After suffering a horrific training crash in early January, Yorkshire time trial ace Simon Beldon is set to return to competition after a long recovery period.
The 49-year-old Team Bottrill rider collided with a car and smashed his face into a concrete post.
He suffered severe injuries which included losing 14 teeth (which came through his cheeks). he had to have five inches taken from his jaw and broke his back in three different places.
“I’m lucky to be alive to be honest,” he said. “A few inches and I wouldn’t be here now.”
Despite being in a body brace for several weeks, the road to recovery has been nothing short of surprising and sensational for the Leeds-based rider.
“My wife is a physio so I’ve been working a lot with her – I’m nowhere near the person I was but I’m making good progress so far and most of that is down to her,” he said.
“I’ve also had help from my coach Matt [Bottrill] so I’m improving all the time. The doctors and I were sceptical that I’d ever ride again so it’s been quite a shock at how well I’ve come along.”
A former National Team Time Trial champion, his back injuries appeared to show no signs of healing in February. But things took a turn for the better in March with steady recovery, and it wasn’t long before he had the go-ahead from doctors to get back on his bike, something he did just a few days after.
He was due to ride the VTTA (Yorkshire) 10 this weekend before it’s cancellation, which leaves his attentions fixed on the Rossington Wheelers 10 on July 20.
“I didn’t think I’d ever ride again so my expectations aren’t that high – I just want to get a race under my belt and any placing will be a bonus,” he added.
“I’ve been out riding and even though I’m nowhere near my past fitness, it is improving and I’m getting some strength back so I’m positive.
“I may even try and have a go at the Closed Circuit Championship at the end of the year, but my focus is on one race at a time and that’s Rossington next.”
* This report by Jack Cudworth.