I looked like an insane person lying on my living room floor stretching and doing little squats and crab walking around with my legs elastic-banded together. Then I started riding again! Oh to be free! To be back in the saddle rolling around even just along the lake front. going further and further each day. I could constantly feel that with one small twist or bump I could undo all my hard work! I hiked and I swam. The legs grew stronger. The stability returned. The full range of  movement came back and the pain finally went away!

Just this week I went to a gym class (and got abused!) but afterwards , after the muscle ache had gone away, I finally felt that my knee was finally fully recovered! This means only one thing…


Training can begin in earnest! Here we are, 5 months away from the greatest challenge of my life so far. If there is two things to take away from this and that is;

  • Build up slowly! There is no rush when your out there on your own so don’t get so carried away especially if your coming back from an injury!

I know what needs to be done and how to do it. The count down is on. Follow me here to watch the progress!

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