Over these past few years… not weeks, in my life it’s been all bikes. I’ve had my complete life focus on cycling for the past 7 years.
Recently, I left Arizona and went back to Santa Fe at the beginning of March, and then mid March I flew to Italy to begin my European adventure. I was excited to spend time racing and training with my team. But unfortunately this time got cut short. While out on a training ride with the team I hit a hole with sand and went down pretty hard. As a result, I was taken to the hospital and spent 12 days recovering from a TBI.
I am now back at home in Santa Fe, NM, USA, recovering and having doctors visits. It feels good as I am not a fan of hospitals. It feels good to go out for walks in the morning, go swimming or spend time on a spin bike and spend time with friends and family.
I wish I could just be free and do whatever I wanted and get back on the bike to race, but with a new TBI, I have to be careful and attentive of my head. So going forward I will be attentive of my head for concussions and go to see doctors. Just yesterday I went to Denver and to Colorado Concussion Clinic for an app0intment and treatment where I saw doctors about this recent accident. I also have to contemplate what direction that my life goes as far as sports are concerned.
After my Santa Fe Vacation for Christmas, Surgery and lots of trainer time, I am back in Tucson, and loving the warm weather (when it happens). It has been a weird winter. Usually I’m able to ride outside in just shorts and a shirt everyday except maybe 4 days. But this time, I’ve been wearing a jacket and leg warmers almost everyday. It sucks and isn’t so fun for training. I actually think it was warmer in December than it is now in February.
I have some great news!!! I can announce that I signed a contract with the Italian Team SERVETTO PIUMATE BELTRAMI TSA for this upcoming year!! I’m excited for the opportunity of racing in bigger UCI (international) races and to travel and really dive into European racing. In the past, I got a taste of it when I was racing there for about half the year and went to some bigger races with my team, SAS-macogep. But now, the team is fully Italian based and I’m happy to racing over there full time this year. Below is a picture of me from the race today wearing my team uniform and holding my TT bike.
For this period of time training has been pretty difficult and demanding on me. High intensity and I am putting in lots of hours on the bike and lots of extra stuff when I am off the bike also. Like when I have some down time, the rest is taken up by making my recovery juice, meeting sponsors (which I am very happy about), updating online stuff, looking at plane tickets to Italy, and so much more. I like it, because it keeps me busy and my mind active, but it stacks up.
This weekend, (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), is the Valley of the Sun stage race in Phoenix! A Time Trial on Friday, Road Race on Saturday, and Criterium on Sunday. I’m excited to push myself and I feel like this is the really first bigger race and step of the year. I’m especially happy because I am actually trained for it and can push it too. Unlike last year where I was in Santa Fe at this time and just sitting on the trainer for exercises. And I struggled in races that I did later on and didn’t have the winter base that I needed. Now I am ready and can’t wait for the bigger races to come. This is just the first step forward.
Today, as it is Friday, I raced the 14 mile/ 22 km TT and didn’t like it one bit. I am not partial to Time Trials, and this out and back was not so fun for me. I placed 21st out of 60 women, and it was a solid finish. Nothing amazing, but something solid to move forward with. I pushed myself and felt the intensity for all 34 minutes of it. I am happy with what I did and now onto my specialty , the road racing.
In mid December I went back to Santa Fe for 3 weeks.Cooking, training, and everything in between!!
I also got sick like 3 time which didn’t feel so good. It snowed quite a bit while I was there, so no mountain biking and just a couple of outside runs for something different.
Other then that I was at the gym or stuck in front of Netflix. But my time there was overall good and spent well as I had a minor surgery on my face and arm. Hope fully it will be the last. I am happy with what the doctor did and my arm looks so much better!! Before the scar was very obvious and sticking out a lot. Now it is just a zig-zag line going down my arm. Much more aerodynamic 😉
Before pictures of my arm from this summer are the first 2.
I also took some personal time to visit sponsors and present a personalized picture to Dr. Bernitsky of Albuquerque, NM. He supported me about 4 years ago by sponsoring my LASIK procedure. I couldn’t be more grateful and he really has changed my life for the better!
Now that I’m back in Tucson it’s back to hard training and focusing on what I need to do to get stronger for the season ahead. Now that it is January too, it is roller season. So in the mornings I am on the rollers for some leg speed and then in the afternoon I go for my workout or ride.
It feels good to be back in warmer weather and I’m excited to do some local races in the next few weeks.
For future plans I’ll go back to Santa Fe in mid February to leave my stuff and pack up my bags. Then off to the next destination and to meet my future team. I can’t quite announce the team yet as they have the first serve of that. But news coming soon.
Since November 17th I’ve been in the USA!! First I arrived in Santa Fe, NM, and spent about a week and a half there for Thanksgiving and going to doctor’s appointments and getting everything settled so I could come to Tucson.
