Darren Berrecloth, known as one of the best freestyle mountain bikers, has begun his trek on the road to recovery from a season–ending injury in 2013.
The man known as ‘Bearclaw’ is in Bend, Oregon, recovering from an injury he sustained last year during his own event, The Bearclaw Invitational.
Berrecloth compressed a vertebra in his spine in a spill which kept him out of the Red Bull Rampage. With his future in jeopardy, he chose surgery for the injury which was similar to one six years earlier.
“I tried to rehab it naturally and things weren’t getting any better,” he said. “I ended up getting an MRI done and I was in worse shape than I had been in three months earlier, after the initial injury, so we knew that something wasn’t right. I ended up going to California for the surgery on January 15 and they did an S1 micro discectomy. It’s a microscopic surgery and they were able to remove the bulge that was pushing into the nerves in my spinal canal.”
With surgery six weeks in the rear view mirror, Bearclaw is getting back into shape to prepare for the upcoming Red Bull Rampage season. The first event is slated for July in Les Deux Alpes, France, which Bearclaw is eyeing for his return.
“They’ve changed it up this year and now the format has five diamond events. Basically it takes the best of the best and gives us our own category. The Bearclaw Invitational is going to be a diamond event this year too, so more points will be up for grabs there this year as well.”
The Bearclaw Invitational will be the third stop of the five diamond events for the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour and will take place August 23 and 24 on Mount Washington. Berrecloth is also looking to expand to another event on the mainland, on Mount Seymour, before the Bearclaw Invitational.
“It’s still a work in progress. The dates haven’t been set yet but I’m trying to finalize a few details with Parks B.C., so there’s still a bit of work left to go there. It’s going to be the same format as the Bearclaw Invitational and I’m hoping we can have it the week before we head over to the Island.”
With the preparation for the Bearclaw Invitational and rehabbing for the start of the FMB Diamond Series, Berrecloth will be busy for the 2014 season.
“It’s going to be a busy year for sure. With building the course up at Seymour and tweaking a couple little things for the Bearclaw on Mount Washington, I’m gonna be pretty spread out,” Berrecloth said. “I’m just ready to get going and work hard with this rehab so I can get back on the bike and rip it up.”