Taylor Tolleson Interview
In late June Team BMC’s Talyor Tolleson accompanied several of his team mates to the Tour de Nez in order to hone his form for races a little later in the season that BMC would target as a team.
After barely 30 minutes of racing, a rider crashed right into Taylor, taking him down and breaking his collarbone. Unfortunately the collarbone has been pretty stubborn, not healing nearly as quickly as Taylor and the rest of the team hoped. With several major goals on the horizon for Team BMC, Taylor is finding his season massively impacted by the ill-timed injury.
When the accident happened, you and your doctors agreed surgery was not necessary to treat the break. How have things progressed since then?
Taylor Tolleson: Well at first, we decided to treat the injury through rehab and therapy. It just didn’t make sense to go into surgery for it at the time. When it happened I already had a nice block of time where I wasn’t going to be racing, so the recovery time seemed to be there and should have been enough. But it is still bothering me and I’m not able to train properly yet. So we’re in the process of deciding whether and when I should have surgery on it after all. It has already been six weeks and the bone in just not healing. So I think I will go in to have surgery on it in the first week of August. We just need to decide the details of where, when, and that sort of thing.
I see you are listed to race at Downers Grove for the team. Will that be possible now?
No, I won’t be doing Downers now, which I’m really bummed about. It’s a race that I really enjoy doing, and I was looking forward to getting back to racing with it, but the collarbone is still hurting too much. You know, as a sprinter, you just have to put so much pressure on your arms, pulling on the handlebars that I just wouldn’t be able to contribute like I’d like to.
What exactly has made it so difficult for the bone to mend naturally?
Well, we didn’t send me right into surgery because it just didn’t make sense; we thought that the break would heal quickly since I’m a young healthy guy. But it seems to have been a really jagged break and there was a very big gap between the broken bones. My coach says also that sometimes the fascia which is the membrane that surrounds the muscle –in the same way that there is a thin skin encasing a sausage, for lack of a better description – sometimes that membrane gets caught in between the two bones which are trying to heal together. Maybe that has something to do with the delay too.
How are your chances of being ready for the Tour of Missouri?
Well, the team wants me ready for Missouri so that is what I will try to prepare for. But it is not an easy race. It’s not like it is only a flat one-day race, but I will certainly do everything I can to be healthy and in shape by then, especially since it is a big team objective, I’ll definitely want to do my bit.
This is the third time you’ve broken your collarbone. What makes you willing to get out and race again and again?
At the end of the day, I just love to race. If I didn’t race bikes, I’d be racing cars or motor bikes or anything. I’ll race you down the supermarket isle. Crashes happen and that is just something you have to be prepared for. Actually the other two times I broke my collarbone were when I was 15 and racing BMX, so things haven’t gone that badly on the road.
What races really inspire you to perform?
I like really hard one-day races with some rollers, maybe a little rain thrown in...
Like the Tour of Leelanau in Michigan which you won just before your accident?
Yeah, exactly like that. I like the races to be really hard and where maybe only a small group of guys can make it to the finish together. I have a strong sprint and in those situations I usually have a really good chance to win. Next year I think I want to focus on my sprint a bit more, and I dream of racing eventually in events like the early spring classics. I would love to excel at those sorts of races, but that is probably several years in the future.