March 28, 2023 3 min read

Injuries can have a profound impact on a person's life, both physically and emotionally. A sudden injury can cause pain, limit mobility, and require significant medical attention and rehabilitation. This can disrupt a person's daily routine and prevent them from engaging in the activities they love. In some cases, injuries can even cause permanent disability, forcing individuals to adapt to a new way of life. 

We reached out to our community, asking our HEST Family and Friends how HEST has helped them get back on their feet and live the life they deserve after injury. Ian Robinson shared with us how the HEST Sleep System has kept him crushing his Gravel Bike Races.

Full Name: Ian Robinson 

Home Base: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Occupation: Land/Hydrographic Surveyor

Age: 38 

How long have you been bike racing? 

I have been officially gravel racing for 5 years now.

Next upcoming bike race? 

April 1, 2023, the Appalachian Journey. It is a team duo “race” in the western part of Virginia.

Can you share more about your injury?

In early December 2020, my back locked up and I was in an incredible amount of pain. This wasn’t the first time it had happened but it was the first time since the initial injury happened that I felt like it wasn’t like the other times. In August 2013 I had shown up to an ice hockey game late, I had no time to stretch or warm up. Along with that I had been very dehydrated all week long. Some time in the game I received a pass and went on a break way towards the goal. That’s when it all went black and I was in the worse pain of my life.  I had no health insurance at the time and chalked it up to a ruptured disk. 

Back to December of 2020. I finally went to a chiropractor to see what could be done. The X-rays came back telling us that I was born with Spina Bifida, I had no clue and neither did my parents. My L4 and L5 vertebrae never properly developed and during that hockey game the “fused” bone snapped.  So I have been living with a broken vertebrae since 2013.

How has the injury impacted your life and things you do?

In the X-ray from 2020 it showed that my vertebrae had moved. I have not been able to be completely normal since that day. I race gravel bikes, and it's hard on your body even without an injury. I have adopted a healthier life style, losing a good amount of weight and finding products that help give me the comfort I need. Everything I do and buy I think about how it will affect my injury.

Does your injury affect your ability to have a restful night sleep?

Yes, absolutely. My mattress at home is comfortable and unless I sleep awkwardly it doesn’t mess with my back too much. A lot of gravel races are held in state or national parks where camping is the main source of lodging. For years I have had trial and error with how and what to sleep with pre and post-race. Without a good night sleep your race could be ruined.

Which HEST products do you use while camping at bike races?

I have the HEST Sleep System and two HEST Camp Pillows.

Can you share your experience using HEST? How has it affected your bike races?

I love the Sleep System and have 100% recommended it to everyone that has asked about it and I 100% recommend it for anyone that travels. Camping or not. I have used it to stay at friends houses as well, taking my Sleep System over sleeping on a couch or a “traditional” blow up mattress. The Sleep System to me is almost as important as my bike and nutrition for the races. The trifecta if you will. 

In the first two races I have done this year, I have slept on the Sleep System mattress and have crushed both races. My latest race, The Croatan Buck Fifty, a grueling gravel race through the Croatan National Forest in Eastern North Carolina. I took off 31 minutes from my previous personal best placing 17th in my category out of 106 and 28th out of 279 overall. I truly believe a great night sleep was a huge contributing factor.

You can check out Ian’s adventures and his bicycle club Outsiders Bicycle Club on their Instagram. If you know an awesome HEST Story that should be featured, shoot us an email!