Tim Schroeder, from Mawson Lakes, South Australia, was just a few months from making his Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns debut in 2013, when his dream of hearing the words ‘Tim Schroeder, you are an IRONMAN’ came crashing down.
During a training ride he realised he was travelling downhill too fast, he hit the brakes to try and slow down. Hitting the brakes too hard he went into a skid, lost control and slammed into a guard rail and sign by the side of the road.
“My back was what made impact with the sign and effectively stopped all forward motion at about 40km/h,” he said.
“I was lucky I wasn’t seriously injured. As it happened impacting with the sign broke three transverse process joints off my spine and caused some deep internal bruising. New year’s eve at the hospital is not a fun place to be!”
Schroeder’s recovery has been a slow process. Early on he struggled to sleep as he was having nerve issues with a bulging disc, and after an MRI showed the damage he had done, he was forced to take six weeks off work.
“At that point in time I wasn’t sure how well I might be able to recover and if I would be able to compete in triathlon again at all. Over the next few months with treatment from my physio, combined with regular pilates, I was able to eventually get back to some light training,” he said.
“Once I was able to swim, ride and run at a basic level I was confident that I would eventually be able to complete my Ironman dream. I still have some issues with my back during long swims and very steep climbing on the bike but nothing that I can’t manage.”
Schroeder is back to toe the start line at the 2014 edition of Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns and after the bad luck of last year, he’s after some redemption.
“While feeling blessed that I had not been incapacitated by the crash at the end of 2012 I was devastated that it may have ruined my IRONMAN dream. I contemplated and had to accept that I may not ever be able to do an IRONMAN,” he said.
“However, in the early stages of recovery the spinal / back specialist that I consulted looked at the MRI scan results and told me that there should not be any reason why I could not get back to a high level of fitness.”
Schroeder is back to dreaming and when he crosses that finish line can’t wait to hear those six magic words.
“I recently saw a YouTube clip of the Hawaiian IRONMAN finish with AC-DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ cranking; I am so looking forward to crossing the finishing line and hearing…“Tim Schroeder…you are an IRONMAN!”