After nine long years of rehab and recovery, Simon Richardson MBE marks his return to competition with a ride at the first round of the Merlin Cycles Classic Series in Dorset this weekend.
The Paralympic ace was hit by a drunk driver in 2011 while training for the London 2012 Paralympics. After 15 days in a coma and a long stay in hospital he was left with brain and nerve injury.
Initially his back couldn’t support itself, but after nine years of operations to stabilise his back, he received the all-clear to begin racing again and began training.
That was two years ago, and his first race back in this Sunday’s event near Wimborne.
It marks a superb comeback to cycling for an inspiring individual who has faced more challenges in the last couple of decades than most of us face in a lifetime.
In 2001 he was involved in an accident with a car which left him with a broken back and leg. Two operations later he was left with nerve damage and a lack of power to his left side.
Cycling was part of Richardson’s rehab, and in 2006 he took part in his first disabled cycle race. Shortly after he was talent spotted by British Cycling, and he went from strength to strength, breaking world records and competing at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.
But then in 2011 he was injured again in a crash and has faced the battle of his life to get back on a bike and compete.
“It has been really hard to get any fitness but I now have some,” he told Cycling Time Trials this week.”
While recovering he has worked to help promote paracycling and keep it in the public eye, but now he is finally ready to compete again.
“I have always loved the national series. This year I am using a road bike as I can’t bend enough for a time trial bike. I will do my best as I always do, but I am in the wrong classification and waiting for BC to change it.
“It’s a great feeling being back, but also scary to be on the road again.”
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