After a nasty crash at the Downhill World Cup in Leogang in 2021, it was unclear whether Douglas Vieira would ever get back on a MTB. But with his great ambition and will, and the help of supporters, Douglas managed to get back on the bike and even compete in a Downhill World Cup only one year later. Nick Armstrong accompanied him in this process and produced a documentary.
Douglas describes his long recovery process in his own words:
“So my come back was very special for me, I learned so much in the process of getting back into riding. It was a long and stressful process but, during it I got to see everything from another angle which made me not just a better rider but also a better person overall.
First step after my injury was to rest and do as little as possible to the bones and muscles to heal fast, after about 3 months I started doing quite a bit of physio, to get some movement back and loose some tension all over my body. Worked really hard with my physio for over 5 months which helped me so very much. On the 5th month after my injury I felt like I could start riding slowly to see how I felt, and let me tell you… I felt good, neck was a weak and so was the body but felt so good to be back on bike again. It was an emotional time for me, just to have that feeling to be able to do what you love again… incredible.
Next phase was strength, get back to full strength which my trainer helped me so much during the next few months. I started with bodyweight exercises for a month or so and then moved to weights. We done a strength testing late October and my number were very low. I lost so much muscle and endurance that I was shocked. So I put my head down and grind throughout the entire winter to see what could I accomplish before next testing… it was a massive difference, the number were better than ever before which made me really happy.
Then I was trying so hard to get a bike, because I sold my bike to fund my rehabilitation and had no bike to train on. Got a DH bike last minute a few weeks before going to my first race of the season… had no where enough time on the bike to be anywhere fast enough, but certainly felt good to race again.
I am currently still building my strength and confidence on the bike, and soon will be back to speed.
Huge thanks to everyone that helped me throughout this journey.
It was amazing and still is.”