Garvik overcomes rocky start to college career
CARBONDALE, Colo. Dane Garvik’s first year of college wasn’t quite what he was expecting.After earning a scholarship to ride his bike for Lees-McRae College in North Carolina upon graduating from Roaring Fork High School in 2006, the Carbondale cyclist’s riding career looked very promising.Then there was a crash. Three days after arriving for the start of the 2006 fall semester at the small private Presbyterian college, Garvik went for a bike ride on campus, wiped out and dislocated his knee cap.”I just had one of those freak accidents,” said Garvik, who had a successful run in the Mountain Cup Series as a rider in the valley before college and even placed fifth in the sports men’s 18-and-under division of the National Off-Road Biking Association Championship in California in 2005. “I washed out on a turn, it wasn’t a hard fall or anything, but I didn’t have knee pads on and hit it wrong.”Before it had even begun, Garvik’s mountain bike season, the time for his strongest and favorite events, was over.”That was the worst injury of my life,” he said.He couldn’t walk for two months and underwent strict physical therapy. Due to intense pain in his leg when he walked, Garvik manipulated his walk to where he didn’t use his quadriceps. It stopped some of the pain, but also caused his right leg to atrophy. That brought on even more physical therapy, including one-hour muscle stimulations four times a day.”I was laying on a table and could lift my left leg, but not my right,” Garvik said. “That was the hardest part – getting my brain to recognize my leg again.”The crash took more than just a physical toll on Garvik, it also effected his emotional state to the point his grades suffered.”I just sat in my dorm room and felt sorry for myself,” Garvik said.Garvik was also worried his injury might cause his scholarship to be taken away. That never occurred to the Lees-McRae cycling team, which races NCAA Division I despite the small size of the school. Instead, they asked him to travel around the East Coast to all of the team’s races and even serve as a mechanic. That helped raise Garvik’s spirit.”I didn’t get to personally ride for the team because of the limp leg, but I still got to help the team even though I wasn’t doing what I went there for,” Garvik said.As his knee slowly recovered, Garvik’s personality and academic abilities also began to bounce back. By the second semester, he was getting good grades and even getting a little time in on the bike. Although it wasn’t easy.”When I went to school I was in great shape. Then I did road rides with the team and 5 to 10 miles was really hard,” he said. “That would have been nothing before.”But he continues to recover. On July 15, Garvik climbed back on his bike for his first race in almost 11 months when he competed in the Snowmass Downhill race. He placed 12th in the expert men 19-24 division in a field of 24 riders. Not bad for his first race in almost a year.”I did well,” he said. “It felt good.”Garvik, who is working at AJAX Bike and Sports in Carbondale during his summer vacation back in the valley, has one more race on the docket before heading back to Lees-McRae for the first day of school Aug. 22. He will compete in the NORBA (National Off Road Bicycle Association) finals in Snowmass Aug. 9-12.
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