Kinetic Ambassador: Melissa Hunter

TRAINER THURSDAY: MELISSA OVERCOMES THE ODDS

I’ve seen a lot of chatter on the internet about triathletes who trained for their cycling segment using ONLY an indoor trainer. Normally, off-road riders will scoff about trainer use, how we should be riding exclusively outdoors, and somehow imply that riding an indoor trainer makes you weak. I have a different story to tell.

You can read about the background on my blog, but the short story is that I had a rapid onset of symptoms in early 2017 which uncovered a long-standing congenital defect. I unknowingly rode my broken spine into oblivion on thousands of miles of off-road adventures and subsequently needed a lumbar spinal fusion. I now have hardware that was installed in the front AND back of my spine. My core muscles were cut in order to install titanium that prevents my leg from going numb and launching me down the stairs. Overall, it was a win.

Recovery was, in a word, awful. Never have I experienced these levels of pain, and I’m a solid pursuer of Type 2 fun. Two years ago I started the long and arduous recovery process, and I’m still going. I started on a stationary Kinetic Smart Control trainer one week after surgery, pedaling with no resistance. It was a waste of good technology! I gradually built up my endurance and strength to ride 100 miles at a time on the trainer using Zwift.

The following spring, I started tackling some of my favorite off-road group rides and often rode home crying in pain. While my legs were ready from the many hours on the trainer, my core and supporting muscles were not.

With the aid of a wonderful physical therapist, a personal trainer, AND most importantly the addition of a Kinetic Rock and Roll trainer, I was able to build up my core this past winter. I’m back to riding my favorite “short” 70-mile gravel routes, chasing the fast folks on the Tuesday night gravel group ride, and I did my first post-surgery cyclocross race this week!

For me, indoor trainers have been an indispensable recovery tool. I am now able to better train my legs, lungs, AND core muscles indoors and it’s paying huge dividends in the quality and quantity of my outdoor off-road riding.

— Melissa Hunter, Kinetic Ambassador

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