The end of the road

After two years of diligently doing all kinds of exercises only to see a gradual decline in my hip, I went for another X-Ray – thinking there might be some kind of structural defect. This time the doctor said the hip showed femoroacetabular impingement. I think in layman’s terms they mean bone spur, so when the hip moves – bones move against each other causing problems. Unfortunately, no amount of rest or exercises can solve this extra-bone misalignment. Apparently, it is quite common, but if you exercise a lot, it can aggravate the situation and you notice it much earlier than a non-active person.

If it is bad enough – there is the possibility of surgery, but even if I do have surgery, and even if successful, the days of time trials and hill climb intervals are, unfortunately, over. I don’t believe surgery can take you back to complete recovery.

If anything it tends to deteriorate over time, and there is a higher probability of causing osteoarthritis, so the motivation of riding through pain and damaging cartilage is not that appealing.

I did look into Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) – the idea it is mainly false signals from the brain which are sending pain when it is not needed. I was really hoping this was the case. I definitely believe TMS is a real situation, but in my case, many things didn’t add up. I don’t have any kind of meaningful stress which could be causing it. It’s been painful sitting for a long time. Now I understand why I’m always squirming around seats and find long-distance driving a pain.

The funny thing is that since diagnosis, it feels worse – so there is probably some mental aspect in addition. In one sense, it is good to have a diagnosis, but I kind of preferred the previous glimmer of hope and belief there was nothing fundamentally wrong. I’m not sure why the MRI scan I had ten months ago didn’t show anything.

I know it could be a lot worse and all that, but it’s hard to avoid the fact it is a major disappointment. Make a couple of jokes about turning Vet, and before you know it the body has shut up shop 40 years early. I definitely could see myself competing as a ‘super vet.’ Even until this week, I still retained pretensions of being competitive in next years national hill climb championship. Of course, there are always other things to do, but it is hard to replicate the joy of cycling, visiting races, meeting cyclists, taking part and pushing the body to its limits. I have already looked into e-bikes, but was discouraged by a top speed of only 15mph. Anyway, it’s not the same.

I will continue to post a bit about cycling around Oxford.

33 Responses to The end of the road

  1. NOP November 16, 2018 at 11:13 am #

    Sorry to hear this. Having just got into cycling in my 3O’s and looking to start racing with a TT next year this is a great resource. Thank you. Good luck with the next stage of your journey.

  2. 24hourmaths November 16, 2018 at 11:17 am #

    Hi Tejvan – really, really sorry to hear this. What a bugger! I consider myself very privileged to have enjoyed some fabulous races with you. Best of luck with whatever you choose next and enjoy Oxford. Mike

  3. lindow_man November 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm #

    Sorry to hear this. I had to give up tt this year due to heart problems. It is a disappointment to me and I am old and crap, and anyway I can still ride a bike albeit just a bit slower. I imagine this must be much harder for you. Thanks for your posts on here and I look forward to reading more of whatever wisdom you find to write.

  4. Warwick Buzzard November 16, 2018 at 12:23 pm #

    Sorry to hear this Tej, I pass on my wishes.

  5. Richard Lunt November 16, 2018 at 12:37 pm #

    Sorry to hear this. I’ve read your blog quite a bit over the years. Thanks for the thoughts and best of luck with your next competitive endeavour (as I’m sure you’ll end up with one!).


  6. Simon Bromfield November 16, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

    This is very sad news for all of us reading this Tejvan. Your blogs & photography along with Simon Warre’s books have enabled me to explore all over the land in search of hills. I’ve recently returned from a trip to India having invested in a Leica Q which I took with led me to think what would I do in a world without cycling. Perhaps you could diverse into travel/street photography I’m sure you’re followers would be as eager to read about your travels exploits as your cycling ones. But without the pain references.

  7. Paul Heggie November 16, 2018 at 1:29 pm #

    So sorry to read this.I remember The Stang.A vile day and you triumphed.

  8. Nick Gendler November 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

    This was a very sad post to read, Tejvan. I’m not a competitive cyclist but a keen one, and have enjoyed peaking through the window into your world over the last few years. You write very well so I look forward to reading more from you, whatever the topic.

  9. Brian November 16, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

    Better to have tried and enjoyed than not to have competed at all. I am sure new challenges await, what about lifting people up?

    • Nick Gendler November 16, 2018 at 1:41 pm #

      That probably won’t be too good for his hips, Brian.

      • tejvan November 16, 2018 at 6:47 pm #

        Don’t worry, Brian is my father. A unique sense of humour, that often only us Pettinger’s can fully appreciate. 🙂

  10. Lynne November 16, 2018 at 2:08 pm #

    Sad news our kid. Would be happy to walk up a few mountains with you if you fancy trying that and can manage it?

  11. Simon November 16, 2018 at 2:36 pm #

    Like everyone else, I’m disappointed for you. Perhaps you can at least take some comfort from knowing you have achieved some great things and been a national champion. That alone is quite some thing! As well as some impressive rides your blog entries have always been well worth reading and will surely continue to inspire people in various ways.

  12. David Holland November 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm #

    Sorry to hear this I too was holding out hope for your return. I have found your blog very useful and inspiring over the years and as a local to Oxford could relate to a lot of the training around here. I know you have said previously about not wanting to be a coach but maybe now you can rethink that?

  13. Lee T November 16, 2018 at 3:29 pm #

    Hi Tejvan, although we have not met I have come to respect you through your blog. You have achieved so much by focusing your mind on the pursuit of your goals. You have been humble about your successes and yet you should also be proud of them. Whatever you choose to do next, I am sure you can achieve a new level of fulfilment. Whether that is helping others to reach their goals in cycling or something completely new.

  14. Chris November 16, 2018 at 4:09 pm #

    Sorry to hear this news.

