Cyclist Michael Torckler has put a horrifying hit-and-run crash behind him and is now eyeing a start for his new pro racing team in the Tour of Southland next month.
The 25-year-old New Plymouth man was badly injured when he was knocked from his bike on a training ride in California in June.
Torckler is taking things one day at a time, slowly increasing his workload on the bike and "doing what I can", he said yesterday.
He is now spending up to 2 hours a day on a bike and is planning on racing again at a club level later this month.
Longer term, he is thinking of taking his place in his United States-based Bissell pro racing team in the 900km Tour Of Southland which starts in Invercargill on October 31.
"I'll be doing some club racing in the next couple of weeks and I'm definitely planning on doing the Round The Mountain race here next month," the Tour of Borneo winner said.
"If I can do a couple of races early October then if they go all right they will be an indicator whether Southland is going to be a reality."
Torckler said the Bissell team, with whom he signed just weeks before the accident, had a spot for him in the Southland event if he felt up to it when the time came.
"They're real keen. There's no pressure on me, but if I can, they'd love me to be there, which is cool. I'd certainly like to be there," he said.
The Bissell team had been really supportive the whole way through his ordeal.
Torckler said he now had a different outlook on life since the California crash.
"I've probably changed a bit. It makes you re-evaluate things and now I feel like I want to reach out and inspire people.
"If I can do that, then that would be really awesome."
The driver of the vehicle that crashed into Torckler, leaving him in a critical condition with severe head injuries and multiple facial bone fractures is due to face criminal charges in the Santa Rosa court this week.
California resident Arthur Ben Yu, 36, was to have appeared last week, but the hearing was postponed.
Torckler went face to face with Yu at a preliminary court hearing before he travelled back to New Zealand to continue his rehabilitation.
Torckler said he had no animosity whatsoever towards Yu for what happened when he was out training on June 29.
" I can't remember a thing about it so it's almost as if it never ever happened," he said.
It hasn't all been plain sailing for Torckler in his rehab.
He said the concussion he suffered in the accident made him feel extra tired if he pushed things too hard. However, things were steadily improving.
Torckler said the help from family, friends and the wider community had been outstanding.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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