In January 2014 things were going well for Charline Joiner. The Scot was aiming for the Commonwealth Games, and enjoying a training camp in Girona with her teammates. Then things changed – a touch of wheels and a hard landing on a fallen bike saw her break three vertebrae in her lower back.
“Initially I was doubting whether I would walk again. I couldn’t feel my leg,” she says. “It could’ve been so much worse.”
Joiner, a silver medallist in the team sprint at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, couldn’t walk for eight days, but was back on her bike within two months and racing in three. Of her attitude, she says, “At my first race back I acted like it never happened – if you do care then you’re not going to win bike races.”
Participation in the Commonwealth Games, held in her native Scotland, saw her comeback complete. Now, in only her third season on the road, she’s enjoying her most successful season yet. Standout results include a victory at the Croydon round of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix series, and 4th place at the Tour de Yorkshire.