It’s been four years since Thomas Remvik Aasen (37) uploaded a trials video to the world wide web. And four years of hiatus or retirement. But, after overcoming an annoying neck injury, he has managed to find some new motivation and done a comeback with a new video. Let’s hope it won’t be four years until next time!
TRA has teamed up with Mattias Einbu (30), who is a trials rider well known in the Norwegian trials scene. And he’s known mostly for his crazy ideas and stunts, which probably is the reason he’s constantly injured. Together they are “two aging boys, trying to recover from injuries, and having some fun in the process”, as TRA puts it himself in the video description.
We got in touch with Thomas, and spoke about his comeback, injury, motivation and of course the video itself.
It’s been four years since your last video upload to the Internet. What have you been up to?
– Well, when my neck injury got worse again, I ended up doing absolutely nothing physical for about two years time, no riding, no training. At that time, it was tough enough for me to try to get my career as a freelance videographer to get anywhere, combined with my constant pain.
Did you consider it a retirement, or just a very long hiatus?
– I was wondering if I would ever get back to my bike again. I did not only stop riding, but because it was really hard for me mentally to even consider to hang up my gloves and never touch a bike again, I sold all my trials bikes, as i just couldn’t have it in my life anymore.
Where did you find the motivation to get back on the bike? Do you plan to keep on riding forever now?
– Well, when you have been doing something for as long as I have , it haunts you, you just can’t really truly let it go, like it’s within your DNA. My neck was getting better, and suddenly I started dreaming about trials again. Then I knew it was time to get back at it. Although, at that time I weighed 83 kg, and I had lost all my muscles and strenght. I tried to ride for about 10 seconds, but no, this was not going to work. I put the bike away, and hit the gym. My body had deteriorated so much I just couldn’t get any pleasure on the bike, so I had to put the effort in the gym first.
Can you tell us more about the neck injury?
– It’s not only pain, but also the nerves are damaged, so my left biceps and front deltoid are not engaging like they should. It has gotten a lot better, but it’s still something that bothers me every day.
What was the hardest part about getting back on the bike? Is it still just like riding a bicycle?
– As I said, it was my physical abilities that I was struggling with the most, I couldn’t even dream about doing a 6-7 pallets sidehop, which should’ve been so easy for me. I have been training a lot, and started lifting weights as another hobby, so after about six months of doing weight training, I jumped back on the bike, and now I could ride properly again!
Yes, most techniques I could do right away, but there are a lot of mental steps I need to take. I’m not a young professional rider anymore, so I need to dig deep, and visualise and convince myself that I can still do it, because all the info needed is still within my brain. This can be confusing. But, the worst thing is fear, when you don’t do anything like biketrials regularly for years, you get a lot of fear, which is annoying to deal with!
Doing a video with Mattias, which has been dealing with lots of injuries himself, how did you approach the riding in this video? Max out all the time, or some sort risk management to start with?
– Knowing our injures and skill levels, I made the plan to have 50% riding and 50% of us doing all kinds of other stuff. The pitbike was just one of these things. But, with the little time we had, and not having Joachim Skjævestad (31) there to help us out, as he was supposed to be in the video, it just all ended up being a bit overwhelming, and now it’s mostly riding. Mattias is a really great guy, who knows a lot of things, but he doesn’t know anything about filming, so for me to have 100% control over the whole production, was really hard to do.
We’ve been doing risky stuff for many years, so we’ve become quite good at risk management. But, my biggest problem was fear, I was too afraid of doing most of the moves I actually wanted to do. This had mostly to do with the fact that I weighed 104 kg, and the impact of jumping off the bike was so great that I just couldn’t get myself to do many things.
Do you plan to make more videos now?
– Yes! After this video I decided to drop weight and focus a lot more on plyometrics and my jumping abilities, so I can get more comfortable and less afraid on the bike again. Hopefully I should be able to make something better in a not too distant future.
Even though it doesn’t get portrayed clearly in this video, I’m certain that this video will stand as a reference of what’s possible to accomplish after heavy career ending injuries. When we get older, our bodies can still do the exact same things as they did when we were younger, it just takes a little longer to get there.