There is a lot to catch up on from our activities since my last post. There's good news and bad news. We both raced in the annual "3Hrs of DuHell" MTB race at Duhail on 15 December - just two days before our departure for the Christmas holiday. I was chuffed with a third place finish, while John crashed around lap five on a sharp corner, taking him out of the race altogether.
I had heard about John's crash from other racers, but I glimpsed him each time I crossed the start line where he sat smiling with his ankle and knee bandaged. When I finished, he told me he had sprained his ankle and that I should stay for the awards ceremony and he could wait to go to the hospital. After our podium ceremony, we went straight to the hospital where we spent the entire day waiting, having x-rays and a CT scan, and finding out that he had broken his right calcaneum (the heel bone) and would require surgery.
It was a shock, made even worse by our imminent travel for Christmas (in addition to flying, our plans included a lot of John driving around England picking up, dropping off, shopping, etc.). It left me with a lot to take care of in a very short period of time: sitting around waiting for doctors, driving the patient around, making arrangements with Qatar Airways for medical accommodations, packing for two, shutting down the villa, and, sadly, not being able to fit in my last-minute Christmas shopping.
By the time we arrived at Hamad International Airport, we were both exhausted. Amazingly, we were able to upgrade using our QA privilege club points, and with access to the First Class lounge, were both able to recline fully which was exactly what John needed for his injured leg (now in a cast) and what I needed to decompress having left the full effort of a race two days prior and having zero downtime since.
Christmas was great - we spent the time with John's daughter, parents and brother. We both got our new Mason Bokeh gravel bikes from Santa, which were delivered with amazing service from Mason and packed exceedingly well. I even got to ride mine on some trails in the New Forest, enjoying some of my best times on those trails, and getting a feel for the new set-up which will have to be tweaked, but felt light and very responsive for the densely forested trails. More to come on the Bokeh when I start testing it out on the Doha roads. Overall, the holiday was relaxing and a good chance to spend some quality time with family.
It hasn't all been sunshine and snowflakes, however. As we learned from John's last accident and basically any day that goes by when he doesn't get to ride, being immobile or otherwise unable to ride does not make for happy days in our house. Wine, chocolate, good food and family all made us focus less on John's impending surgery. All in all, the patient is doing amazingly well to keep a stiff upper lip and a positive attitude, and we all hope his recovery is uncomplicated and as quick as possible.
Thanks for all the messages and support on FB and otherwise! I will update you on John's progress after his surgery.