A surgeon sliced into my abdomen ten days ago and pulled out the person that had been growing in there for nine months. “Rest for six weeks,” they told me. “You can walk - walking is good!” But walking doesn’t feel good; I am not a walker, I’m a cyclist. My body feels stiff and unfamiliar after surgery and days of sitting and holding a baby. Muscles that never hurt are sore, my legs are scrawny and noodle-like, and I miss feeling sweaty and strong. So I decide to spin. The incision is glued shut and nearly healed, the pain inside is a lot better, and I genuinely believe a spin on the trainer will get the blood flowing and not do any harm. I kit up. It’s been 11 days since my last ride. At that time, I was hugely pregnant and wrapping up a long, challenging block of ...continue reading.
"How has your pregnancy been?" She was a prenatal massage therapist with a soft voice and gentle hands. No part of what she was about to do to me involved digging fingers into sore muscles, pulling fascia and painfully working out knots, everything I know from years of cycling-specific massage. She was used to coddling soft, gentle, glowing expecting mothers who lovingly cradle their bellies. "Well," I began, "It's been hard. I was...uh, am...a professional cyclist and I've tried to keep up with training. I had a bleed at 12 weeks and broke my arm in a crash at 20 weeks. Now I ride indoors 10-12 hours a week and walk a lot of miles when I travel, and so everything always hurts and feels tired. But I keep going anyway." I sounded insane. This was not lost on either of us. She asked if I'd tried prenatal yoga and ...continue reading.
The first thing any professional cyclist thinks upon crashing is, "How long am I out?" (Well, right after thinking choice words not fit for print.) The answer might be 30 seconds; you disentangle from the bike, assess physical and equipment damage, and if everything checks out, jump back on and chase after the race. Those are the lucky accidents. For the bigger crashes, the time is measured in days, weeks, or sometimes months. Those are the unfortunate ones; not only are you dealing with ongoing pain, struggle, and the slow process of recovery, but you're watching the rest of the world keep training and racing while you're on the sidelines fretting over lost fitness. On May 13, I had one of the unlucky crashes. It was the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California Women's WorldTour race and we were 80 kilometers into the race. To be honest, I'd ...continue reading.