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Real Riders - Karina Bowie Jackson

Sometimes life throws you lemons and all you can do is suck it up and crack on. Karina's 'never stop' attitude is what made her an obvious candidate for a Real Riders feature. Paul 'Jacko' Jackson features a fair bit here too!

1. Karina, you've had one hell of a year, when was Paul's accident and how is he now?

Paul had the initial accident at the end of August 2017 whilst out training, at the time he broke his collar bone, 4 ribs, his hip and pelvis, all on the right hand side. He was initially in hospital for a couple of weeks until they could plate the collar bone in order that he could then use crutches to get out of bed and get mobile. After 2 months of non-weight bearing (he wasn't even allowed to carry anything from one room to another) he was allowed to start some upper body work in the gym, however unbeknown to us he had a blood clot on the brain from a weakened vessel caused by the crash, as his blood pressure increased the vessel burst again causing a large brain haemorrhage.

We were airlifted from Guernsey to Southampton Neurological Department where they performed a craniotomy, repaired the vessel and evacuated the blood. Following this not only was he still on crutches but it also meant that he would be unable to drive for at least 6 months due to the risk of seizures, so I became his number one mode of transport too. It's now 7 months on now from the brain bleed and the recovery has been phenomenal! After the Orthopaedic and Neurology Consultants gave him their consent to start training again, together with his cycling coach Gareth Pymm, they have been working on his bike endurance and speed again. So good has his recovery been and the training that this last week he rode the National 12 Hour TT Championships and even got a pb of over 280 miles!

2. Initially I imagine there was a huge gap in your training while Paul's health took over, how did you cope with everything that was happening in such a short space of time?

During the first few days of Paul being in hospital there was some uncertainty about whether he would be flown out to Southampton for surgery on his hip and pelvis, so training was impossible initially, as I was having to juggle the kids, work, hospital trips and having everything ready to fly out if needed. Luckily he remained in Guernsey and they fixed the collar bone after 10 days so he could get up, (I did manage a couple of cheeky 10 mile Club TT whilst he was in hospital though). It was during these first few days that I received an email from the Guernsey Commonwealth Games Association confirming that I had qualified for the Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast in Australia in April 2018.

Following conversations with my triathlon coach, (also Gareth Pymm), we decided that it would be best for me to end my 2017 season early, take a couple of weeks off and then start winter training early in order to work through ready to peak for early April. I competed in a couple of triathlons whilst on this recovery just for the pure enjoyment of it and to keep the blood moving around! I could certainly feel that I hadn’t swam or ran for 7 years, but the bike splits were good! I started winter training at the beginning of October, but had to take a week off when Paul had the brain haemorrhage as I was over in Southampton with him and the Air Ambulance couldn’t take my bike............... although on the day of his operation I did manage to do a static bike set in the lobby of Southampton Hospital as they were doing a fund raiser....... They asked if I could do an hour for them and they agreed, so I battered out some intervals with a bucket collecting money for new seating on one of the wards!

3. Commonwealth Games, we know you're no stranger to this level of competition however this year with all that happened in the winter must have felt a bit different?

I was lucky enough to represent Guernsey at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 but unfortunately suffered a mechanical during the TT, I felt I hadn't been able to ride the best I could, so I decided fairly soon after coming back that I would try again for the 2018 Games. Gareth has been brilliant in organising my training around the constraints I had in looking after Paul during the start of my winter training and the lead up to the Games. He gave me daily feedback and would quite regularly change my training at late notice when appointments or last minute things cropped up. All in all I only missed 3 training sessions since coming back from Southampton and going to the Games!

4. The training clearly worked for you as we saw you smash your age group in the Tour of Cambridgeshire too, will you be travelling to Varese for the worlds?

I love the Tour of Cambridge Race and the 2018 event was my fourth time riding it. The Chrono is so well organised and it's so good to have the opportunity to race on the closed roads. Unfortunately I can't race in Varese for the Worlds as the Rules state that "Any rider who has taken part in a world championships, the Olympic games, continental championships or games, regional games, the Commonwealth games, or a World Cup during the current year, other than events for masters" are not allowed to race.

5. What is next now for you in 2018?

My plans for 2018 now include riding the National 50, 25 and 10 mile Championships. Crewing for my husband's endurance races. Catching up on a few gin and tonics and doing a bit of overtime to make up some of the hours given to me by my amazing employers in order to compete in the Games!

Thanks Karina, we wish you the best of luck heading forwards!

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