Shane Badman is undoubtedly one of Australia’s best flatland riders. He has been riding for longer than most have been alive. Not that long ago Shane had to decide to have surgery on his elbow to fix a ongoing problem. The surgery itself was not that complicated but the recovery time has been. We caught up with Shane to find out some information about his road to recovery.
Ok Shane some people may not know that you have been out from riding due to an injury, can you elaborate what the injury was.
It’s a bit of an unusual one to be honest. Basically I have advanced osteo-arthritis in my elbow and also had a couple of bone spurs growing on the end of the bone along with a bunch of floating debris (loose cartilage). I first noticed it a few years back but thought it was tendonitis but as the years went on and it got worse I knew something else was up.
So basically I crashed at one point and hit it. It hurt a lot more than normal, a lot of swelling etc and I thought I’d broken it or chipped a bone. Got an x-ray done and my doctor was a little confused by what she saw so referred me to a specialist. His diagnosis was while the rest of me was in good shape for my age and years riding, my elbow was the equivalent of someone in their 60’s…
There were a couple of options. One – I could just ignore it and try and manage it and see what happens. Two – get surgery to remove the debris, remove the spurs and see what happens. So I chose to get the surgery done.
Operation went well but means I’ll be out for quite a while…
Have you had any other injuries that have taken you out from riding and if so what were they and for how long did you have to stay off your bike?
Yeah, I had a knee reconstruction done in the past. From the point of the accident with my knee to when I could ride hardcore again was probably about 9-12 months. Normally they don’t take that long but being that I like to do things properly, I totally wrecked the joint haha. I know people talk about rolling ankles and “tearing the ligaments, breaking them etc.”, but this was the real deal. I had one of my ligaments removed and an artificial one screwed in. A normal 45 min operation took just over 4 hours and a lot of rehab to get myself healthy after that little episode.
How has this injury affected your mental awareness and reaction times related to riding flatland?
Too early to tell yet. Injuries always change something, but not necessarily for the worst. I’ve always been a naturally motivated person and when it comes to flatland I still have the same fire as I did when I was 20. In fact, I’m probably more motivated now than at that point and it seems that as I get older it only increases.
Injuries have definitely given me a perspective on things. When you have your first “real” injury and have to work hard to come back you don’t take what you do for granted any longer. You make the most of the time you have because you know it can be taken away in an instant.
As far as my physical ability to ride flatland, I don’t see that changing. My body remembers the movements and it will only take me a short time to get back on it again…
Have you been doing any recovery exercise to assist with your recovery?
Definitely. By nature I’m a restless person with a lot of energy so I always have to be doing something. Right after the surgery I was walking a lot to keep my fitness up and burn energy. Then once I could get back on my road bike I’ve been clocking between 250-300km’s a week. I also do a lot of stretching and specific arm exercises. From experience, the more effort you put into rehab early, the better the long term outcome is.
I’ve been seeing the Godfather, Kevin Jones putting a few edits out lately and he’s in his forties, then there’s also the Human Machine, Pete Brandt who is KILLING it and he’s in his forties too. Phil Dolan just turned 40, James White is there and OG Marton as well. The fact that they’re doing what they’re doing means I’ve got years and years left yet so I want to make sure I do the right thing now so I’m around to enjoy it then.
How much more time will you be off your bike until you can start to get back into the rigorous flatland action that you were undertaking before your injury?
Tough to say. The past 12 months before I had my operation in May 2011 I wasn’t riding as hard as I wanted. I would ride a hard session then would have to take the next day or two off to let me elbow settle so I could get back on it again.
My surgeon is optimistic that I’ll be back on it within 9 months from the operation so basically I’m seeing that 2012 is the goal. My mind is sharp, my overall fitness is good and the motivation is peaking so who knows, hopefully it could be sooner…
What do you think a rider can do to keep themselves from loosing muscle memory from the tricks that they have learnt?
Ride a lot before hand! I’ve heard a lot about practising mental techniques – practising your riding in your head basically. I’ve known a few riders that have done this in down time and found it to be pretty useful. Confidence is probably the other thing. In my head I have no doubt that I can bust the tricks I’ve done in the past again within a week once I’m back on it. Getting consistent and dialled is something else, but being able to bust out in a session won’t be an issue.
What advice can you give to others who might be going through a long period off their bike?
Stay sharp in your mind, stay focussed. It’s not about Jedi Mind Tricks here, just if you want to do something and you have the motivation you’ll get there. My life is hectic – I have an awesome girlfriend, Nina, I run Newcircle, various projects etc that I’m doing with Colony, helping DownUnderGround, sorting demos, getting 250+km’s a week in on my road bike plus keeping a professional career on the side. But above all this is flatland. What can I say, I’m into it in a big way: it’s my life’s passion and it’s what I think about on the daily and have been doing so for a very long time now. That won’t change and I have no doubt on that front at all.
From the physical side you want to keep your health consistent from when you stopped riding to the point at when you start again. If you put on a lot of weight, then your body will feel strange when you start riding again as will your tricks because adding weight will mean having to learn new balance points.
I watch web edits on the daily – the Big E over at FlatMatters keeps me hooked up, just keeping in touch with the scene. Talk to people when I get the chance to keep tabs on what’s been going on.
Everyone is different though, but this is what I’ve been doing. Having downtime like this though I also see as being a great opportunity to get a bunch of other stuff done as well that I might normally not have the time to do. I can tell you one thing though – it’s gonna be awesome to ride again without pain!!