On the grass outside the abbey at St. Germer-de-Fly in
Normandy may appear an odd place to practice sports massage, however, we sports
therapists work where our clients need us, and this is where one of the riders
I was fortunate to be invited
to join the first Blind Veterans UK Brighton to Paris cycle ride as sports
massage support. Thirty Nine riders, including three blind ex-service personnel
on tandems, set off from the Blind Veterans UK Sussex building just outside
Brighton at 6.00am on Thursday 12 May. Four days and one hundred
and fifty six miles later they all arrived beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
the weather was dry it was very cool with temperatures hovering around 8
degrees for much of the time. This caused some riders problems with muscle
tightness and joint pain. From my seat in the sweeper minibus I dealt with
several leg and back problems as well as being on First Aid duties. Many of the
issues were resolved quickly on the spot with follow a up at the next
checkpoint. That is why I was massaging on the grass outside the Abbey at St.
Germer-de-Fly as well as with a rider across the back seats of the minibus in
the town square at Monneville and on the side of the D3 near Fleury and in a layby
at Vigny as well as setting up my couch in the hotel bar at the second night
stop and in the hotel restaurant on the third night stop.
the riders had done some training and only required a post ride loosen up in
the evening, but, there were some more complex issues. One rider who cycles
160Km weekly suffered badly from lateral left knee pain. His IT band was completely
solid and releasing his Glute Med and TFL by the roadside relieved the pain but
we had to wrap his leg in a towel and hold it there with electrical tape at
every stop to keep the knee warm. He and I concluded that it was probably the
extensive un-cleating (lateral rotation of the foot against a resistance to
remove his foot from the pedal) during the many stops en-route.
had a pre-existing Anterior Cruciate ligament injury from 15 years ago which
had caused his right Vastus Med. to have lesions to the adjacent muscles and
structures. Repetitive pedalling action was causing more and more pain in the
medial aspect of the riders’ knee. Releasing some of the lesions and ongoing
icing helped him to get to Paris although the hills were very painful.
recent right ankle ligament damage on another rider needed careful management
and much icing all through the day and evening. Luckily cycling in the saddle
did not cause her much discomfort but standing for speed bumps, riding over
cobbles, and releasing her foot from the cleat caused considerable pain.
day event treatments, such as this, add a very different dynamic to the normal
pre and post event massage. Here I had to consider how many more days of
cycling there were, in what condition the client was to begin with, and how I
could make their goal of reaching Paris easier and more comfortable for them
before starting to work on the rider.
It was a
brilliant trip well lead by Paul Yate-Smith from Cycle Beyond and well
organised by Stacey Jones from Blind Veterans UK and, with our two other
volunteer drivers Jay and Nigel, the four of us helped the thirty nine riders
get to Paris and raise over £25,000.