We’ve all had a few thrills and spills whilst riding trails or racing, but what happens when it all goes a bit pear shaped and a band-aid and hug just won’t cut it? For CRC Nukeproof Ireland rider Chris ‘Kipper’ McGlinchey the 2012 season came to an abrupt end with a freak accident at the Val d’Isere World Cup.
“2012 was set to be a big year for me,” says McGlinchey. “I was really looking forward to the season, winter training had gone really well, I was familiar with my bike having spent 2011 onboard the Nukeproof Scalp and I was pleased to welcome Greg Williamson to the team. Everything was set to get going.”
Chris had joined the ranks of Team Nukeproof back in 2011 when he raced both the Irish and British Championships but even for the seasoned racer one off proved costly:
“We all know the dangers when riding downhill and I think that's a part of the thrill, unfortunately it doesn't always go to plan!
“I’ll never forget that day. It was my second run down the track in Val d'Isere and my first run hitting one of the step-downs near the top. In truth I'm still not exactly sure what happened but I think I caught a gust of wind when I took off. I knew it wasn't going to end well. I landed awkwardly and was spat off my bike down the side of the hill. After rolling quite a bit I finally came to a stop. Thankfully the medical crew and marshals were straight on the case as before I knew which way was up they were by my side attending to me.
“Fast forward to a painful helicopter ride and I was at the hospital being diagnosed with a compression fracture to my T9 and T10 vertebrae and a fractured radius.”
With his season over, the Belfast-based rider not only missed out the remaining World Cups but would also miss out on the opportunity to represent his country at the World Champs.
“It was my last year in the junior category and I was looking forward to trying to get some good results. Recovery was a boring process; I had to go from riding my bike three or four times a week to basically nothing for the next few months.”
Chris remained focused and tried to turn the negative of being in a full body cast into the ideal preparation for the 2013 season
“Within a few weeks after I got home I was doing physio for my wrist and once that was improving I was able to go back to work in the Tech Team at CRC. Getting out to work meant I was able to start saving for the 2013 season and escape the monotony of sitting in the house! Ten weeks after the crash I got the all clear from the doctors to take my back brace off and start physio/light exercise. A few weeks later I got the go ahead for impact sports, it was an amazing feeling getting back out on a proper bike and riding again!
Chris’s crash thankfully didn’t put him off racing as he returned to competition at the iDMS Round 2.
“I’d had two smaller winter series races before this which went very well so I was looking forward to seeing where I was at. I managed to take the win and the fastest time of the day so it was definitely a big confidence boost coming into the Fort William BDS. It was great to get back racing and hearing the beeps after a very long off season.”
Chris’s Fort William BDS weekend didn’t go to plan, ending with a puncture on his race run and knocking him out of contention.
“It was great preparation for the first round of the World Cup in a few weeks, I felt on pace for a good result and I hope to take that speed with me to the World Cup this season. I got my Nukeproof Pulse set up great for the track, it was my first time riding the new Pulse at Fort William and I was blown away at how fast it wanted to go. I couldn't keep up!”
Chris and CRC Nukeproof Ireland will compete in the full UCI World Cup Series, British Downhill Series, various IXS Cup races, Crankworx and the Irish National Championships in 2013.
Stay tuned to the Hub for updates on the team throughout the coming months and follow Kipper on Twitter.