The past week I’ve been in Tucson, AZ and feeling the luxury of cycling paradise. It’s about 50-70 degrees on each ride and I’m enjoying the warmer weather so much. I’ll go back to Santa Fe next week for more doctor’s appointments and for Christmas. I’ll have my final dental work for putting crowns on my teeth by Dentistry for Kids, which is an amazing group and they have done so much for me during this time. I’ll have a minor face surgery and to reduce the scar on my arm. And more therapy on my hand, oh and with friends and family for the Christmas holiday. It will be nice to be back with family and friends again, I love Santa Fe for that.
It will be for a short time however, as I’ll head back to Tucson soon after. I will spend January, and February and possibly March here, training hard and getting ready for 2019. The March time depends on my plans for 2019 and team set up…. This means that big news coming soon, I can’t say just yet, but soon you’ll find out. I’m excited for the new year and my riding so far.
Training here has felt amazing and I am feeling good with the time on the bike and off the bike also. I use my days to do exercises and strength work aswell as miles on the bike. This will continue into Santa Fe as it won’t be so warm, and gym time will be at a top priority and mountain biking too. But my body feels good and I am feeling great on the bike.
And after your shock settles, I feel that juice cleanses get a bad reputation for how they are negatively represented. They come across as being a “starve yourself”, “lose weight fast” kind of diet, that I really disagree with. I have done juice cleanses in the past, and just like those instances, I am doing this as a cleanse for my body and a reboot for my digestive system and intestines. We bombard our bodies constantly with food that is difficult to digest and put it through so much work, that I figure why not give it a break and let my body restart as I myself am also restarting with this season from now. This is also the perfect time to do it, because I am in a lower point of my season and just building up again for training. So no hard workouts, or even workouts at all. I am just going out and riding about 3 hours a day and I feel great!!
In this past week I have done 5 days of just juice, and then 2 days of raw food, and now I will go through another 5 days of just juice, and then some more days of raw food to finish it off. Right now I am on day 2 of the second round of juice. Then on Monday I will finish and head back to New Mexico for some Christmas turkey dinners.
Throughout this period of juicing, I have been well nutritioned and with plenty of vitamins from my local supplement sponsor Health Product Distributors.
They are really amazing and have kept me going strong through this cleanse, even with just a juice based diet. I still feel like I am getting stronger and fitter everyday. And yes, there is the benefit of losing weight as well. I arrived at 158lbs. and my goal is to get to 145lb. Which is my ideal race weight. So I am doing it gradually and very smart and professionally. I am feeling great and this really is a great reboot for my overall system and body.
Going forward I am optimistic of the future. I feel great in training and look forward to coming back in January for harder training!! I know I will get stronger and be fast next season. So hold on as more news to come
A BIGGGG shout out to my sponsors who have helped get me here!! To David and Mellowvelo who have hooked me up with this AMAZING Orbea bike that I am using now and will be using this year to train and race. To Health Product Distributors who keep me alive during this training “camp” with all your amazing supplements. And to everyone out there that has been so supportive of my career and training and racing. To Dentistry for Kids in Santa Fe, who has helped me smile again and feel confident!! THANK YOU!!
I arrived in Italy on August 23rd , and I have been non stop since August 23rd. To explain this a bit more and to prove how go-go-go I’ve been; I arrived at my dad’s house in Northern Italy on the 23rd and on the 24th I left in the morning for Tuscany to start working in tour guiding.
It is such a different experience and life style from which I’m used to while cycling. In the past month and a half, I have been to Tuscany (central), Puglia (south), Piedmonte (north), Tuscany, Piedmonte, Puglia, Tuscany (1 day) and now again in Puglia.
It’s all been over about 1 week spans since I arrived. I haven’t really slept in the same bed for more than 2 nights and I eat at restaurants almost every night.
And through all of this traveling around I also managed to race in the World Championships of Gran Fondo, which was in Varese (northern Italy) where my dad’s family is from. It was an amazing experience and I am so happy and proud to have been able to ride in it. And I do say ride instead of race because I wasn’t in the form or fitness to be at a competitive state. I participated and enjoyed being in the group, but again couldn’t have really pushed as hard as was needed to win. And that’s ok, it was great to do it and now on to be guiding and focusing on being stronger for next year on the bike.
So back to guiding talk now….
I love this life that’s exciting and a change of pace from the usual flow of day in and day out training and routine. There are certainly things from back home which I miss. And I do miss being on the bike everyday and training all day. But for the time being, I enjoy and am grateful for the change. I still get to ride almost everyday with clients and the lifestyle of top restaurants and hotels is something incredible that only Butterfield & Robinson can offer.
