Three crashes in four months: Grischa speaks about his unlucky season
I’m writing to you from the hospital, which seems to be my second home this year – the doctors here know me pretty well by now. This is the third time since March I’ve needed an operation following a crash on the road. For a bit of variety it’s the left collarbone that’s broken this time, but it doesn’t make much difference since the consequences are always the same.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, crashes are part of the job description as a rider. That’s not to say we don’t try to avoid them, but after they happen we’ve just got to deal with the consequences and move on. Thinking that way isn’t easy when you’re lying on the street though, fully aware of what lies ahead of you in the next few weeks. From the onset of pain to the operation to sports rehabilitation and then back to training; unfortunately I know the order only too well by now.
It happened in the Course de Solidarnosz, 400 metres from the finish at the 2nd stage. Suddenly a large dog ran onto the track and for a short while stopped still in the middle of the lane. After a moment’s hesitation I continued riding with maximum speed, so I could lead André further into the sprint. But all at once the dog ran on, directly in front of my bike. He almost looked like he wanted to pull me from my bike. A crash was inevitable, at 60 km/h everything happens too quickly. Of course I still tried to avoid it at the last moment, and through the slight movement left that I made, I landed on the tarmac on my left side, but then slid over to the pavement on the right side of the race track, so that the other riders could go around me. However, my collarbone had to bear the burden, the dog practically tore the bike from under me and I rolled over, which is why the impact fell mostly on my shoulder and back. Other than that, I had abrasions on my legs. André Schulze was two positions behind me, had to skip out steps one and two and then could completely see his sprint through. He then masterfully won the stage, so the work up until then had at least paid off.
After first aid in a polish hospital, my next stop was once again the South Clinic in Nürnberg. Due to the numerous abrasions covering my shoulders and back I couldn’t be operated on immediately, and then my former Roubaix-injury started making itself known again. The bursa in my elbow still wasn’t 100% healed and further examination revealed that some bacteria had grown there, which among other things had greatly lengthened the healing process. There was a further danger that the bacteria would spread to the area where the collarbone would have to operated on. As a result it was only on Wednesday that the remainder of the bursa was cleaned up and the infected tissue removed, in order to close the door on that injury! This coming Wednesday a second operation, this time on the collarbone will take place. In the meantime I am in my new home, the hospital. I really have to be patient at the moment. I’ll be completely ready for time here to be up though, and I’m already looking forward to it.
Being in hospital doesn’t stop me from being an athlete, so I try to do as much as I can to stay in a good shape, even when I’m a bit limited. My right arm is in a splint and my left arm is also really limited by the collarbone break and the backpack-like bandage required until the operation. Today I still did a good 500 squats, though! I’m also really lucky that the Tour de France is going on at the moment, so I have no trouble filling my afternoons up, and seeing it on TV spurs me on to get back on my bike. How long I have to wait depends on what kind of plate they will build for me - and that can only be decided during the operation. The earliest I’ll be able to race again will likely be in September. That’s my hope, anyway. However, it’s clear that I won’t be in top-form after another long break, so the beginning of next season is already at the back of my mind.
2012 really hasn’t been my season and the bad luck this year should be enough to get me a few injury-free seasons at least! Let’s hope 2013 is considerably better. I want to be at the start healthy and in the best shape possible. Until then I will prepare at home and train with friends on our favourite tracks.
I guess what really matters in times like these are the people you have around you. The Team’s Management really supports me, which motivates me despite this setback. My parents are always at my side and without my girlfriend’s constant help and support, I don’t know where I’d be! She’s put up with me wonderfully this year…
As for you: thanks for being such loyal fans! Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll see each other soon in a race.