NJINGA

Fiona Inskip

Inspirational rehab story - From hip op complications to achieving a new lab record. Read below to see how Fiona surpassed all expectations.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES WITH NJINGA

FTP Score: 236 watts - Highest female FTP score recorded in the Njinga Lab

Qualified for UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in 2016 by finishing 4th in her age category at the Tour of Cambridgeshire

London Women's Racing TT League Road Bike VET Winner in 2018 (Finished in 1st place in her age category in 4 out of 5 TTs she raced)

Finished 2nd in the first Richmond Park TT in the road bike category in 2018

HOW I FIRST FOUND NJINGA

I used to do a bit of sprint triathlon, so I only ever rode my bike 20km, and to be frank, the cycling part was the only bit I was any good at (I’d have an average swim, storm it on the bike and then would cling on as much as I could on the run). Unfortunately in 2014, I was diagnosed with advanced bilateral hip arthritis (due to funny shaped hips) and was told I'd have to stop running.

I had an operation to try and preserve my left hip for as long as possible (a rather nasty thing called an open hip dislocation and debridement), and decided to take up road cycling post surgery because it’s non impact, it was recommended as a great way for me to keep active and fit. It was a few months after this operation that the Njinga lab opened, and I popped in to try out the wattbike. I enrolled in a programme and loved it. As well as classes in the lab, I got out on the road with the collective.

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WHERE MY REHAB BEGAN:

Unfortunately my left hip continued to deteriorate, and I had a second operation, this time for a total hip replacement. Although successful, I had post op complications with my back. There have been plenty of tears, lots of frustration, endless (and ongoing) rehab exercises and some very dark days. Just over a year ago I wondered if I’d ever be able to ride a bike properly again as I struggled to sit in the saddle for longer than an hour and had numbness in my right leg and foot. I genuinely thought I’d never get anywhere near my power numbers again, let alone surpass them.

 

MORE THAN JUST A NEW LAB RECORD

Despite everything, in 2018 I achieved a Njinga Lab record for the highest female FTP score recorded. It might just be a number, but for me personally it represents so much. What no one ever sees are the struggles away from the bike. Before my hip replacement, getting on the bike was a way of hiding that I was struggling to walk; I used to commute on the bike because I literally couldn’t walk the 15 minutes to the station. I had to carry a fold up walking stick in my bag just in case I got ‘stuck’ to try and help me take one small step after another (and this happened a lot). Getting on the wattbike in the lab made me feel ‘normal’ like everyone else.

 

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THE SUPPORTIVE NJINGA FAMILY

But throughout it all, there has been one constant, and that’s the support of the Njinga family. Togo and Leigh, your generosity in always offering me time in the lab as part of my rehab, even if it was sitting at the back spinning my legs. Josh and Jon, being there to build me back up during the programmes and pushing me up and up week after week. Also the encouragement with the Collective - starting me back slowly Ride Captaining with Mbidzi, along with the support of other Ride Captains and riders - everyone has been so supportive. I’ve also been motivated by watching the achievements of everyone else - be it someone’s first assent of Box Hill to Debs wearing the rainbow stripes - just wonderful to see.

NOT POSSIBLE WITHOUT NJINGA...

I’ve had to learn to be patient, to listen to my body and most importantly to focus on the things I can do and not worry about the things I can’t - in the last few months, it’s suddenly all come together again.

My goal for this year was to simply try to get back riding properly again, but with all your support I’ve surpassed that. And I know there is more to come. I can’t thank you enough.

I know this is all a little bit mushy, but I seriously wouldn’t be back where I am today without all of your help and encouragement. And everyday I look at my scars and feel lucky to be doing what I’m doing - there are plenty of people who have things far worse, so I’m grateful to have been patched up (although I am hoping the other gammy hip holds out for a bit longer as I’ll happily wait a few more years before another op!).

I was overwhelmed by my FTP result (new lab record) and couldn’t have done it without the support from all of you over the past couple of years.

START YOUR OWN JOURNEY

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Fiona's journey with Njinga has included:

  • Regular wattbike classes
  • Multiple Njinga Training Programmes
  • FTP Testing
  • Njinga Collective Ride Captain

FEELING INSPIRED? READ OTHER STORIES HERE

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