This lifestyle really is all encompassing. I work about 18 hrs a day to prepare for or be with the travelers. Which is ok and completely my choice too, I like to be on top of things and am a little A type 😉 for perfection.
But I love it too, the multitasking and organizing I am so good at. Then when I’m off trip I have a complete introvert meltdown where I just want to have a salad and be alone in a bedroom to rest. Since August 23rd I really haven’t had any personal time until now, 10th of October. So just a little bit of time.
I just realized that today is the 10th of October. wow….It’s been 11 months since I almost died. I am so grateful for everyday I am alive and know I am a different person for having survived this. Everyday I learn so much about myself and I have grown and adapted and become a different personality for it. 1 more month till my new birthday. And I really do consider it that. It was a birthday for me. I lived in a moment when I should have gone. This is truly incredible. I am truly grateful.
This is a picture from yesterday, riding in Puglia to scope out the routes that we ride with the clients. It was so beautiful and warm!!
This is a view from riding in Piedmonte (north), it was so beautiful there and loved the hills!!
For the past couple weeks, and for the next couple weeks I am at home in Santa Fe, NM. Training, therapy and lots of lawyer appointments. It is great being back and getting to settle a little. I like the routine of training in the morning and helping my dad or running errands in the afternoon.
For racing my next one is planned as Colorado Classic from 16-19 August in Vail and Denver, Colorado. I’m excited to get back into the race scene and test my legs again. I am especially happy that I am already acclimated for altitude, so while some racers will be struggling with the high altitude it will be normal for me.
After, I will fly to Italy for my next round of tour guiding with Butterfield and Robinson. They are an amazing company and I love being able to work for them. I will be guiding in Tuscany (walking), Piedmonte (northern biking), and Puglia (biking). I am really excited to get back out and to guiding again.
Currently, I am in Vancouver, Canada for BC Superweek. It’s a series of 9 races in 10 days (6 to 16 July), 7 of the 9 races are criteriums. Short fast races. like 1-2 mile courses and we do about 1 hr on it.
Today is the rest day and we’ve done 3 races already. It’s really tough but I’m loving it and it’s getting my legs back into racing mode.
The first day was rough and sucked a lot. I didn’t do very well and dropped off the pack and was pulled out of the race. this was really hard mentally as I’m always expecting myself to do well and keep pushing and be on top. So it was really disappointing and lit a fire in me. I hate doing that bad in races and it hits me mentally.
The next day I pushed hard and stayed in the race the whole time and even with 5 laps to go put in an attack and broke away solo for 1 lap. they caught me but still, i did something and put in a move which i’m proud of. I finished with the pack and solid.
Yesterday was 1 of 2 road races. 105km and pretty tough. I stayed in the pack again and it went well. with 2 miles to go i was in good positioning but then it was the 2nd to last curve and a girl swung wide and pushed me into the weeds. literally road on the side walk for about 1 block. then got back in but had to put in a big effort to get back up and so wasn’t there for the final sprint. finished again and good solid effort and push and feeling good.
I’m happy with how I’ve raced and now its been solid and body is feeling good.
I’m hoping the rest of the races go well and I am resting very hard today.
The other day I was picked up by my host here in Knoxville, TN. She said she didn’t know what happened to me and figured she would ask in person for the actual account. At this, I realized most people don’t know the actual account of what happened. So I thought I would post with the explanation and some pictures of what actually happened.
10 November 2017
4 hour training ride became a horrible near death accident at 3 hrs in Santa Fe, NM
This is what I am told, as I don’t remember the accident and don’t remember anything until about mid December (1,5 months after the accident). I was riding on West Alameda above the round-about, coming down the hill toward the Silar rd round-about. So I had slowed to 22 kph/14 mph, as I am apprehensive of round-abouts in the USA and the drivers ability to use them. As I came down the hill this man turned in front of me and I collided with his car. He says he could not see me because the sun was in his eyes, but the woman behind him could see me and she was scared when he turned in front of me and saw the collision. I was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Santa Fe, NM, and then flown by helicopter to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque.
I am very lucky to still be alive. My dad say’s he got a call that day with the doctor asking how fast he could get to the hospital because they didn’t know how long I would live for.
I’m so grateful for all I have and have experienced, but going through this is just a little motivation to anyone that is thinking “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t”, because YOU CAN, it’s not that hard to just try. I am coming back from a near death injury and something that I can’t make excuses for. I live my life to the limit and love all in my life. Everyday is a gift and I am grateful for that.
