I started riding mountain bikes in my junior year of college. I enjoyed racing and discovered I had a passion and talent for enduro, and was able to turn professional about four years ago. In September 2018, I injured my knee riding. My diagnosis included a torn meniscus, ruptured ACL, and a partial tear on my MCL. As a professional athlete that has gone through injuries before, I knew I was in for a long recovery, both physically and mentally. Dr. Bollom and the entire team were incredible and I felt at ease during the entire process. After waiting six weeks to allow the MCL tear to heal, I had surgery on my meniscus and replaced the torn ACL with my patellar tendon in November. I was non-weightbearing for six weeks and then I was able to start some physical therapy towards the end of last year. My goal was to return to riding and enter my first big race in May.
I went to Arkansas for the Enduro World Series – North America rounds and ended up winning. I wasn’t expecting to be back so quickly since I was still trying to develop muscle and recover. It was an amazing feeling! By winning that race, I was able to get enough points to represent the United States in the Trophy of Nations in Sinale Ligure, Italy, in September. I did less races this season on the recommendation of Dr. Bollom and my physical therapist to limit exposure while I was healing, so it was pretty incredible to have that opportunity.
Sometimes athletes get frustrated when they are healing, and become hesitant and cautious, but with time it does work itself out. There was a period of time where I felt this way, but I had a good breakthrough at the race in Italy – it took almost a full year to get back. I also did a lot more coaching this year to keep myself relevant in the bike industry. I get a lot of enjoyment from teaching others to get better at mountain biking, so it was sort of a blessing in some ways to focus on that.