Will was a late signing for the team and we are very excited to have such a talented and experienced rider on the team. Having a lot of young riders on the team means that Will’s knowledge will be invaluable for our developing riders.
Last year Will suffered an almost fatal accident while out training on his bicycle. Most people would have decided to retire from cycling after such a traumatic injury however Will saw this as a huge motivator to get himself back up on his feet and prove that he could overcome adversity. He sure has shown that he has 100% determination and that nothing will bring him down.
In this Q&A you can hear about Will’s accident and how he fought back to be where he is now. Impressive stuff.
So you just had your first race back at the Premier level, tell us a little about your journey back to this point after your accident, and how was the first premier race back?
”Before the accident I had arguably just had the best season of my road career under the guidance of Dan Fleeman of DigDeep coaching. In coming back I always said I wouldn’t ride a Prem or any event unless I could ride it with no issues and be at the level required. Courtney Rowe of Rowe and king coaching was keen to help me back with my road and track aspirations. I feel at times I’ve worked harder to get fit now than I ever have in my life. I had ridden a couple of National B events in the run up to Tour of the Res and these coupled with my power data suggested to me I should be fine. Still I was nervous I didn’t want to get dropped and seem unfit so I was really happy that on the first day the weather was tougher than the stage and I made the splits in the front group and finished respectably. Day two, and with a confidence boost I’m now in a bike race and really motivated to do a job for our designated team leader Elliot Porter placing him into crucial potential race deciding moments with minimal effort on his part. I managed this well and even slipped into a late move in the final 10km which I thought might have gone to the line and bagged me a top ten on the stage. Alas it all came back together and I held onto the raging peloton as we reached the final climb to the line placing 38th on stage and in GC. Elliot and Oli both managed top twenty on stage and secured their seasons best results to date. Personally I’m really happy I’ve proved I’m back at a good level and know my fitness will continue to improve week in week out from here.”
What has been the hardest part of your recovery?
”Accepting the appearance of my lower right leg was tough but it was so close (I’ve been told) to me not having it just above the knee due to the damage. I feel incredibly lucky the Surgeons and Doctors gambled It could heal. Pushing myself through all sorts of pain and hiding it from the hospital Physio so I could be home for my daughters 6th birthday was the most painful thing I did. Good job bike riders have a good poker face.”
What exactly happened in the accident, and what was the extent of the damage? How many screws and bolts do you have in your body?
”I was hit head on by a car on a fast descent on a corner where I was riding behind a van on the white line to see where a cattle grid was placed. The on coming car connected with my lower right leg and flipped me onto the windscreen over the car and down the road. I have no memory of the accident or the first week in hospital (I was there for 4 weeks) I broke my left femur which was nailed (TI rod) and pinned with four screws, Pelvis in 2 places, right Tibia and Fibula which were open displaced and broken into multiple pieces so required three plates and sixteen screws to hold the pieces in place to patch up the hole they used half of my calf muscle and did a skin graft. I also had a brain bleed. I was initially told due to the amount of damage to my lower right leg I would almost certainly never be competing again if my leg healed. Several weeks (October 30th) after the accident I was told it would be circa six months before I would be allowed to walk on my right leg. I never believed I couldn’t or wouldn’t come back, and with this mind set I went to see Brian Simpson in Ipswich who specialises in Magno and laser therapy for speeding up the healing process. I cant believe the NHS doesn’t do this as standard procedure to heal people faster. I had more X-rays in December and the surgeons and doctors were shocked and surprised to see a huge amount of progress in my right leg I was told I could lose my crutches over the next few weeks as I felt comfortable to do so and would need to start using a gym to get muscle and tendon function back. I binned the crutches that night and got in contact with a friend Andy Wadsworth of MyLifePT who gave me one to one sessions and structured core work to get my body working normally again. More check ups in mid January and the surgeons and doctors signed me off their care, stating I was months ahead of what they believed should or could be possible. I was as healed as they could have hoped for. It was a huge milestone for me to be told I could get back to being me and riding again. Andy was amazing and an integral part in getting me to the stage where I could get outside for my first ride in January. He told me to do no more than an hour but I couldn’t stop myself and did over 3 hours. I blew so badly after 2 hours but I was so happy to be back on my bike it didn’t matter!”
How are you liking the Velo Squad so far this season?
”I’m really proud and privileged to be a part of Neon-Velo everyone on the squad are really easy going and have been fantastic with understanding my predicament. The equipment is World Tour level and this really motivates me as I’m proper bike geek. I am really looking forward to the rest of this season and my future with the squad as it progress’s and grows.”
You have had some great success in the past few seasons, what are some of your proudest moments and what are you excited about his coming season?
”I’ve had an amazing career for someone who always held down a full time job in the Aerospace sector and has a family. Managing all of this and being competitive makes me proud of what I have done. I have helped friends progress in teams being their super domestique gaining results that have seen them progress to world tour level. Personally representing GB at the MTB worlds in 2007 and 2008 was amazing. Switching to the road placing well in the Premier races and the Tour series events have always been good. Barrow in Furness Tour series last year being the highlight. I’m very excited to be helping the young lads on this team and hope to be able to teach and progress them as successfully as I can.”