List of the injuries I sustained:
TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury
Dissected carotid arteries in my neck
Broken orbital – leading to orbital transplant surgery
4 broken front teeth – leading to root canals and crowns on those teeth
Broken scaphoid (wrist) – leading to surgery for screw placement
Broken hand – leading to surgery for pin placement
Broken humerus and surgery for a plate (arm)
Broken collar bone – leading to winging scapula
2 collapsed lungs – leading to 2 chest tubes
Coma for 6 days
Hospital for 2 weeks
Rehab until 16 December (20 days)
After I went to live at my mom’s and recover in Taos, NM. I went to therapy about everyday for speech (my head), my hand, or physical therapy for my body. I continued improving slowly but the process has been long. It is not just physical but a mental recuperation as well. Many have been close to me and helping me through this process.
I have gradually reintroduced myself to riding a bike and now racing. I am a go-hard kind of person, so for me to just sit and wait to get better doesn’t work for me. I have been on the bike slowly since the hospital and as my hands and body allow me, I am back to riding continuously. Now I am in Knoxville, Tennessee for the USA National Championships. I am learning to be patient with myself and understand that I won’t be in the same fitness or mental state as I was last year. Nearly 8 months and I am still alive
I am thankful to all my sponsors that stood by me during this period and supported me. They are so wonderful and help me to come back strong and want to be better. Currently I am not with a team and this is hard as expenses are 100% on me. Travel, registration, lodging, etc. are big and something more for me to handle. But there is also a positive because in this way I can choose what races to go to and recover at my own pace. If you are interested in supporting this process or know someone that might want to sponsor please contact me: email@example.com
Races so far:
Javalina Chase, NM
Gatineau GP, Canada
UCI World Championships Qualifier Gran Fondo, Canada
USA National Championships, Tennessee
Below are some pictures from just after the accident. They are quite gory and show the real side of what happened that I won’t post on facebook. So if hospital beds, stitches and blood don’t bother you, then be my guest to look.
The past couple months have been tough. Loaded with doctor’s appointments, training, and trying to organize my life for racing and travel.
I went to California for Redlands. And SURVIVED!!! I raced everyday, which is pretty incredible. I didn’t feel so great, but getting through to each day was pretty incredible. Especially considering I had my accident about 6 months before.
I went back to Santa Fe with a new drive to train and push hard to get fitter. I started doing 2 a days with a morning spin then a later workout. That was also tiring and not so easy on my body. But it pushed me and was good overall for my fitness.
Then at the end of May I left for Canada and am here now. I raced the UCI GP Gatineau Road Race and Time Trial. This was a real check of my fitness and push to see how I am progressing. I finished and felt good, but it was a tough race that put me in my place. I need to keep growing and getting better. It hasn’t been that long and I have to understand I won’t be where I was for a long time.
I need to increase my fitness and feeling better also. I am now at my coach’s house outside of Toronto and training here until Nationals next week. I leave then (18 June) for Tennessee and am excited to race that again this year.
I am having to learn patience and to curb my expectation because I want to be just as good as I was, but also have to consider that I was in this accident about 7 months ago and in the hospital for almost 2 months. I have to understand my body won’t be back to where it was for a while.
I have a lot of therapy and self growth to go through. It will take a while and I can’t expect to be just right back to normal again. When I see old friends or people I know they are surprised to even see me racing. Which to me is also surprising because I love to race, but understandable as most people that have gone through what I have wouldn’t be here or at least what I am working towards. And that is just it, I love to race and be on my bike. So I guess that’s what keeps me going and in this sport. I want to pedal and get better. I just have to be ok with progress at my own pace.
I know it won’t be fast, but that is hard for me to completely understand and accept I want to be better and ok now. Back to how I was and normal, but it won’t. I have to be ok with my hands, shoulder, head and body for needing recocery and go slow. So I will get it…. Eventually.
The accident happened November 10th
Now my hands are staring to do better and my body is also on the recovery. I feel the struggle in a lot that I do, but overall I am improving slowly.
I feel the difficulty when I get dressed and my teeth are the biggest issue. I just had 4 root canals on my front teeth, and will have crowns after they are extruded a little (pulled down). I also have lots of doctor appointments these days: occupational therapy for my hands, speech therapy for my head, and other for my teeth and face.
Training I am doing what doctors allow me to do. I can not give too much information on this, but I stay busy and am happy to continue forward and helping my recovery.
Mentally I am doing ok. I am staying positive, and although many said I would have down days along the way, I have kept myself busy with training and appointments to not allow myself to have the time for down days. Since I have so many appointments and I am involved with keeping my body healthy by training I don’t allow myself to have a lot time to think about what is crossing me.
Sometimes I can’t believe what all of this has done to me. Had this not happened, I would be in Europe racing right now and feeling great. I would be on a top team and working to be better. Instead I am here in Santa Fe, with my hands just coming back to me, my face having a giant scar across it, my teeth being knocked out, and a TBI that I may never fully recover from. But even through all this I guess I am always an optimist and believe in myself to get back to normal and feeling good.