Defending World Champion Rachel Atherton just announced that she will not return to racing this year. Rachel has missed the entirety of this season recovering from a severe shoulder injury stemming from a run-in with a car in January.
After undergoing surgery this spring, Rachel had initially hoped to return to competition in time to defend her title at the World Championships in early September, but after consulting with her physician, she decided it was better to let her shoulder heal completely—which means no racing until next year.
"After much deliberation, and possibly some tears on my part, the decision has been reached that i will not race this year. Believe me when i say the decision was not come by lightly, nor happily, but i feel that to push things too far, too soon could well ruin next year for me," Rachel said in a post today on her blog.
You can read the entire post here, or we've pasted it below. Be sure to check out the September issue of Bike, which Rachel Guest Edited, due out next week.
After much deliberation, and possibly some tears on my part, the decision has been reached that i will not race this year. Believe me when i say the decision was not come by lightly, nor happily, but i feel that to push things too far, too soon could well ruin next year for me.
After talking things through with my Surgeon, Physio, Coach and Family, I decided that my shoulder was too unstable to risk racing, and that concentrating on building the muscle back up so that it is 100% for 2010 was to be the best course of action.
I'm pretty gutted that i won't be racing, it seems almost as if i am handing the Striped Jersey over without a fight, but i guess sometimes a fight is just not the right way to go, rather silent acceptance and destruction at the next given opportunity! So that is what i am set on, all switches flicked, every memory of racing, good and bad is there to assist me, every feeling of smashing a rutted corner, even boosting the trails and lining my moto up for the win, they are all there ready in line to be got out again, when they are needed.
I feel as though i have never been more well equipped going into a race season, (albeit i may be going into next season sooner than anyone else)
Fresh in my mind is the feeling of raw, unprocessed pain, both physically and mentally, and every fiber in my body is tuned to avoiding that at all costs, and so my motivation level, my desire to win, to feel fast, to have the most fun ever doing it all, is at an all time peak.
Some nights i just wake up and cannot sleep for the thoughts going through my head, the remembering of the feelings that i get when i race, is incredible and i try and hold onto them for as long as i can. They bounce around inside me and everything else just falls back and gives them the space to bounce, when I'm training the bad memories come flooding back and the only way i can describe it is like someone has shot concentrated, pure desire into me and I don't think i can stop until i have got what i want, what i need.
It may sound melodramatic, it may sound over the top, and it may sound self centered and selfish, which to a certain extent it is. I believe that to be a Champion you must have a certain streak of selfishness because otherwise how would you want it all and not feel bad for those you take it from (the other racers i mean)
Well I'm not ashamed to admit i want it all, the taste was tasted in 2008, and i liked it. 2009 was a bit sour, but 2010, (and let us not forget beyond!) has all the ingredients and more secret weapons than you can shake a stick at!