    I had surgery for FAI and labral tear a few season’s back. It took a while to get back training, but I set a 10mile PB this season and I’m in much better form.

    Don’t give up yet.

    • tejvan November 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm #

      Thanks Chris. Very hopeful to hear.

  15. Thomas Pink November 16, 2018 at 4:41 pm #

    Really gutted to hear this Tejvan. I attribute my own interest in hill climbs to this blog and was the reason I got into organising my own clubs races. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and thoughts in cycling for so long, it has been a fascinating read and a helpful training g tool.
    Best of luck for the future.

  16. Spencer November 16, 2018 at 4:52 pm #

    Hey Tejvan – I suffered form a hip impingement 5 years back, which subsequently caused a laberal tear as well. After numerous visits to the GP and hospital I managed to get an MRI with a dye. This gave a very clear image of the hip and surrounding soft tissue ( I had an normal MRI and X-rays beforehand that showed no problem) – it was only after this that I got my diagnosis. I then chose to have keyhole surgery at Stanmore Hospital, rather than open surgery, where they ground the offending bone spur off with a dremel type thing and sorted the tear as well.

    I’m not an athlete like yourself, but I can certainly push alot more power through my hip, squats, cycling, rowing and skipping than I could before, the only thing that’s difficult is running longer than 5k due to the impact. If I had the choice again I’d have the surgery. All the best, Spencer

    • tejvan November 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm #

      Thanks for comment. Definitely some hope and I will try take similar path.

  17. Paul Heggie November 16, 2018 at 5:35 pm #

    Eminently treatable.
    I had FAI surgery in 2016 for a similar issue. I’m faster now.

    Sad that Tejvan feels he cannot continue racing.

  18. John McLaughlin November 16, 2018 at 5:47 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear that Tejvan, that’s all news. I’ve been lurking and reading this blog and it’s predecessor for a fair few years now, and have always found your insights from the sharp end of racing fascinating. Not competitive personally, but I also like to picture myself on 2 wheels for a few more decades yet. Wishing you all the best for whatever the future holds

  19. Andrew Whitaker November 16, 2018 at 8:32 pm #

    Clarity and Perspective…One door closes another one will open. I wish you as much success in your next journey as you had in your last….Peace.

  20. Arianne November 16, 2018 at 8:42 pm #

    I just wanted to add to the other commenters who’ve had treatment for FAI – this year I had my second op to sort my other hip. I’ve had tears on both sides, in one case because of a pincer, and the other being a bone spur. As long as you haven’t developed any (severe) arthritis, you’ll honestly have a full recovery! The keyhole surgery is fast and you heal swiftly – my left hip was done on August 31st and I’m already completely mobile again and able to get back on the bike.

    Don’t lose hope! I am looking at electric bikes personally, as i have stage 3 and 4 arthritis in those joints, but by working on my conditioning and building strength in my other muscle groups, I can offset things and still get by.

    Definitely worth finding a good consultant to chat to!

  21. Tom Cullen November 17, 2018 at 5:42 pm #

    Sorry to hear this Tejvan, your a real legend of the sport. I have enjoyed chatting to you at many events and seeing your dominance at the Otley Hill Climb over many years. Best of luck for the future.

  22. Specialist November 21, 2018 at 5:10 pm #

    Sorry to hear this and I hope that there might be a way forward as some have suggested. If you want to stay in the sport there is always a need for timekeepers, even occasional ones and Reading track league is also looking for some helpers for next season. There’s lots of other great stuff out there though.

  23. Doug November 28, 2018 at 11:11 pm #

    Very sorry to read this Tejvan. I have been reading your blog for quite a few years and I almost think I know you!

    I have been unable to cycle for 7 months owing to an indwelling catheter. I did try cycling once and it was agony. So therefore you have my every sympathy, I know what it feels like. I haven’t been able to run very much for the same reason.

    So here’s sending you best wishes.


  24. Patanga Cordeiro November 30, 2018 at 8:30 pm #

    From an ultramarathon runner’s bio: “His father, who owns a running store, has run over 70 marathons and has a PR of 2:22, all done bone on bone as he has no cartilage in his knee from a football injury.”

    Marathon in 2h22min = something of a 25-mile cycling TT in less than 50 minutes

    Best wishes

  25. Maria David December 1, 2018 at 4:25 pm #

    Sorry to hear about your hip, Tejvan. That must be so gutting. Is there really no way you can cycle? I have seen people who have had hip replacements and they have gotten back into racing after their period of recovery. Maybe a second or third opinion could be considered?

  26. Tim February 2, 2019 at 3:04 pm #

    Don’t despair. See a top consultant! I had FAI in both hips. Unbearable pain. Surgeon described one hip as borderline recoverable. I have had to give up competitive racket sports and have taken up cycling instead. Interestingly I never enjoyed cycling before because of the impingement! Unless you have less cartilage left than me (which is unlikely) you can make a full recovery on your natural hips with an arthroscopy. You will be fine for hill sprints. I am still improving aged 43. While a 60-90 sec gap between our best times is an eternity on some popular Cat 4s, it is not my dodgy hips keeping me from reaching your level! Rehab is long, but gentle stationary cycling is highly recommended especially to help heal micro fractures post surgery and then you can gradually build from there. Marmotte again for me this summer (with hopefully less cramp on AdH this time).

  27. Mark Pickett July 22, 2019 at 10:41 am #

    Hi, I have recently bought an e-gravel bike….Raleigh Magnum e-comp….admittedly it cuts out at 15.5 mph, but you can ride faster on the flat/downhill…it takes the stress out of climbing….(plus you can get a naughty cheat dongle which doubles the speed! Shh! Lol!)
    Might enable you to carry on enjoying riding a bit longer?

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