Q&A with pro mountain biker Alex Grant about his road to recovery

Last April, Enduro Bites athlete Alex Grant went from Olympic hopeful to breaking his heel while racing the first XC MTB World Cup in Cairns, Australia. He had surgery at the beginning of May to rearrange the 30-some pieces of his calcaneus.

In an earlier blog post Alex shared with us the 5 Key to Dealing with Injury. Today, we’re checking up on him and his recovery with a short Q&A.

How’s your recovery progressing?

It has been over six months since the surgery and recovery is still an ongoing process.  I am getting better every week and really stoked with the progress I have made.  At this point the bone has healed, but is still remodeling and gaining strength.  It takes about nine months for the remodeling to finish and for the bone to be as strong and resilient as it was prior to the accident. 

That stuff all takes places behind the scenes, while the things that I notice are the soft tissue and ligament/muscle weaknesses.  I have been working on those consistently, and will be for some time.  I had my last day of physical therapy in November and my therapist said she does not need to see me again. That doesn't mean I am going to stop working on it.  I'll keep at it until I am as close to 100% as I can get. 

What kind of training are you doing this winter?

I have just been stoked to be back out on the bike!  I have been hitting the mountain bike where I can and loving it.  I also started racing a little local cyclocross a few weeks ago.

I have introduced some short jogging a couple days a week, in addition to running at a few cross races.  Cross is a great way to get some intensity and speed back since there are not many mountain bike races in the fall.  I have also been working with Art at WUKAR on some strength training. 

What was your first race back? How was it?

My first race back was a local Utah Cyclocross race.  It was a blast!  I was just stoked to be back out there.  I actually felt pretty good, but my race rhythm was off a bit and my cyclocross handling was not dialed in yet – I didn't care.  I even put a hole in my tubular tire and had to change a wheel, but didn't worry about it; the fact that I was back out there racing and was able to run up the stairs was rad.

 What are your goals for this year?   

This year my goal is to get back to the level I was at prior to the injury, and have fun racing along the way. I'll be hitting races like the Epic Rides Series, Breck Epic, Park City Point 2 Point, and a few key XC's as well. 

I just want to focus on the biggest and most fun races that suit my strengths and allow me to bring the most exposure I can to my sponsors.  Based on how my foot was doing this past fall, it will not limit me on the bike as I come into the season.  I just need to get the rest of the engine tuned up and back in race shape!

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