Chronic Tear

I loved history as a young child, I remembered key dates such as 1066, 1666 and of course 1986 the year my childhood idol Greg LeMond won his first Tour de France.

Competing as a road cyclist in my teens and twenties and a quarter of a century career as a professional chef, life’s successes and failures were often down to key minutes or even seconds. That sprint for the finish line, under or over cook a piece of meat, have it tossed back at you by the chef often with a clip around the ear for good measure Worse still do that in a competition, a 2 hour window to cook your heart out for a national title! Where’s the fun in finishing in a timely fashion, you have to go right down to the last few seconds, you see it’s the adrenaline I love, I have done all my life.


18th September 2006, now there’s a date, no not the birth of Keira our eldest, we had celebrated her 1st birthday the week before. It was traditional for me to visit the Restaurant show and stand from afar and watch in awe as the chefs competed for the title of National chef of the year Although aged 32 at that time I still didn’t have the confidence to throw my hat in the ring, that was 4 years later… and we know the story there, it even sparked my first blog!


In a rush as always and keen to see my little one for the first time that week before bedtime, I decided to ride from the train station one handed on my station bike carrying my extensive haul from the show. I was a good bike handler so no problem there I foolishly thought, pride before a fall as the adage goes. That inherent rushing feeling came back, I wanted to go faster and a missed gear change which saw me on the floor. Now trust me when I say I have had some crashes, a 35mph slide onto on coming traffic whilst training in Tenerife left my complete side from ankle to shoulder looking angry and raw like one of my favourite Bar Boulud patties, pre grilled, of course! An uphill sprint finish in northern France, 4th in line well positioned with 250m to go and the guy came off in front of me, straight over the bars I went. Head on with a car, yep I’ve even done that one, broke my forks, rolled over the windscreen and landed on my feet (sort off) not a scratch on me, unfortunately for the owner of the car it was a right off!

This crash was different though, I wasn’t in my cycling kit there were no shoes clipped into the pedals, I landed sideways and a searing pain shot through my right leg like I hadn’t felt before. I was 500m from home so was able to freewheel with a leg outstretched, stumbled in the house and as Keira was already in bed asleep it had all been in vain.

Rat Race LOW RES-7495

A night sponsored by Ibuprofen followed and I could barely straighten the offending leg let alone put weight on it. The only way I could make it in to work was if I pedalled with the good leg and the foot clipped in the pedal with the offending right leg dangling. Several weeks later and a couple of sessions of physio it was beginning to improve a little.
IMG_0059You may ask why I had even stubbornly bothered to get out of bed that morning? It was some kind of perverse badge of honour, I hadn’t had a day off sick this millennium and it wasn’t going to start just cos of a stiff leg. This has continued through the years to date, a challenge that Andy one of my lads who had worked with me for some 12 years and through four kitchens knew all to well. Unfortunately Andy and I don’t work together anymore, yet word had got across somehow and sensing a moment of weakness teased me via text that I had taken the day off on the 16th August 2013, what did I say about a memory for dates! In truth I had picked up a stomach bug during the last week of our family holiday, to say I couldn’t fart with confidence was an understatement. Five Imodium were needed to just board the plane. Being a Friday, let alone working in the food business I caught up with 2 weeks worth of work email at home and dialled in for a conference call and naturally  took time to polish that badge of honour…

So why all the back story, the leading narrative, look at me “No days off sick for 15yrs” I guess it sums up that ‘lifes a rush’ attitude of mine, time takes too much time.


Fast forward to the end of January this year and training had been going well, I had never ridden so much over the Christmas break even in my racing years, but something felt wrong, my right knee felt odd, not comparable with the left. Actually in truth alongside my back something hadn’t felt right for years. It hadn’t stopped me running around the serpentine and up 28 flights of stairs three years in a row or fighting in the boxing ring both for charity. Also cycling, I had got myself ready to ride an incredible 440miles in 2 days from London to Edinburgh in just 8 weeks.

IMG_4258With so much training to do over the next 150 days let alone the actual challenge, I booked in to see a consultant. The beauty of Bupa, it went  like this – consultant Wednesday, MRI the following day, results on the following Tuesday. “Ahh Mr Groves, sit down, have you had a recent accident?” No not for a few years was my reply, “well you have had a chronic tear on your Anterior Cruciate ligament, how did you not know?” The news must have turned me white with fear, “don’t worry, it has stopped you and the strength of the quads and hamstrings has helped, if you were a footballer naturally it might have been a bit different. You also have tendonitis on the hamstring tibia insertion, and oh some cartilage damage, no doubt because of the accident!”

I had gone for that scan 8 years too late, no sense no feeling as the saying goes. The following day I had a jab of cortisone in the tendon IMG_4279and would need to back off from the training for a few days, maybe it was a warning shot across the bows, that stubbornness and determination to complete the task in hand in a timely fashion that had served me so well throughout my career, a much needed mindset for our challenge in July had masked what my body was trying to tell me.

So alongside the bike work, I’ve got a few months of sports therapy and physio to build up the glutes which had stopped firing as a consequence of the ACL deficiency. The body is an amazing thing it decided to partially bypass the hamstrings and glutes and generate the power from the back which was why that had been sore for so long. Careful and considered training are now the order of the day.


My Fundraising has reached the 40k mark, you guys truly are amazing.  If you would like to support the cause please click on my link. 100% of the donation goes direct to the CureLeukaemia charity-


Training sponsors –






Premium sponsors

bidvestlogo700width Brakes-food-service-supplier-catering-logo-design-branding-livery-BrandOpus-2   logo_santamariaIMG_4101



Generously Supported By


Oranka Juice Solutions Logo Black Image site-logo-trans1  Go green with GÔǪm logo print logo_ukMax  Adande_logo



~ by theboxterboy on March 1, 2015.

3 Responses to “Chronic Tear”

  1. […] I have a Physio appointment booked in tomorrow night, Charlotte has helped me immensely since my incidental ACL find, so no pressure […]

  2. […] a visit to a specialist and a MRI scan discovered an incidental njury from many years past a Chronic Tear that threatened to derail my tour […]

  3. […] lived with in oblivious ignorance for 8 years, since it wasn’t diagnosed until 2015, the Chronic Tear was back to haunt me. The cartilage damage had increased to an almost operation certainty […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: