September 11th 2011 was the ten-year anniversary for the horrible attacks in the U.S., that we all know so well. But, for me it was also a day which marked a new era…

After my surgery in august 2008, and a recovery-period with the theme “get to know yourself again”,  I started doing road bike racing again, as I had done before. The first season in 2010 was tough and I got dropped in most races – simply due to lack of physical shape. But, after the last surgery and correction of my ostomy in late November 2010 and a good training throughout the winter I finally had caught up and in 2011 I was able to participate in the races, go in breakaways and so forth.

So, what is so special about today – 11th september 2013? Well, today it is exactly two years since I last rode my race bike in a competition and since then triathlon has been an huge part of my life. On that day in 2011 I only managed to be in the race for about 4 k’s before I was forced into the asphalt, due to a big crash in the peloton. As my rear wheel got blocked by another bike flying through the air, I took the flight over the handlebar and landed on the back, sliding towards the curb of the road. I hit the pedestrian street curb quite hard with head and shoulder first with a speed of about 50 km/h (at least that was the last registered speed on my computer). The picture below shows the impact on my helmet, which luckily spared my head completely.

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But, I wasn’t supposed to go through the situation that easy. I immediately felt pain in both my shoulders and after getting picked up by an ambulance and put on the spine-board, a CT scanning showed a fracture on both my left and right shoulder blade. I escaped surgery because of the placement of the fractures, but still had to have my right arm fixed for weeks before i could start the rehabilitation process.

A month before this episode I watched my wife finish her first ironman distance triathlon and I was hooked right away. I HAD to do that as well – ostomy or not. There was only one minor detail – I wasn’t able to swim crawl at all!

So why do I write all this history? Well, because I want to prove, that even though things look bad there is light at the end of the tunnel and if you really want to – you can do it!

Obviously it was quite a challenge to both recover from the bike accident and learn to swim at once, but as you can read else where on this blog i managed to succeed and finished my first ironman distance in august 2012.

Today it is almost a month since the finish of my third and latest Ironman triathlon, with my second Ironman taking place only three weeks prior to that. Looking back two years from today shows the trail of an amazing journey, where triathlon has given me so much! First of all the possibility to fulfill the dream of what i first thought was the ultimate challenge that i could give myself – completing an ironman in less than eleven hours. Later on I have experienced, that the distance itself is not really the challenge, it is first of all your mentality and then the surroundings can make the race faster or slower, depending on water temperature, waves, temperature in general,  climbs and rain on the bike and last but not least the support from the spectators on that final run can really make a difference when you’re out close to the limit.

Let this 9/11 be my tribute to a wonderful sport that has given me so much more back than I could ever have dreamed of.

 

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