As most of you will have already known the terrible news, but last weekend ended off as a disaster. I had entered in the Mudman series event held up at midmar early Sunday morning. My only intention was to do it for fun and maybe give the off road scene a try for the first time. I decided I would race, on the Wednesday before, and only had 1 practice ride on my dads mountain bike to get the feel of mountain biking.
It was a cold overcast day with a slight drizzle that morning, not ideal racing conditions but you can’t change Mother Nature! I heard the commentator announcing that I was one to look out for and named ‘the dark horse’. I kinda liked that and wanted to see what I had to offer at an off-road event. The race went underway and struggled the first 500m of the 750m swim with team mate Glen Gore right on my heals. After warming up I pulled away and managed to put 30 seconds into him at T1 and headed out onto, what others say, ‘a fairly technical’ bike course. After 1 lap of 10km I kinda got the hang of it and got faster through the technical parts. On the second lap, two athletes past me and this was when I put everything else aside and stuck to them, but lost that connection after my gears stuck. I tried to gain as much as I could on the straights because that’s where I was better than everyone, and 3km to go on a slight downhill there was a big ‘ugly’ bump that forced riders to go slow over and I went way to fast over it, giving me some good airtime but, somehow made me land almost vertical wheel first then onto my shoulder/back/arm. I sat on the ground feeling helpless as I couldn’t move a muscle, and a minute later passing out for a minute or two. I was rushed to hospital for x-rays and check ups. Unfortunately the results showed my right collar bone had shattered into 4 pieces and a fracture in my shoulder.
I managed to get surgery done on my collar bone the next afternoon where the doctor placed a plate with 7 screws holding my bone in place. To this day it is still very sore if I don’t keep taking painkillers. After speaking to my doctor, he recons I will be able to be back in the pool 2 weeks from now and running very soon. I only take this opportunity to strengthen my legs with some simple squats and so on and will begin cycling on the trainer when my wound is a little more healed up.
My lesson was learnt the hard way! The lesson was to maybe get use to the feel of mountain biking before you go do a competitive race, and don’t be too fearless like I was because look where I’m sitting now 😉 I am very fortunate to have had so much support coming from my friends and family and even the officials who took care of me just after my crash. I really appreciate all you guys have done for me over the past few days.
Big question everyone probably wants to know is will I ever get back on a mountain bike and race competitively again? My answer is ofcourse, when can I start!