We chatted to the lovely Natasha Ryan to find out about her experience working on the Cure Leukaemia London to Paris event in September 2018. This London to Paris marked was Tasha’s first event working with the Roadside Therapy team, so we took some time to ask her about her experience during the event, her favourite bits and the skills that she will take away from it!
- Can you tell us a bit about your background, what you do and how long you’ve been doing it?
I graduated last year from University of the West of England with a BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy & Rehabilitation. I currently work in a multi-disciplinary healthcare clinic in Bristol, assessing and treating various injuries, providing sports massage and running rehab sessions in the gym. At the beginning of the year I set up my own business: Natasha Ryan – Sports Therapy & Rehab. As well as working in the clinic, I travel into local businesses to treat employees who suffer with desk-based related pains and complete private home visits. My job is very flexible, which has enabled me to say ‘yes’ to so many different opportunities. London to Paris was just one of them and I am so thankful because I learnt a lot and met so many lovely people.
Tell us about your typical day on the event:
- What time did you get up each day?
The alarm was set for 5am on the first morning of the trip. This gave us enough time to assemble the bike stands, distribute the water (this needed to last the whole trip, so there was a lot to hand out), meet the team that we would be spending the next 4 days with and drink coffee. The following mornings my alarm was set for 6am.
- What was your first job in the morning?
Our first job was to set up our treatment area. Unfolding our massage beds, getting the dreaded foam rollers and massage balls out, making sure we all hand our clipboards and pens ready for riders to write their names on the waiting list (which reached two pages at one point). After, we would help get the rider’s food ready, make sure the kit bags were well organised and help with the branding. When the riders arrived it was all smiles and positivity to get them ready for what lay ahead.
- Where were you based for the duration of the event?
We followed the riders from London to Paris over the 4 days. There were 3-4 pit stops including a lunch stop during the day. Some stops would be outside but the majority of the stops were inside gym halls and community centres where the riders could rest and recharge.
- What were you involved in?
The Roadside Therapy team were flat out at most stops. Providing massage, taping, giving advice to riders and words of encouragement. I also got the chance to speak to a few riders and listen to their story and reasons for taking on this challenge, which was humbling to say the least.
- What kind of things did you do for the riders?
There were a lot of riders complaining of sore necks, lower back pains, and quad tightness. The team and I used various massage techniques to relieve some of their pain and get them on their way. If a rider saw us regularly for neck pain, we would send them over to the bike mechanics to get their biked assessed. We found that a small adjustment to their seat height had a huge reduction in neck pain. Make sure you check your bikes!
- Did you have many injured riders?
We didn’t see too many injuries. However, a few big injuries did occur. One rider hit the curb and couldn’t get her feet out of the toe clips and ended up falling on an outstretched arm, breaking her collar bone. Another rider slipped during a pretty miserable day and ended up with a surprisingly impressive bruise on his thigh.
- What massage tools did you use most often?
I don’t tend to use tools when I treat but I have been known for having a sharpened elbow.
- Was a lot of taping required?
Not a lot of tape was used. We had a few regulars that wanted their neck and/or calves taped but a lot of the treatment was simply working on their fatigued muscles.
- Can you roughly run through what a typical day at the event was like?
I would get up a 6am. Either me or my room mate, Julz (therapist) would make the coffees whilst the other had a shower. We would meet the other two therapists, load the car and travel to the start of the ride. We would quickly set up our treatment area and then lend a hand setting up the food, coffee and tea area, getting the rider’s kit bags out and branding set up. As the riders arrived, the DJ played the music, a funny dancing warm up took place to lift spirits and we completed an hour of treatment to loosen up tight muscles.
After we cheered off the last group of riders we would pack everything up and drive to the stop which was normally just a 10-minute water stop. Our drive between stops was around 40 to 60 minutes, the three of us in the passenger seats would try and get a power nap in. Our longest stop was at lunch but it seemed to be the quickest. After repeating the same set up routine as carried out in the morning, we would grab some lunch and wait for the riders to arrive. During our wait we got the chance to practice different techniques on one and other and got rid of any pains and aches that we had. Once the riders arrived we would be flat out, treating riders back to back for the next couple of hours. By the second day we already had our regulars who we saw at every stop.
Packed up and on the road again, we would have another water stop before heading to the hotel. Most evenings the riders would arrive a little later than expected, so the team and I would see as many riders as we could before dinner. Around 7.30pm we would all sit down and have dinner as a team. Once fed and watered we would get back to the treatment room and continue to treat the riders that evening. The latest we worked to was 11:00pm but most evenings the riders didn’t want us working past 9:30pm and invited us to relax with them. I really enjoyed the evenings because I got to meet some incredible people.
- Is there any advice you’d give to future therapists?
This was my first ever cycling trip and I enjoyed every minute of it. Sure, you will be tired but you will be surrounded by so many positive and supportive people, you will find the drive to get you through. My advice would be to talk to as many people as possible, riders or therapists as I learnt so much. I found helping the riders as best you can to be the most rewarding because when we reached Paris on the Sunday all of the riders were so grateful and appreciative of all the work that we had done throughout the trip.
- Any advice for future London to Paris riders?
A lot of riders before the London to Paris trip had never completed a long cycle ride. I would definitely say that some sort of training pre-trip is required! The Roadside Therapy team are there to help you, so be sure to utilise the massage sessions. Remember to enjoy every minute. It will be worth it once you’re standing under the Eiffel Tower!!
To find out more about the event you can watch the highlights video below from Cyclevox:
We’d like to say a special thank you to Tasha for all of her hard work on this event. She stepped in relatively last minute to covering it, but still the feedback has been fantastic and we’re thrilled to have her skill sets and passion on the team. We look forward to Tasha doing more events with Roadside Therapy in 2019! 😊
To find out more about Tasha and her practice in Bristol, you can visit her Facebook page – HERE