Recovery rider

A year is longer than you think. It was almost that long ago that John Abate was hit and left for dead as he pedaled on an early morning ride in Encinitas, California.

The person — if the category human applies, which I doubt — who committed the felony was never caught.

John suffered a range of serious injuries, as you might expect, and but for good timing, the presence of a friend, and the best medical care, he would likely not have survived. The one thing that the hit-and-run driver couldn’t damage, however, was John’s prodigious will to live, recover, and thrive.

Even so, I was surprised to see him at the 805 Criterium this past Sunday, looking fitter and happier and healthier than the last time I’d ridden with him, almost two and half years ago. Not content to make his comeback at a four-corner industrial crit, he had decided to test his legs in the most punishing event of the year.

And the people who ended up getting tested were the ones who rode against him. Quick, fast, aggressive, and the consummate team rider, he turned in a stellar ride in the 35+ race, making sure the door was closed for good when teammate Charon Smith went up the road in the winning break. But what was more awesome than that was to see John back in the mix, recovered.

Recovery is tough, as John will tell you. In some ways, you have to be ready for it. It’s not like a low-hanging ripe California orange that you effortlessly pluck off the branch. Recovery is a commitment, a dedication that you renew every single day, an idea that whatever it takes to recover, you’re going to do it.

The results are there for everyone to see.

Copyright 2017 by Phil Beckman; Purchased with Commercial Use License.



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19 thoughts on “Recovery rider”

  1. Broke my back in a mountain bike race in March. Yeah. Recovery is way tough. Kudos to Abate for jumping back in like that.

  2. Congrats John!

    After 11 months my collar bone hardware is coming out, and my hip is much better than pre, self induced breakage. #TheStruggleIsReal

  3. That picture is worth a billion words.

    “…was never caught.” Reason to have front and rear vid cams.

  4. Remember hearing about this on the socal podcast. Awesome to hear that he’s come all the way back. Strong work.

  5. Thank you for a beautiful analogy of my son John Abate’s amazing recovery….I am & always have been so proud to call him “my son”….& especially I want to thank you personally for being an advocate, fierce defender during those hours & days following the incident ( note, I don’t refer this as an “accident”)….but most importantly I thank you for being a friend & will be forever grateful…God Bless You ♡

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