I only took a month off from cycling during my illness but it felt like an eternity. I had been volunteering weekly with Trips for Kids but had a hard time keeping up with the kids…that was a huge bummer!
I accepted that my summer race goals were dashed but the worst thing was not being able to ride for fun. Short, easy rides felt like the hardest challenge and many times I had to turn around and go home only a few minutes into the ride. I would start to make some progress only to set myself back; there were no warning signs when I surpassed my limit. Nevertheless I listened to my body and did my best to respect what it was telling me…
The summer flew by and before I knew it cyclocross season arrived. I returned to Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross for my fourth season. The team and its partners were like family and offered tremendous support. For the first time ever, the Cyclocross World Championships were to be held outside of Europe-in Louisville, KY, the team’s home base!
The beginning of the season held a ton of anticipation, pride and excitement for us:
I wanted nothing more than to represent well; I gave racing my best try but felt like a shell of myself. I tried so hard to stay positive and patient; progress would come but it happened so slowly and at miniscule increments. It was tough to keep it all in perspective.
With Worlds coming to the US, everyone was faster than ever–eager to make the highly selective national team. Many European riders came over to race and prepare as well. I had earned a lot of UCI points in 2011 and had decent starting positions.
Tired of sitting out I gave a few USGP races a try:
I could stay on pace for two laps and then completely ran out of gas but I was so grateful to have the chance to try. Even though I only started with them it was awesome to be part of such strong and large women’s fields!
Halfway through the season I made the tough decision to take another break from racing. I was satisfied by finally seeing some improvement in my health but I needed a lot more time to fully recover. I transitioned to a support role and helped Dave in the pits:
Despite my personal disappointments the season ended on a high note when two of our riders made the junior Worlds team and we got to see them race on home soil in February. I had never been to a World Championship before and the experience was like none other!
The World Championships were incredibly inspiring and boosted my motivation when I was very close to giving up.
I was excited to return to Pepper Palace for 2013:
Three months turned to eight months turned to twelve and while I finally began to feel normal in my everyday life I still struggled a lot on the bike. I had lost so much strength, fitness, confidence, patience…however I was slowly getting better and there were occasional glimpses of the rider I used to be. The support from my boyfriend, coach, friends, family, and teams kept me going!