6th place at the World Champs felt great. It gave me a lot of confident for the other World Cups that still had to come. Unexpected things happend…
Like I said before, that 6th place finish at the World Championship in Zolder felt like a win to me. It definitely gave a lot of confident + energy boost. After the Worlds one week vacation was enough to recharge myself for 3 more World Cups.
The next World Cup was in Sweden for the first time. Windy conditions made ik though for everybody. Somehow I got sick when we got there, but I still wanted to train and race. Besides saving energy as much as possible and some medication I couldn’t do anything else to feel better. My first qualification run was okay, but during my next race I got really unlucky! The unexpected thing happend. Somebody hit my back wheels during my gate, so I almost flipped over my handlebar. Finishing last in this race was game over. I talked with the track officials about the problem, but they couldn’t do shit because nobody saw it… Pfff, frustrated big time!
A few weeks later the Dutch Team and I started our 4,5 week trip to Argentina, USA and Brasil. First stop was Santiago Del Estero, Argentina for the fourth stop of the World Cup series. Practice felt really good and I won my qualification runs. My first 1/8 final was a little messed up, because I hit the gate and got 5th place. During the second 1/8 final I was in 2nd position behind teammate Jelle. The unexpected thing happend! Going into turn 1 Jelle crashed in front of me and I had nowhere to go. Some other riders hit me with full speed. My bike was to much damaged, so I couldn’t finish my lap. Besides some bruises and abrasions I was okay and I still managed to win my third 1/8 final, but that wasn’t enough to make the Quarter Finals. Really frustrated again, because I felt strong at the track in Argentina.
From Argentina we travelled straight to Rock Hill, USA for the final stop of the World Cup series. In between races we had 2 weeks to train, so plenty of time to get comfortable with the track in Rock Hill. The first week my body was still sore from the crash in Argentina, but with some small changes I managed to do most training sessions with the team and I felt really confident for racing. During our stay the weather was pretty nice, but during the last World Cup race we got a lot of rain, which was shit for everybody. Luckily the track hold up very good. I won my Qualification runs on Friday and my lap times where pretty solid. The next day was the big race. During my warm up, somebody hit me before the first jump on the bottom of the starting hill. I went sideways in the air and lost control. Before I knew I crashed down very hard. My ankle and big toe we’re painful right away. I couldn’t put pressure on it, so no racing for me. I don’t need to say how I felt…
The next day I went to a hospital for some X-rays. They didn’t see any broken bones so I just had to take it easy the doctor said . After Rock Hill we flew to Rio, Brasil for the Olympic Test event. At that point I didn’t know if I could ride in Rio, but it was a lot cheaper to stay with my team instead of flying home by myself. Unfortunately the pain and soreness in my ankle/ toe was getting more everyday. Taking painkillers and putting ice on it was not really helping, so something was wrong. I didn’t really miss anything in Rio, because the Olympic track was too dangerous/ not ready to race! For the first time all riders spoke with each other and told the organization our thoughts how a decent track looks like to us… It’s never going to be perfect for everybody, but at least to track have to be safe for racing! The track builders need to rebuild most of the jumps. The layout will stay the same. For me it was nice experience to see some of the big city “Rio” and most of the Olympic facilities. Now I know a little what to expect when I come back next year.
We stayed in Rio for one week. After that I really wanted to go home for a big check up on my ankle and some quality time with my girl. When I came home after 2 long flights I went straight to the hospital for a MRI + CT scan. Later that day my doctor told me the bad news! He said “Raymon, this is serious injury. You tear your inner ankle ligaments and broke a small bone in the ankle joint. Take it easy for the next 4 weeks otherwise your ankle will have limited movement for the future”. My first question to the doctor was “when can I ride again” ? We will see he said. Enjoy your vacation first and don’t do anything stupid!!! Get some rest and put your feet up high a couple of times everyday… So that’s what I pretty much did for 2 weeks haha. I started to get boring and a little stressed because I didn’t want to lose my muscle strength and fitness. It was 4 weeks after my crash in Rock Hill when I started with some easy fysio exercises. Soon I could ride the hometrainer and before I know I was back on the road bike. Unfortunately my ankle kept painful/ sore, because it was swollen after most training sessions… Medication, ice and rest are the only thing we could do.
Two months later I was already back on the BMX bike. Just in time before our training camp in Florida. We stayed at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, which is a great facility for all kind of young/ professional athletes. Besides eating/ sleeping, we did our gym/ sprint sessions there and drove to Oldsmar 3times a week to use their new BMX Supercross track. I didn’t really know what to expect from my ankle when I got back on the track again. Luckily the ankle hold up pretty good, so I could pretty much do the same as the rest of the team. Despite the ups & downs I’m feeling better and stronger every week. Florida treated us very well for 3,5 weeks. We had a good/ heavy training camp and it’s now time to spent Holidays with our families an friends!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everybody!