Quite The Recovery: Fuentes & Kendall Qualify For Nationals

Posted: May 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm, Last Updated: October 2, 2014 at 2:04 pm

gmu_cycling_team19_2014In 2010, David Fuentes was hit from behind by a car while riding in a bike lane. Just four years later, in 2014, Fuentes joined the Mason Cycling Club and finished first overall in the A-ranked race of the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference Championship. Quite the turnaround.

Fuentes went directly in to surgery after the crash. He suffered from a loss of blood that required 3-4 transfusions, an open compound fracture on his femur, a shattered vertebra in his back, his shoulder being broken in three places, and all the scars that came with being flung across asphalt. Fuentes stated, “They told me that I had a 50/50 chance to walk again, not to mention ride again.”

After being bed-ridden for the first month out of the hospital, Fuentes began going to rehabilitation three times a week for the next six months. Fuentes was determined to recover and ride again and he credits his astonishing recovery to his prior level of fitness and the drive he had to recover.

After the recovery, Fuentes and his wife decided that it was time for him to switch jobs. Fuentes previously worked as a security guard at a department store and that job would require physical exertion that could end with him re-injuring his shoulder permanently. Fuentes decided to go back to school and enrolled at our very own George Mason University where he heard that a cycling team was just about to start up. He had quite a bit of experience in the sport, riding professionally from 2002-2004, and thought he could help the team get off the ground by playing a helpful role. If only Fuentes knew how strong of a role he would play.

Fuentes helped the team to make quite a statement in their first year of competitive play and his first place finish in the ACCC Championship was quite the cherry on top.

This past weekend, Fuentes, along with teammate Steven Kendall, traveled down to Richmond to compete in the Cycling Nationals Competition. Fuentes raced in the criterium race, while Kendall competed in the road race.

In a field of 120 racers, Fuentes was in the top 30 in the call-ups; however, that did not end up making the race much easier. Fuentes described the course stating, “It was a tight, hilly course with narrow corners.” Add 120 cyclists to a tight course and it becomes even more difficult. Unfortunately for Fuentes, he got caught behind 3 crashes early on in the race and these pushed him back to the middle of the pack. When he had straight away opportunities he surged forward in an attempt to move up towards the front again, but expended too much energy on his bursts to have any real shot keeping his endurance up as well. Fuentes pulled himself out of the race with 30 laps of the 75 remaining. Kendall finished the road race in the 139th position.

When asked if he would prepare any differently if he were to do it over again, Fuentes answered, “I would prepare no differently. Fitness is only one part of a race. Races come down to experience as well and anything can happen on any given day.” For a 41-yr old racing against students half his age, Fuentes admits that he exceeded his expectations and is happy with the way his season ended, as well as the club’s season.

Mason Cycling is still a young club, but as far as first year statements go, they made quite the declaration. Here’s to many more good years to come!