City lawyer Duncan talks about his passion for cycling since his hip replacement…
I have always lived an active life. I was an avid runner, (I ran in the first ever London Marathon in 1981), and a keen club squash player. So in 2009, at the age of 55, when my right hip started to cause me discomfort, I assumed it was a sport related issue. It was a great surprise to learn that I needed a new hip – I was too young and it seemed terribly unfair!
I probably went into a state of denial: I soldiered on still finding ways to exercise and was very conscious that if I had a “standard” NHS hip replacement I would only be able to have one replacement after the first one. I did not like the idea of having to nurse my new hip: I wanted so far as possible to be as active after the operation as I had been in the past.
Just as the pain was starting to become acute, I had the good fortune to sit next to a guest at a dinner party, a guy about my age, who had been in the same boat as me. He recommended I visit Mr Derek McMinn, who had performed his hip replacement. What particularly attracted me was that the McMinn designed Birmingham Mid Head Resection (BMHR) involved losing much less bone, so that if and when the joint ever needed replacing due to normal wear and tear, the next step would be what would otherwise have been a conventional “first replacement”. This was important to me because prospectively it gave me the chance of three hips rather than two – assuming a long and active life.
In my first year following the surgery in November 2011 I followed doctor’s orders and was fairly cautious. But I started to cycle to build up leg muscles, and about 16 months after the operation did my first 100 mile charity cycling event. I had been bitten by the cycling bug.
Shortly thereafter, I committed to joining colleagues at my law firm who were planning to cycle from our London office to our office in Paris within 24 hours. I invested in a decent road bike, and did four more 100 mile events as part of my training. We headed off from London at 1700 hours on the “longest day” of 2013 and cycled down to Newhaven to catch the 2300 hours ferry in a team of 12. Despite an inordinate number of punctures (7 between us), we arrived in Paris some 22½ hours and 175 miles later. I am happy to say that I’m still experiencing the pain free results of the BMHR procedure, and have done another three 100 mile events since.
More “sportives” (non-competitive long distance rides) have followed this year, and I managed to gain entry into the 2014 Prudential Ride London 100 mile event which was held on 11th August. The event, (which started last year and received live coverage on the BBC), is part of the Olympic cycling legacy and runs through closed streets in London and Surrey, finishing down The Mall. I have the good fortune to be representing Action Medical Research, who fund research to prevent and treat disease and disability in babies and children.
As you may have seen from the television reports, the conditions were atrocious; with torrential rain from the beginning, the roads flowing with water, and the cyclists having to make their way through flooded underpasses. Disappointingly, the two biggest climbs on the course had to be closed as it would have been too dangerous to descend at high speed in the conditions. Despite everything I finished the (shortened) course of 86 miles in 5 hours 32 minutes, which included 25 minutes stationary waiting for the exit from Richmond Park to open following an accident.
- Duncan McDonald.