Six months ago, junior star cyclist, Raul Leal was lying on a Georgetown Public Hospital bed with steel in his hand and foot, urinating in a bedpan and losing pounds of hard-earned muscle.
Fast forward to November and Leal is back on his saddle.
After a serious road accident in which he suffered a broken right forearm and right leg while training, one of the nation’s most promising riders is back on his bike after an amazing recovery from the career-threatening injuries he sustained in May.
Competitive cycling is over for the season and most if not all the local wheelsmen are off their bikes but the 16-year old is happy to be alive and on his machine doing what he does best.
“The accident affected me a lot, I was on top of the game in the junior category when I got into the accident, I missed out on many races and tours, the junior Caribbean Cycling Championships especially but I am glad I have life and can still ride again”, Leal told Stabroek Sport yesterday.
Leal’s grit and determination saw him back in the saddle driving himself towards a speedy recovery just one month after being discharged from the hospital.
The talented cyclist revealed at this point he is not fully locked into his training regimen but he will “restart training fully in January because I’m not completely healed but I’m just glad to know that I can ride again.”
“I do not know if I will get back to where I was before but I plan on working my way back to that level of fitness”, Leal added.
The teen admitted that he has a long way to go but currently he is “doing some short rides for now.” “I have to do a ton of long distance training and sprinting and get my lungs open again in order for me to be back to top form.
The former East Ruimveldt Secondary School student was also affected in the class room because of the accident and was unable to sit the CXC exams but he disclosed that just like his bike, his aim is to get back on top of his books.
So when will Leal be on the circuit again?
“I want to compete in the first race of the season next year, I don’t know how I will do but I want to compete in that race.”
During the interview, Leal also thanked everyone who supported him throughout his ordeal.