The race season of Fabien Barel ended yet before it begins. In Nevados de Chillan, the first round of Enduro World Series, a bad crash knocked him to the ground, breaking his eighth vertebra, very near to the spinal cord. A serious injury for Fabien, forced to immobility for a long time.
In the last two weeks, Fabien talked to his fans through his Facebook page. His health conditions are getting better, but it will take time for a whole recovery.
We got in touch with him to give you the latest news about his back.
- How is your health condition now? Do you still have pain in the back?
- I am back on my feet now and we are focusing mainly at the moment on the fraglent stability to make sure than bones pieces are going towards the rear of the spin and closer of the nerves. There is still three weeks where it can be dangerous and then we will focus on rehabilitation. We will decide next week if a surgery is needed to give back its overall shape to the vertebrae. For this they would inject cement in the bone to stabilize it.
- Do you remember the sequence of your crash? Can you describe it? What exactly happened?
- I arrived quite fast in a steep sandy section with rut. I was bunny upping most of them and using speed for stability.
At the moment where I let the brake go to get out of it, I twist the front wheel in the sand and went over the bar with high G out. In the air, I had time to stabilize myself to be ready to roll. But at the moment, I roll my head to fall, the sand blocked it and my full body instead of rolling got blocked in the sand, fully compressed with all the energy going in my head (thanks to the helmet) through my spin. I directly feel cracks in my back but you never if it is ribs or worst.
- Why did you think to get the bike soon and ride to the finish line?
- At first, there was no way and then I got back on my feet, thinking about the overall of the series, the season and the fact that if it is nothing (like ribs) it would be too bad to stop racing. So I got back on the bike and ride down to the finish line.
After getting check at the medical staff of the race, they seems to be positive as I was back on my feet that nothing was major. So, I kept on going the day in a lots of pain and did two more stages. But it is wild pain wise. The next morning, I was blocked in my bed and realize that something was going wrong.
- How did you feel when doctors said you ran the risk of remaining paralyzed?
- That was a bit a choc. I directly realize how lucky I was and once again, I realize the energy and commitment I am putting into racing. I just love it. It is the bottom line.
After that bad day in the hospital, have you ever thought that it would be better stop racing?
Not at all. You can be racing, training, riding, motorbiking, skiing. We are living intense lives and risks are part of it. There is so many persons having accident in stupid situations. Let's try to not control life but be confident in it.
- Did you start again the training? If so, is it difficult for you? If no, when? And when we’ll see you back in the enduro competitions?
- All this will take sometime and the rehab will be a challenge. There is no perspective to this at the moment.
- Do you think that this injury could affect your confidence on the trail?
- It always does. We are a different person every day because our experience is modifying our way of thinking and injuries are part of it. But I’m generally pretty strong on this side.
- How the developing of the Canyon enduro prototype is going?
- Really good. We will have more news to come soon about it.
- Who will win Enduro World Series this year?
- With Jey's injury, it is an open door to Jared to perform, even if I am sure that it is the way he wants it. but for sure that they are both very competitive. The new young French rider Flo Nicolai might surprise us!
Firm. Courteous. Strong.
Fabien Barel is facing one of the most difficult moment of his career and likely of his life.
The worst is over, perhaps.
But the day of the perfect recovery is still far.
A bientôt, champion!