Women's Wednesday - A few crashes doesn't stop this new rider

We received this email a few weeks ago that left me in shock

Katerine doing what she loves

I played college volleyball and broke my leg junior year, destroyed it to the point where I was in a walking boot for 5 months after being on crutches for 3. The doctor cleared me to only swim and bike. My parents bought me a cheap road bike to help me rehab and I actually fell in love and started riding. I went back to college that fall for my senior year, still not being cleared to play volleyball, but with my bike. Two months into my senior year I got hit by a car. The driver drove off leaving me lying on the pavement but I memorized enough of the license plate to give it to an eye witness. The driver eventually got caught but the emotional damage was done. As part of my recovery of having PTSD my class dean did an independent study with my for my last semester. While it focused on human performance it was more about getting back on the bike. As part of the class I started writing and started a blog about getting back on two wheels. Fast-forward to last February when I put in for the Leadville lottery and got in. I started training, bought a bike, the whole 9 yards, I was so excited for it. 12 days before the race I crashed on a training ride and woke up in the back of someone’s car thinking it was July 15, 2011 (when really it was July 31, 2012) after getting knocked out. The concussion was pretty bad (I'm still on medication for it), I can't remember the crash or about 90 minutes of my ride, and none of the doctors who treated me thought Leadville was even remotely good idea. The race director was kind enough to grant me a medical deferral for next year after learning about the incident. Now I know time to prepare and change the things that didn’t work and keep what did. I don’t know if I could have a monthly column or just a link on the website to my blog, or an article at the end of my journey/ordeal. I think my writing speaks for itself and if you can find a place for it to fit that would be great, or any feed back really. My blog is focused on biking but also has hints of trying to balance everything with training while trying to decided what I want to do with the rest of my life, as Im only 23.

What really stuck in my mind is, how does she keep going with cycling? I know plenty of cycling junkies out there and I fall in the category, but to have experienced all that and still not give up hope on cycling, her newly adopted sport, is inspiring. There for I had to follow up with her to learn more

[303Cycling] How much in love are you with cycling right now?

Katerine riding after getting her cast off

[Katherine] It's weird, I've never really associated love with cycling. But I guess that's what it is. It's hard because the English language only provides us with one word "Love" to encompass so many different feelings. But I do have a love for cycling. If I tell you I love cycling a little, well that just seems like I like it and enjoy it and if I tell you I love cycling a ton well I might come across as being over zealous. For me it's hard to quantify how much I love cycling because I don't use the term loosely or often but I know if I didn't have cycling I would know that something was missing in my life.

[303Cycling] You've had some terrible crap happen and yet you keep on going. Why?

[Katherine] I guess I've never thought about stopping. Mainly because I wouldn't know what else to do. I tried knitting for a while after this last crash but I'm not really cut out for that type of activity. I've definitely taken time off after each accident and because of that it's help me realize how much I enjoy having it in my life. I know each time what the risks are and all I can do is make sure my equipment is working well and that I'm not putting myself in dangerous situations. Not that I'm glad those thing happened but I've been able to learn a lot about myself. Without each event I'm not sure I would have ended up where I am right now, and I'm really happy with where I am. Some of my best memories are the product of really shitty situations. If I was able to walk away from it so easily then I probably didn't love it to begin with.

[303Cycling] What is it in cycling that has made you fall in love so deeply?

[Katherine] Most people remember the first time they rode a bike as a kid and the taste of freedom it gave them. Cycling gave me my life back. After breaking my leg in college and having lingering nerve damage (3 months of being on crutches and another 5 in a walking boot) the doctor told me I could bike or swim but shouldn't really count on running too much ever again. After being a college volleyball player and an athlete for most of my life I really didn't know how to define myself not being able to utilize my leg fully. After being sedentary for a good portion of the year I started riding with one good leg and was able to get that freedom back. It's an amazing feeling when all the micro-connections clicks and you're completely one with your bike and the whole world just stops. I thought runner's were crazy talking about a runner's high, but there really is something euphoric about feeling like your on the cusp of greatness. Even if that's just accomplishing a hard ride or beating your time up a hill or mastering a technical skill that you've been working on. Cycling is such a broad term that has so many different disciplines within it that there really is a bike and a ride out there for everyone.

Learn more about Katerine and what she has gone through on here cycling journey on her blog

News Item: