Mike Robertson doesn't remember much of April 2018.

The 30 year-old was a kayaker before becoming a mountain biker.

"After a couple of close calls myself and losing a friend to the river I decided to it was time to re evaluate what I was in it for," he says.

"Mountain biking was the next best thing. It was social, you could go for an hour or a whole day, it allowed for progression and, more importantly, it gave me a similar rush as running white water."


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Back to April and Mike does remember wanting to step up and hit one of the big features used at Crankworx.

"For a couple of years I had looked at the step down and always turned away from it because of overseas trips or not feeling it.

"In my mind I had been riding the best and fastest I ever had, I was feeling good about it, I could visualise the take-off and landing. I had my mate, Josh, on site in the event that anything went wrong.

"All the stars had aligned and it was time. I rolled in trying to gauge the speed, it felt too slow, so I braked and stopped on the take-off.

"It's not that far, I pushed back up and rolled in again, still not feeling like I had the speed right. I stopped on the lip. Third time lucky. I rolled in a little faster and stopped again. Time to do it, I pushed up again, fully committed, I dropped in. That's as far as my memory goes.

"The rest is from what I have been told and seen through video footage. Turns out I had too much speed, a slight miscalculation meant that I overshot the landing spot by 15 metres, a vertical fall of close to 10 metres.

"Luckily for me, Josh is a medic, saw me hit the ground and ran to assist. He knew things weren't good. I hit the ground with such force that I was knocked out for five and half minutes and had a seizure.

"Josh managed my airway and immobilised my spine while Brooke, one of our friends and work colleagues, called an ambulance. From there I would be taken to Rotorua Hospital where the extent of my injuries would surface.

"A severe traumatic brain injury, fractured collar bone, fractured and displaced scapula, broken first rib, fluid in the lung, and a dislocated left thumb. Very lucky to have no spinal damage and even luckier to be here today."

Mike is back at work as a medic for Peak Safety and is former mountain bike patroller and trail builder at Skyline Rotorua. He's also back on the bike, a Giant Reign.

Favourite trails are Te Tihi o Tawa for the native flow, Katore for the steep and fast and Te Huinga for good times close to the carpark.

In next week's column: Mike's recuperation, the people who helped him along the path to recovery and a new skill and talent that helped him refocus.

Mountain Bike NZ and Cycling New Zealand have a concussion protocol in place. You can download it here: www.cyclingnewzealand.nz/media/1716/1716.pdf

Rotorua also has a branch of Brain Injury NZ: www.brain-injury.nz