Whistler’s Claire Buchar and husband Chris Kovarik are recovering after a car crash in Australia that will likely leave Buchar off her bike with injuries for at least the early part of the 2013 mountain biking season. More importantly, Buchar is feeling lucky to be alive.
In a Monday (April 22) post on the Kovarik Racing blog, Buchar described how she sustained several broken ribs, pelvis fractures, spleen and liver lacerations and many other injuries when an SUV crashed into their car on April 14 near Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
“One minute we were driving to a beautiful lookout in one of my favourite zones in Queensland, the Glass House Mountains, next minute all went black,” wrote the Canadian downhill mountain bike team member.
“Crazy!? Yes, but we are alive. We have our limbs and our brains and each other. We will heal and be back on our bikes at some point. Very grateful, to say the least.”
Kovarik suffered a fractured rib but was otherwise OK. Buchar said she was unconscious for at least 30 seconds before coming to, and was stabilized and taken to hospital. She posted several graphic photos of her injuries to the blog.
“In fact, part of my right arm looks like it’s been through a meat grinder, no exaggeration,” wrote Buchar. “Still pulling glass out of my hair.”
The two spend their winter in Kovarik’s native Australia and were planning to return to Whistler for the summer the day after the accident, but those plans are on hold for the time being.
“As expected, plans have changed and work/coaching/riding have been interrupted,” she wrote. “Laying low and healing mentally and physically is in the cards for the next little while. Loud noises scare me, experiencing some vertigo. I’m out of hospital now and chilling at Chris’s parents’ place.
“We plan on being back in Whistler for mid-May,” she continued. “Hopefully Chris will be back to full riding form by then. For me, not so sure how long this is going to take, have to rethink the whole season, taking it day by day.”
Buchar is the only Canadian to win a senior women's downhill medal at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in the past 20 years. Kovarik is an elite rider himself, having won several national, international and World Cup races.