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to resume a “normal” existence. I considered life without my first love and greatest passion. In many ways I see the experience as a gift, opening my eyes to life as it could and even should have been.

My wife says my face went purple, then red, green, then white when they took the halo off. I could feel the bolts unscrewing and knowing that my life support was being taken away made me a little uneasy. They said my neck would feel all floppy but I was surprised at how normal it felt almost immediately. My wife said, “I’m going to ask this, because I know this is what he is thinking. When can he ride again?” A week later I was back on the bike, 6 weeks later I rode 400kms in 2 days with friends who were riding from Sydney to Melbourne. I was healed.

I may be physically healed, but mentally I’m more cautious, even if only by my own standards, more emotional. I’m constantly challenged by the why. I see others in wheelchairs and cannot grasp not being able to use my legs. Why them? Why after all the insane splits I’ve performed on a bike at work or in races around the world, it was on a quiet country road at 27km that I nearly cripple myself. Why? I don’t have an answer, but I am eternally grateful.

A good friend says there is nothing like a reformed smoker to preach a message. A mate of mine heard someone say “check your quick releases or you’ll do an Andy White”—but that is not my message. It is wear a helmet. I have no doubt that helmet saved my life and if not from spinal damage, from brain damage. That helmet was the best money I have ever spent.
…and check your quick releases.