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Comeback kid

Earl Gage is back in the saddle.

The promising young bicycle racer who suffered devastating injuries when he was hit by a pickup truck while riding in April, is back on a bike again.

Gage, 19, made his comeback voyage aboard a tandem with his former trainer, Jeff Huser, during the annual “Can You See Us Now” ride on Sept. 28. The event is organized by cycling advocacy group Duke City Wheelmen to raise awareness about cyclists and cycling safety on the roads.

Gage repeated the experience a few days later for an 11.5-mile ride along the Bosque Trail.

“This is awesome,” he said. “It feels so great. I didn’t realize how much I loved this till I was off for six months.”

On April 10, Gage was riding his black Cervelo bike south on Morris NE when he and a Dodge Dakota pickup going west on Snowheights NE collided at the intersection of the two streets, according to the Albuquerque Police Department crash report.

The report said police found the bike, a shattered white helmet, a pair of broken sunglasses, a seriously injured cyclist and the truck driver whose blood pressure had skyrocketed.

The driver told police he saw a cyclist when he stopped at the intersection and felt something move his truck as he crossed but he didn’t know if he hit the cyclist or the cyclist hit his truck. There were no witnesses, according to the police report.

Gage suffered a broken jaw, ribs, femur and brain trauma. He spent weeks in an induced coma, followed by months of intensive therapy in Albuquerque and Houston. He’s had to relearn how to walk and tie his shoes. His right arm and leg are still weak and his peripheral vision on that side is minimal.

“It sucks not being able to see there,” he said, “but hopefully it will come back.”

He is continuing therapy and feels he is making steady progress.

Last month, he talked about his journey to recovery with a group of first year occupational therapy students at the University of New Mexico.

He told them he is back at work at his job at REI, and that the cycling is helping him rebuild his leg strength. He was working on a stationary bike trainer for several weeks before his tandem sortie.

During the weeks when his jaw was wired shut, and the months he spent in a wheelchair, family and friends from the cycling community visited frequently, even sneaking in food.

He’s not sure about riding on the roads again after his experience, but road racing was his forte.

“That’s where I was really good, was on the road,” Gage said.

Gage was state champion in road and mountain bike events in 2013. He also competed in multiple national championships in cyclocross in 2012, 2013 and in January this year.

Bicycle racer is back on two wheels

after an accident

with a truck