ADAM Carey will long remember 2016 as being the year in which he both suffered one of the biggest disappointments of his BMX racing career and picked up a coaching highlight.
Eight months after he snapped his Achilles tendon and had his hopes of competing at the Rio Olympic Games ended, Carey was named the BMX New South Wales coach of the year.
"It's really nice to be recognised. I've been running my own coaching business for about six years now, so I have pretty much been coaching kids since I was 16,” Carey, who is completing an exercise science doctorate at CSU, said.
"I am 27 now, so I have been doing it for a number of years now, but this is my first time being recognised for my efforts on the professional stage.
"I have about 65 young riders on my books at the moment. I go to the Blue Mountains every Wednesday and I coach up to 25 kids there and I have just started coaching with Bathurst. I am trying to help the club out here now that they have such a great facility - I do that on Fridays.”
While the Bathurst rider was delighted with the recognition he received for coaching, it was an injury which allowed him to focus on that aspect of the sport this year.
Though Carey enjoyed being involved with athlete management at events, there is no doubt he would have loved to be competing himself.
"I snapped my Achilles at the start of the year, so I wasn't able to compete in any of the Olympic qualifiers this year. It was a bit of a learning curve for me to just sit on the sidelines and manage things,” Carey said.
"It was soul shattering if you will to have such a huge goal torn from you, but that is the nature of the sport.
"It did it at Bathurst when I was training. I had just come back from my honeymoon in Cambodia where I did a lot of walking.
“I did a five-hour training session and that was probably a bit too much. My foot came off the pedal and my Achilles let go. At first I thought I had just sprained my ankle, but unfortunately it was a bit more serious than that.”
Carey has since recovered and is back in training, but admitted it was hard to sit out the NSW titles at Penrith at the start of October.
Instead he will make his racing comeback at the Victorian BMX titles in Shepparton on November 17. Carey admitted he is feeling nervous in the build up, but is happy with how his training is progressing.
"It was heartbreaking. That would've been my 10th consecutive year competing at the New South Wales titles. I probably could have raced, but I thought I needed to do the right thing for my recovery,” Carey said.
"It's an extreme sport mentality, we do love the adrenaline. People ask me why I don't do track or road cycling or downhill or something like that, but BMX, it's like the 100 metres run of track events - it's all out explosive power.
"I represented Australia at the World Championships in 2009, that was like my last non-serious year at uni. It has only been now that I have been able to get back into that 20-25 hours a week serious training again.
"It's certainly been an adventure to get back into training full on again. It’s been going good.”