It’s pretty ironic that before I left for training camp this summer my sister gave me the book, “The Adversity Advantage”, She said it’s all about suffering and embracing life’s obstacles, you will love it she said. So, as I departed for Leysin back in May I began reading it. Little did I know that a few weeks later I would be faced with an unexpected adversity that would send my season into a tailspin and force me to completely reshape how I would have to approach the months ahead.
Just over 2 weeks ago I suffered the worst crash of my career while out on a training ride. Going some 40mph down our mountain road in Leysin my wheel failed on me, slicing my tire and tube, sending me flying over the handle bars. With no time to react my left shoulder and head took the brunt of the fall. If not for the amazing helmet provided by our helmet sponsor, Louis Garneau, I might be sitting here with a broken neck or possibly something even worse! Not only did the helmet protect my head but it stabilized my spine as my body crashed and slid down the road.
I remember every detail about the fall. I quickly sprung to my feet and after trying to raise my left arm I could feel the crunch that was my broken collar bone. I can remember being pretty calm but also in a rush to it x-rayed. Huge thanks to George, Christian, and James for sitting me down and calling coach Brett to come and take me to the hospital.
The next 5 hours was an exercise in how incredibly efficient our world is today. I had an X-Ray taken, which was emailed to my Dr. at home, Dr. Geraldo Goldberger, which was followed up with several emails, and 2 skype calls. Once Brett, Gerry, and I decided surgery was the way to go, I quickly got on another skype call to my airline trying to change my return ticket to the states to the following morning. I crashed just past 11 a.m. and by 4p.m. I had a flight booked and was scheduled for surgery 48 hours later.
The flight home was as you can imagine not the most comfortable trip I have ever taken! With road rash, a bruised left hip, and elbow, throw in a broken collar bone and the time could not go by fast enough! More than anything I was full of anger as the most important 6 weeks of my year lie ahead of me and they were now pretty much wiped off the calendar.
What a two weeks it has been! Operated on a Wednesday, I was back on the trainer riding by Monday with my sights set on swimming and riding outside by 4 weeks after the operation. The next question that had to be answered was do I go back to Leysin and when?? Well, part of why this has been such a bummer is because for my brother’s 40th birthday, which is on the 27th of July, my family was to fly Rob and his wife Christy over to Switzerland to visit with me, see a few stages of the Tour de France, and come see us race at The Alpe d’ Huez Triathlon. So after my first post op visit with Gerry he said I could go back to Switzerland after 1 more X-ray in 6 days time.
I am happy to report I am in route back to Leysin. My second X-Ray showed that the healing has begun, and I am on schedule to resume normal training in just 13 more days. I am quite amazed with how quickly the body can recover from such an event. I notice progress on a daily basis, the pain is nearly gone, my range of motion is improving, and I can go 100% on the trainer, really flog myself!
I am happy that I will get to go see a stage or two of the tour with Rob and Christy but disappointed that I won’t be able to ride my bike with him as I was really looking forward to taking him around some of our regular training routes as he has never seen mountains like this in his life. I am also terribly disappointed to have to miss Team TBB’s annual tour de france that we go on each year as this is my favorite week of the entire year! It is what it is and I am happy that I will still be able to get in a solid 3 weeks of training here before I return to the States to resume racing.
I think some of my family and friends were worried how this would affect me mentally. Would I be scared to get back on the bike? Would the spirit that drives me to train be gone? Not even! In fact this whole ordeal has rejuvenated me sending my motivation through the roof. You see, 4 years ago, same time of the year as now, I was faced with an adversity of overcoming the separation with my wife. At 27 years old I was in a downward spiral, fighting for my life mentally, and completely lost! But I pulled myself out of the pub and started training for Ironman. I was an angry man who had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. The only thing I knew was that I was going to take my pain and anger out on my training.
Well…as I sat on my back porch riding the trainer for the first time after the operation the anger I had inside of me four years ago had returned. The difference this time is I know where I am going because I can now taste the top of the mountain, I am so very close! I will have to repeat a few steps but the path will be familiar! Four years ago I was fighting for life, now I am fighting for my career! Two similar feelings of anger but one had no clear path and was lonely. This new anger has a clear path and has the support of family, friends, and teammates!!!
I need to thank Dr. Gerry Goldeberger of
Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
Dr. Gerry has been a personal sponsor of mine the past two seasons and luck was on my side after suffering this crash, my personal sponsor is one of the leading orthopedic shoulder specialists in the world!! If you ever are in need of an Orthopedic Dr. call him!! You won’t be disappointed! I also need to say a huge huge thank you to Louis Garneau our helmet and shoe sponsor! Thank you for saving my career and possibly my life! Of course thank you to our leader Brett for scooping me up off the side of the road and taking me to the Dr. The road back has begun!
And lastly big thanks of course, to my two families. My family at home for your continued support, I am blessed to have such an incredible support staff back home. And my second family or at least it felt like family the night of my crash, my Team TBB teammates! I am not sure if it was Brett and Alex’s intention to create such an environment when they started the team or maybe it’s just that good people attract each other? Well, the night of my crash…nearly every athlete that was in the village came to see me and those that couldn’t make it sent heart felt notes to me! The Germans brought fruit, Timmy Don brought a cake, and the Swiss boys brought me beer…Although Reto would only allow me to half a beer, hehehe Thanks guys! We have incredible group of people here! Each one of us is very lucky to be here! Thanks for reading!