Keagan Girdlestone completes first ride since life-threatening accident

South African says he's "never felt so alive"

Keagan Girdlestone has ridden his bike on the road for the first time since his life-threatening crash, completing a half-hour coffee shop spin and commenting that he has "never felt so alive".

The Dimension Data Continental rider posted a video on YouTube last week, showing himself going for a run, riding on his turbo trainer, and riding tentatively to the end of the road and back, but this was the first time he has been for a proper ride since his accident at the Coppa della Pace race in Italy in June. He suffered life-threatening cuts to his jugular and carotid arteries that prevented blood and oxygen from reaching his brain, and also suffered serious nerve and muscle damage.

"Today just made every single hard day I've had, totally worth it," the 19-year-old said in the latest video. 

"Today was just something else. I never thought this day would come to be honest. A few months ago today was just a dream, but today it became possible, and it's special, let me tell you. I've never felt so alive... I just felt like my senses were just boosted. When people ask me how I feel, I'm like, 'for a dead man, I feel pretty great'."

Girdlestone's father can be heard telling him to 'take it easy' as he accelerates out of the saddle and in the drops at the end of the video, and despite the youthful enthusiasm, he's well aware the road to recovery is still a long one. 

"I'm being realistic here," he said. "Baby steps. Small seeds create big trees. Got to just take the days as they come."

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