Lisa’s Blog – Western Open

It has taken me a while to write this blog – for a couple reasons. I have been mourning the loss of my ability to ride, and I thought by giving myself sometime before I write, it will give me a better perspective on the whole situation.

I will admit. It has been hard. A low, low time. But, now I can see the positive in it all. I now realize how much joy biking brings to my life, and how much effort I can put in to enjoy my life more! It’s one thing to only have the chance to ride your bike a couple of times a week (which I realize now is really about choice), and it’s another to never ride, because you just can’t. Sorry if this seems confusing!

So, the story, if I must:

It was the Western Open at Kicking Horse Resort in Golden, BC. There was so much hype leading up to this event, and for good reason. It was huge. Great turnout. I felt like I was at a World Cup race.

With a couple of fellow Muddbunnies, we sessioned the course on Saturday. About 30 seconds into the course there is a fairly large drop. One of the largest drops I have done – off a rock, onto dirt, and then to a steep section. I did it fine twice in practice, and felt good about it….until…we started talking about it. Everyone was talking about it – constantly. I was talking about constantly. Two girls got airlifted off the course during practice – one from the drop and one on another location on course. People were asking, Are you going to do it? Will you do it? In my head I didn’t see any reason why not. For me, I didn’t have any problems with it. Now I know that I was convincing myself that I didn’t have any problems with it. In fact, I was dreading it, and all the talk about it completely got into my head. I couldn’t shut it out. The mental strength it takes to focus yourself and shut out all the negativity is unbelievable. I didn’t have it.

The first part of the course was awesome. I was pushing it, loving it, feeling confident. Then I got to the drop, and my mind went blank. I looked at the landing, and freaked out. I think I even forgot to pull up, but I can’t recall! I was nose heavy anyway, and I landed on my head and elbow. I had an instant headache, a sore arm, but everything was moving fine. Course shutdown, I was assessed, taken off course and then escorted to the chairlift. No helicopter ride for me. This was the biggest crash I had ever had. My crashes are usually pretty calm and calculated!

Next day my headache was gone, but my arm was so stiff and swollen. I went to the hospital in Golden and after 5 hours they concluded that I had a fracture in my hand (from a crash in practice), and a fracture in my arm (radial head)(from race run). Casted and sent home. I found out a week later, after follow up from the Orthopedic Surgeon in Van, that my hand was fine, but I did in fact have a fracture in my arm. The cast was removed from my hand, and I am left to heal sans cast.

This is what took all the impact - my arm, my jersey and my helmet.

It’s been 3 weeks and my calendar photoshoot is this week. This will be my debute back to my bike.

'I'm sad I didn't get to see the race until the end. This is me during practice'. Photo by Clayton Racicot.

It’s been hard watching my fellow racers continue on without me. I’ve had lows and tears, but also feelings of excitement. Excitement that I will soon be back on my bike with a greater sense of my limits, and when to push them and when not to push them. I am also forever grateful that I can get back on my bike. Some people do not have that luxury, and I cannot imagine what kind of strength that takes. I admire you, especially Tara Llanes, who lead the Kids Race at Kicking Horse. I’m happy that Cru got to exchange words with you before and after the race.

"Cru crying, 'Tara, help me!' (He wanted to race, trust me!)" Photo credit to Clayton Racicot

Here is a trailer to a film about paraplegic athletes

Tara Llanes from Aaron Larocque on Vimeo.


Please do not watch it if it will make you stop riding your bike. Use it as inspiration to set goals and live with passion and purpose.

See you next season!!

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3 thoughts on “Lisa’s Blog – Western Open

  1. Thank you for this! You have no idea how inspiring your words are, even to this wee beginner type. Stay strong and welcome back to playing on your bike πŸ™‚

  2. So happy you’re back, Lisa. It was so scary not knowing what had happened when we waiting at the bottom. Next year we’ll all conquer that course, and that drop as though it is NOTHING! πŸ™‚

  3. Hey girl,

    Sorry to hear about your injury. I feel for you, as I’m just myself getting back into riding now from my Whistler crash. So true about negativity creeping in… I find it very hard to block it out… Have fun with the photo shoot!

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