Whoops, I haven't blogged since the end of September, and as we're past nationals, I thought it would be the perfect time to post!
First off, can I say "Happy New Year" to my readers! It's 2018, so insanely baffling, I'm 32, going on 33 in March, where.does.the.time.go? Seriously. I remember in 5th grade receiving a white sweatshirt that said "Class of 2003" on it, and had everyones name that was enrolled in the Mercer Island School District in my grade on it. At the time, they were the coolest things ever, and I remember thinking 2003 was SOOOO far away (after all, I think the year was 1996), and here I am nearly 15 years after graduating high school wondering where the time went, not really where I envisioned my life, but wouldn't trade it for the world.
2017 was a wild ride. It started off with a bang at Cyclocross Nationals, finishing 5th, making Worlds, going to Europe, finishing 15th at my first World Championships in the snow and ice. 10 days later I went in for hip surgery and so many things changed. Spring was hard, Summer perked up (except for the news of needing another hip surgery on the opposite side), and then racing commenced! I committed myself to a lighter schedule at the start of the season, not knowing how either of my hips would fare, and wanting to have the ability to focus a bit more on training at the beginning of the season versus racing, since my training was a bit delayed compared to others. The season started out with a BANG! Seriously, I was shocked, a top 10 in my first UCI race back, a C1 leading up to the Jingle Cross World Cup with top international talent. At that point I knew my season was going to fare better than I anticipated, but I still held my reserves.
August 2nd I sat in my surgeons office reviewing my MRI from my left hip (the non surgical one), discussing options, and we both agreed that because I had been feeling it since the previous Fall (you can read about it here), and it didn't get better with rest (you know the 4 months I spent doing nothing after surgery), then it probably wasn't going to get better, and surgery would be my best option if I wanted it fixed. Given how well I responded to the first surgery we agreed it would be a good option for me, but first, we race. Time and time again he told me my hip wouldn't feel good, I wouldn't feel normal, and I shouldn't expect a very good season this year, and that I should look forward to the following year to have a good season. I believed him. Call me a fool, because I know myself better than that. When someone tells me I can't, I tell them I can and I will. It's just my nature, it's who I am. Well, since believing him, and having very very very low expectations for the season (like hoping to get a top 30 in the US World Cups), I originally planned to have surgery in December on my left hip. I figured that way I would get some racing in, and get a jump start on my recovery for the following year, which would mean I could get some mountain bike racing in! Plus, I had met my deductible already, so it all just made sense...at the time.
Life is never what you expect.
Turns out, I kinda kicked ass for having had hip surgery in Feb. and not really starting any formal training until July. Season goals changed, and I realized I was going to salvage this season I thought was a lost cause. An outsider looking in, someone who doesn't know the back story, a stranger to the cycling world, my season would look normal, just about right, lighter racing schedule than last year, but you could say it was on par to last years season, or even slightly better. This person wouldn't refer to my season as magical, like I do. Magical, like a unicorn. A fairytale story with a weird tragic ending for a twist.
The past 5 months have been nothing short of magical, and I'm thanking those that have been a part of it, those that supported me, believed in me, and helped me get where I am. The last year has been a journey, a challenging experience (I'm so lucky to do AGAIN, but we can talk about that later), and while I wouldn't wish it upon anyone, yet I wouldn't change it for the world. Looking back on my post from September, I raced with more heart this season than ever before. I had more fight than ever, and more to smile about than anyone else out there. I stood on 7 UCI podiums, raced in 4 World Cups (1 to go), won 2 UCI races, I finished 4th at Nationals and have been selected to race World Championships in the Netherlands in 2 weeks, all within less than 1 year post hip arthroscopic surgery. This didn't come easy, but I proved to myself that I could do it, I can be the 1% to come back stronger, better, happier. The odds weren't in my favor, I was told I shouldn't count on anything. I look forward to my final 2 races of the season, and I anticipate another challenge of coming back from yet ANOTHER hip surgery. It's not something I want, but it's a story I'll hold onto for a long time, it's a part of my journey to become the best I can be.