Hurt, Healing, and Helping
Wow. Hello. Marta speaking. It’s been a while since I’ve wrote a blog post or gotten on my bike for that matter. As some of you may or may not know I was involved in an accident on May 12th at the collegiate national championships. Forty seconds into the race there was a crash and I went down. Hard. As I was laying on the ground several riders rode into my gut area because there was nowhere else for there to go and in that moment my spleen ruptured and I began to bleed out. Because I’m a stubborn 21 year old I stood up and walked to the medical tent because I knew that I was fine! I, with all my infinite medical wisdom from years of researching on WebMD, knew that I just needed a few bandaids and I would be okay. My wonderful coach, Dean Peterson, and my mother walked me to the medical tent. By that time I had decided that maybe, just maybe something was wrong with me. The doctor had one look at my distended belly and sent me packing to the ambulance. Dean rode in the ambulance with me and all I remember was him yelling “MARTA, IT WILL BE OKAY. YOU WILL BE OKAY!” Once I arrived to the hospital it became very clear to me that I was in critical condition. I looked many months pregnant and I overheard the doctors talking is hushed whispers that they didn’t know if I was going to make it. A guy not much older than myself prepped me for surgery and I started to cry. I am a self admitted crier but this wasn’t just crying like what you do at the end of The Notebook. This was the type of crying where you know your body is starting to shut down. The oxygen mask went on and surgery commenced.
Since I’m writing this post I’m clearly alive and well and I like to think that I am actually thriving. You might have seen me waddling around Tulsa Tough with a Kelli’s camera and Kelli’s iced coffee, and a crop top showing off my battle wound. I’ve never gone to a bike race to watch but there was no way I was about to sit at home and watch Tulsa on my laptop, under my blankets, and probably nursing a sad pint of ice cream. So, what does one do at a race like Tulsa when they have an 11 inch gash on their belly? They HELP! They CHEER! And they MAKE INSTAGRAM VIDEOS! In all actuality, there is so much stuff that goes into getting a squad ready to race and so I’m about to go into detail on what it takes to get six girls through three days of epic crits.
Marta’s List of Stuff Needed For Success
ICE ICE BABY - When your racing at 7pm at night in Oklahoma and it’s 90ºF you are not going to survive alone with one bottle of lukewarm water. I spent lots of time filling panty hose with ice to make ice socks. Ice socks are probably the only appropriate use of panty hose I can imagine. These socks are critical to any experienced crit racer.
Roger that - Another thing you might have noticed if you’ve watched/raced pro races is that the field is huge, moving fast, and it’s generally chaotic. So you might be wondering how team directors are able to convey valuable information like when primes are coming, what the gap is to the break, and lots and lots of positive reinforcement. The answer to this question is radios!
Baby Coke - Once the bike race is over nothing slaps harder than a nice cold baby coke. For reals. The post race beers than fans hand out on the victory lap are good. I won’t lie. I’ve taken my fair share of open Coors Lights held out by kind strangers, but they don’t come close to the baby coke. Getting the girls cooled off and recovered is essential when racing back-to-back.
Cheese - No, not actual cheese because dairy does funny things to most people’s tummies. What I really mean is to SMILE! Bike racing is hard and it rarely goes as planned. Actually, I think most of us would be more surprised if our days went according to plan than if it went wrong. At the end of the day as long as we’re all together and smiling it’s a successful one :)
Thank you for reading this post. I covered a very broad range of topics but if you know me at all you know I’m a talker and jump around to a lot of different things. Going to Tulsa was one of the best things I could have done for my recovery and helped my healing process. All of my teammates are incredible and it was so amazing to see everyone. Everyone always talks about how tightly knit the cycling community is and I can vouch for that. The amount of love I’ve been given is incredible and you all make coming back to the sport easy.