From crash to a cycling champ
STEPHEN Hall is lucky to be alive.
The Western Australian is one of the headline acts racing tonight at the Auswide Bank International Cycling Spectacular after what he described as his best year on the bike.
The 27-year-old became an Australian champion in the team pursuit for his state as well as winning the rider of the year for track and criterium racing in the United States.
But in 2011 his career and life could have been over.
Hall was on a casual ride in Perth when a man opened his car door in front him.
The cyclist hit the door full-on, falling into the middle of the road, right in front of a bus that was approaching him.
The national champion was then dragged about five metres under the bus before the ordeal was over.
Miraculously, he only suffered a broken collarbone in an incident which could have killed him.
"Unfortunately I've had a couple (of incidents), I've broken my collarbone, I've broken my shoulder, I've had my teeth out," he revealed to the NewsMail.
"It's kind of the reality with bike racing, we get hurt a lot.
"If you were worried about getting hurt, you wouldn't be doing it."
It's these incidents, according to Hall, that make you stronger even when there are times you want to quit and give up.
"You have to keep positive and bounce back from it," he said.
"I love racing my bike and I'm lucky enough that I win races, so that keeps motivating me when I get hurt."
Last year he did a lot of that, winning multiple races in America and beating some of the best in the world on his way to winning the rider of the year.
Hall was finally able to claim the top prize after three years of runner-up finishes.
He said experience guided him there.
"The first couple of years I didn't adapt to the style (of racing) as much but by the third year I was well and truly on top of it," Hall said.
"I'm in really good condition now and I've got a lot of confidence."
Hall hopes the results can continue this year, starting in Bundaberg as he rides in the elite field with partner Ben Harvey.
This will be his first Spectacular and he already likes the track after riding on it yesterday.
He said the event would be perfect preparation for the upcoming national titles.
"Any win would be great here," he said.
"I'd like to share that with Ben and take out the Madison.
"It will be good to put our forces together and we should be one of the best teams."
Info on meet
What is on - The Auswide Bank International Cycling Spectacular, which sees the best track riders in the world compete for prizemoney and trophies.
Where - Kevin Brogden Velodrome.
When does it start - 5pm today and 2pm tomorrow.
Prices - Adults $7, Children under-16 free.