You might have seen Cam Cole’s massive crash at Vallnord, which led him to be airlifted off the hill and taken straight to hospital. It turned out Cam had broken one vertebrae (T7), smashed up a couple of teeth and received a whole pile of cuts and bruises.
Cam has had a little bit of time to reflect on racing and injuries, which he’s written in his blog which can be found here, but here’s the extract…
ps. Heal up fast Cam!
Lessons of Life on Wheels
I am not sure if I am writing this because I have been stuck in a hospital room for 4 days feeling a bit closed in by the walls or I actually mean it. Either way it’s made it on to my blog.
I was reading a book to do with the psychology of winners in the lead up to the Andorra World Cup however it wasn’t the typical style of book you might be thinking of. I’ve read the book 2 times before. This third time the book made more sense. I took a lot from it, applying it at the race. After a great qualifying run I was confused and demoralized on the time gap to the top, I was determined to fix it Sunday. On race day I felt free and was racing for the moment. No thoughts of past or future. This was the now.
I can remember racing bikes since day 1. It’s all I’ve ever really been into. At school I was determined, worked hard and got the marks I needed to qualify for University, that’s what you did after secondary school right? I still felt bikes pulled me their way more than anything else. Opportunities popped up in bike racing more than anything else in my late teens and I took every one of them and chased it. One led to another and another. Where am I now? Flat out in a Hospital bed. Broken back, teeth, sore neck, cuts and bruises all over my face. Que thoughts from the “normal” people in society, ones that know no passion or drive for something. “Oh mountain biking, you guys are crazy, right?” “What are you going to do now with your life?” “That will put you off” all the usual stuff. If you are even a little like me you will have heard this stuff before.
Sitting staring at the ceiling, nothing else to do I flicked my I Pod on and hit play on the last song I used to get me going for my final run. Music helps me relax and focus in on what I want to happen when I ride. The feeling from it transfers into the feeling on the bike. I hit the play button. All the thoughts and memories from Sunday came flooding back, not that they had disappeared, how could they in my new situation but it was a fresh take on it. I’d not thought much about the day I had at the racetrack. I tried to forget about it mostly. At the time it seemed like a horrible day to be me. Lying on the side of the track as the rest of the boys raced past, so many thoughts roll through your head. “Dude this isn’t good you can’t move. Will I ever ride a bike again? What does this mean? Why me, now?“ These thoughts pass through your head until the injury is confirmed. I’d been here before but not like this. 4 days on I feel it was one of my best days in my career. I felt amazing on the track no thought crossed my mind on the bike that day. Free and easy but focused and loving all of it. I have struggled this World Cup season to find my feet and where I belong maybe lost who I really am at times which didn’t help my racing. I have fought so hard over the last 10 months to get to the very top. Perhaps I have forced the issue to do well too much, focusing on out come and not the processes to get there. I have been so close before but something always seems to deny me the top step. Lesson are learnt, time to move on.
“I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.