Coffee Stop

The Alpine Massage Challenge by Dan Scott, TheTriTouch

Tuesday 08 November 2011

My new career started 3 months ago when I graduated from the North London School of Sports Massage and I have loved every minute of it. I have met great people, visited stunning locations and have developed my skills to make me a better therapist.

On of the many events that I have attended over the past few months was The Alpine Challenge 2011. It is a four stage cycle event based in the beautiful lakeside town of Annecy which offers breathtaking scenery in the Savoie, France. This year it took place on 7th - 11th September 2011

The event consisted of a series of mountain stages (approximately 110-120km per day) and created an experience similar to the Tour de France. Following a warm-up ride around Lake Annecy on arrival, the event started with a timed mountain stage which was used to seed riders into the appropriate groups.

Three mountain stages followed, crossing some of the infamous mountain stages such as the Cols des Aravis. Riders were supported by a professional crew including masseurs, mechanics and Mavic neutral service

Each day there was a timed climb, of which the aggregate time determined the Leader’s Jersey winners (male and female) for the next stage.

Mike Peters and I represented TheTriTouch as the Sports Massage Therapists for the event. We provided daily Sports Massage (pre/intra/post event), recovery advice and stretching sessions for the 60 riders. Most of the riders and ride captains doing this event took part in The London-Paris (L2P) cycle event in June which I also worked at. It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

Dan and Mike at The Alpine Challenge 2011

The typical daily routine consisted of getting up early for a cycle, run or swim followed by breakfast with the riders and crew. We then set up and massaged the three groups before they set off for the day. Throughout the day we were on hand to massage; during the lunch stop and again back at the hotel. The afternoons and evenings consisted of long recovery and stretching sessions with the riders until around 11pm.

The treatments consisted mostly of intra event flushing and stimulation techniques during each stage, with the bulk of our work taking place during the recovery sessions after the race. As each stage is about climbing, the riders predominately used their quadriceps and gluteals (depending on if they stayed in the saddle or came out of the saddle). As a result, deep and slow flushing of the quadriceps and gluteals was essential. We organised a stretch session each evening to encourage recovery and recommended a 15 minute cold bath to reduce inflammation.

Dan at The Alpine Challenge 2011

My biggest test was a rider who suffered cramping on one of the climbs. It was clear he was a priority case and I started cautiously with light compression on the quadriceps. The rider then started to cramp in his hamstrings quadriceps and then both his legs became locked in extension through multiple cramping. I noticed what looked like mice running under his skin , a sign which indicates hyponatremia and called the doctor in who gave him a muscle relaxant and put him on a saline drip. The rider recovered and his descent was unfortunately in an ambulance back to the hotel.

During the event I had the privilege of massaging Yanto Barker (British Pro racing cyclist), Emma Davies (Ex British Olympic cyclist) and Stephen Roche (1987 Tour de France winner). I was also lucky enough to treat James Golding who works with UK Youth and has beaten cancer twice! He is such a positive young man with a passion to inspire others. He inspired me from the moment I met him and I hope to get the chance to work with him and his future challenges at UK Youth.

This was a great experience for me as I got to witness first hand, the training, recovery and massage techniques which make up the weekly training schedule of a professional athlete. The event has increased my confidence, client base, contacts and my passion for cycling. I would recommend working at a large sportive to anyone who gets the chance. It is a fantastic experience and affords you great opportunities to further your career, develop your skills and meet some truly inspirational people.

TheTriTouch works with high level tri-athletes, cyclists and runners at big events. I have been part of the massage crew for 3 months which has afforded me some invaluable opportunities. Next year I hope to go to the Tri-athlon World Championships.

The Author

Dan Scott is a Level 5 Sports and Remdial massage therapist and gained his qualification at NLSSM. Dan has been a soft tissue therapist with Championship rugby side London Scottish for the past 2 seasons, he was part of the medical team accompanying the 1st team to winning National league one and promotion to the championship. Dan also is part of TheTriTouch massage crew who work at triathlon and cycling events around the world, which include The London-Paris (L2P) cycle event and The Alpine Challenge in the French Alps. Dan also works in a number private practices in London and is currently a trainee tutor at Findlay Massage School FMS (formerly NLSSM)

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