Not being able to compete in the sport you love is a challenge for all of us. Whether it's an injury setback, an interruption to your training schedule, or races being canceled, it's hard to find your ground with your passion on hold.
Hive Elite athlete and competitive mountain bike rider Sam Dolzani experienced a major injury in 2019, putting his race season to an end.¬† Having to take time away from his passion of mountain biking to recover, Sam shares how he handled his setback, and how something as simple as a positive attitude can make all the difference.
You‚Äôve had some major injuries over the years. Could you share what the injuries were, and how long your recovery time was?
For as many hours as I have spent on my bike over the past decade, I feel incredibly lucky to have only had one severe injury that resulted in forced time off the bike. One week before what would have been my first XC national championship race last July, I clipped a pedal on a stump at a pretty high speed less than a mile from the finish line of a race in Winter Park, CO. This resulted in a hard fall where I managed to break my fibula (leg) and clavicle (collar bone), as well as an undiagnosed injury to my hand. The clavicle was broken in 3 pieces and required surgery. Surprisingly, I recovered faster than expected and was back on the bike within 42 days. I had to be very cautious for the first few months but I think the official recovery time was somewhere around 4 months. Luckily, the orthopedic surgeon I went to was an ex-pro road racer and shares the same mentality as me when it comes to the importance of physical activity.
What were some of your biggest challenges during recovery?
More than anything, I enjoy being active outdoors and this was put to a halt when both the left and right side of my body were injured. The injury occurred mid-summer when I would normally be riding and racing bikes, camping, running, and traveling.¬† The major challenge I faced was accepting that these activities wouldn't be possible until Fall at the very earliest. I saw family and friends doing all of the things I wished I could be doing with them, so that made it a bit more challenging.
How did you overcome, or manage, those challenges?
On the topic of family and friends, I am fortunate to have a great family and group of close friends that were there for me for support, sedentary hangout sessions, and the occasional night out (after all, there's not much else to do with a broken leg). I also kept in mind that mountain biking is not the safest activity. By choosing to do it repeatedly, you are putting yourself at risk for the type of injuries I sustained.
With time, I knew things would get better. I kept looking forward to the future and getting back to doing the activities that I identify with. Additionally, I tried my hardest to eat healthy and practice healthy habits while I was unable to exercise during the recovery period.