“The whole experience is and has been completely ridiculous. I won’t do the play by play of the crash again until I have the opportunity to do it in front of a judge, but it wasn’t until long after the incident when the implication of what had happened started to set in. Immediately after the crash I was thinking about how I wanted to punch this dude out despite my broken left shoulder. Seriously. I was dead set on taking the right steps to assure the guy who crashed me would be brought to justice, though. Getting the police on the scene, getting officials to take statements, that sort of thing. I didn’t want to take any chances with letting this Atkins fellow slip away after he intentionally wrecked me. My shoulder was already broken, my season essentially over, and the only thing to do in that moment was to assure that this guy was held accountable for taking away the opportunities that I had made for myself after all my focused hard training this past winter.
“It wasn’t until I saw the x-ray that I realized just how messed up my clavicle was. There was 4cm of overlap on the bone and several fragments littered around my muscle.
“It looked like someone put an M80 in my chest and lit the fuse. It was a mess.”
“It was really hard to handle because at the time of my injury I was riding better than I ever had. It was a wake-up call for me: I realized just how fragile my body was and how easily all my fitness could go away. I had trained for the six months before my crash, and it took only 21 days of forced rest to basically be back to where I started. The only thing that kept me motivated was my obligation to the team and my desire to not let this hot head ruin my season. Kenda was so supportive of me and all I wanted was to get back in shape so that I could be back on the road with the guys. When you are not winning races the only thing to think about is, “What do I have to do in order to get back to winning?”
“Hands down that was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. Either everyone who breaks their collarbone is tougher than I am, or I did something wrong when it came to pain management. I may have been back to racing four weeks out of surgery, but it felt like it took much longer. The bone was put back together the day of the surgery, with the two plates and 13 screws straightening the break up quickly. The only question is whether the bone could handle another impact if I were to crash again. I figure that it wasn’t until meeting Jon Atkins that I broke any bones, so I like my odds of avoiding another one with him being suspended.”