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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Road to Recovery for Drew Mechielsen

When Drew Mechielsen headed into her 2016 season, she definitely did not expect it to turn out the way it did. Burdened with a persistent knee injury, she had to miss out on some key races and spent months rehabbing so she could be back in shape for the National Championships. As it turns out, her rehab process was beneficial - she's back on the bike and just recently captured the National Championship title in Calgary. When asked about the past few months, she had this to say:

"I certainly did not start my 2016 season off the way that I had planned. At the first World Cup event of the year, I had an accident in practice which resulted in a torn PCL in my left knee. I didn’t even
know at the time that that’s what I had done, I actually even got back on my bike to ride more. After the initial adrenaline wore off, I realized something was not right. 

My original plan was was to race World Cup number one in Argentina and then head directly to the second World Cup in Manchester, England. Since I didn’t have an medical imaging done in Argentina, we didn’t actually know if it was just over stretched, partially torn or fully torn. So I went to Manchester with hopes of still being able to race. When I got there I tried to ride again, it was okay but I knew something still was not right. I decided, with the help of my physiotherapist to hold off and not race that event. When I got home, I was sent for an MRI to see what was really happening in my knee and after a few weeks of waiting, I heard back that I had actually fully torn the PCL. There was some good to this though, the specialist had said that it could’ve been way worse, and I did not need any surgery! 

At this point, I was told that I was not allowed to ride and also, that I would have to miss the third World Cup of the year. I was extremely upset about missing this race. But I carried on, my physiotherapist got me a rehab program and off we went. The major rehab that is needed for this injury is to build the muscle up around the torn ligament to compensate for it. I was doing lots of body weight exercises and tons of road riding! Road riding was allowed because there was no jumping involved, riding on a BMX track was not allowed due to the unpredictable factor of the sport.

My first race back was a European round in Germany, I had been back training full time for a few weeks prior to the race. I was super excited, but also very nervous. The first day went really well! I made the main and was super happy with that. After my second race back, which was a Canada Cup event in Quebec, I decided to set my goal - to win the National Championships in Calgary, late August. Achieving this goal felt incredible. 

To anyone who may be going through an injury or for future reference, especially young athletes who want to give up. My advice to you is do not. Don’t give up, I had a lot of doubt after I injured myself and to be perfectly honest, of course I wanted to give up at times. Just know deep down that you can do it, and every athlete goes through this. And as for my future, currently I am on a plane that is taking me to Rock Hill, SC for the second to last World Cup event of the year. I’m excited and nervous to get back on the World Cup circuit! After this one I am headed to a USABMX event in Lake Perris, California that will be late in October, then to the USABMX Grand Nationals late in November. I am excited to see what the rest of the season holds for me!"

We're happy to see you back on the bike, Drew and are excited to continue working together heading into 2017!