We're really stoked Kona Team rider Graham Agassiz is back on the saddle after a pretty gnarly crash that left him with broken bones in his neck. We caught up with our favorite big mountain rider to find out what happened, how he's feeling, and what's in store now that he's back in action.What was the nature of your injury?
Aggy neck brace free and ready to ride (once the snow melts). Photo: Jeff Conner
I broke my C6 in two places. Doctors gave me the option to wear a halo for three months, or do surgery and wear a brace for three months. The downfall to the halo besides the obvious is chronic neck pain basically for life, but without the risk of surgery. I decided to do surgery which meant fusing my C6 to my C7. They cut open the front of my neck, pushing my esophagus and neck muscles away to access the damaged vertebra. Now I got this killer scar, and some hardware! How did you do it?
I was riding this steep high speed line just outside of town, something that I've ridden countless times. At the bottom of the line and in the flats I believe I clipped a sage bush, which caught my pedal and sent me tomahawking off my bike. I was going pretty fast to say the least. How long were you in a brace for?
I was in a neck brace for three months, and it was total hell! Luckily I have some really good friends here in town that would get me out of the house and keep me fairly active. Even with the brace I was either fishing, split board touring, hiking, and designated shuttle bitch at the farm.How long until you’re shredding full bore again?
Right now I'm seeing the best trainer around, Greg Kozoris at Acceleration Training. We are working harder then ever to not only get me back into peak performance but to get me in even better shape than I've ever been. I am also seeing the best physiotherapist and deep tissue massage people in town. That being said, I plan on being back on my game by April.What are your plans this spring and summer?
This spring I am working on my very first invitational event here in Kamloops. I can't give away too many details on that just yet, but it's something that I've dreamed about doing for a long time and I can't wait to get all the boys here to shred some proper mtb sized lines! This summer and all season long I will be working on a movie project with Kona and Monster Energy, that will be filmed by Sherpas Cinema. I'm really looking forward to this as well, and will be showcasing some rad things that have been in the works and kept under the radar.Anything else? Damn are we stoked to see you ride again.
Just a massive thanks to all my friends, family and sponsors who were over the top supportive, keeping me in good spirits throughout my injury. All the goofy cards and awesome gifts, it kept me positive and motivated to get back on the saddle again. Like any injury you have a lot of time to think, and I had a lot of people ask me if I was gonna hang it up and I always laughed. With every injury I've had I have always come back more motivated and more appreciative than ever before. I still have so many goals that I've yet to accomplish, and I won't be slowing down anytime soon. I'm going to be charging harder than ever and will continue to push the envelope at the forefront of freeride mountain biking.