Riders rallying for Wright

Sierra scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Christian Wright went from living his dream to barely living Friday.
The mountain biker from Auburn launched off of a jump and had a frightening crash during a practice run at a Junior World Cup event in Champerey, Switzerland. His mother Karen reported that he was recovering from major blood loss from a ruptured spleen, a ruptured kidney and a concussion on Saturday in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Instead of competing with the top junior riders in the world, Wright spent his 17th birthday in the hospital Saturday, but it could have been much worse. His crash occurred on an isolated portion of the course. Another rider on the chairlift was the only person to witness the crash and it was close to an hour before Wright was placed on a stretcher and life-flighted off the course.
“We thought we might have lost him,” Karen said.
Wright was using his World Cup experience to get a taste for next year, when he would have his best shot at winning the Junior World Cup title. He was the top-ranked junior rider in the U.S. earlier this year before a knee injury cost him a big chunk of the season. He recovered just in time to place eighth in the age 17-18 division at last week’s U.S. Nationals in Granby, Colo.
Now he likely faces at least two weeks in the ICU in Switzerland before he is stable enough to fly home. Though his condition is critical, Karen and hundreds of friends and family members are confident that he will recover. Wright’s father Clark flew to be with his son upon hearing about the accident late last week. Meanwhile Karen has fielded dozens of phone calls and hundreds of e-mails with people wishing her son well and offering support.
Fellow mountain bikers John Allard and Eric Costigan started a Care for Christian page on Facebook, where people can go to get updates on his condition and donate to the cause, though Karen said donations are not necessary.
The Journal will have more on this story in the coming weeks.

Chris Jones had a breakout top-20 finish at the Amgen Tour of California back in May. The pro cyclist who lives in Auburn is poised to make some serious noise in another sport this fall.
This week he officially signed on with the Rapha-FOCUS American cyclocross team. Jones hinted that he would be signing with a major team when I interviewed him earlier this year.
The signing is big news not only for Jones, but for the fringe sport in the U.S. Cyclocross is a form of racing in which the competitors circle a course that includes dirt, grass, wooded trails and obstacles, requiring the riders to dismount and carry their bikes at times.
Though he makes the majority of his money as a traditional cyclist, Jones admits that cyclocross is a real passion for him and he is extremely excited about the upcoming season.
By joining the Rapha-Focus team, Jones will be riding one of the best cyclocross bikes available anywhere and will have a team support van and a mechanic at each of his races.
“Last year I had a real breakthrough season riding a FOCUS,” Jones said in a press release last week. “This year, I truly believe that we’re going to be both the best outfitted and most highly motivated riders in the field. Having the backing of Rapha and FOCUS is absolutely a dream and this season should prove to be the perfect build for the 2012 world championships here in the USA.”
We’ll keep up with Jones this fall and winter as he competes all over the U.S. and Europe.