On the last weekend of April, Macey Stewart crashed in one of her first European races as a professional cyclist. The junior TT world champion is competing with the Orica-AIS team in 2015 and she sustained some nasty abrasions but remained optimistic when it was time to post her Instagram photo after the incident. “I’m all good,” she wrote, “just had a solid hit to the head. She is one of three Tasmanians who featured on the cover of RIDE #66. Late last year, she was involved in a traffic accident while out training leaving her wounded but undeterred… cycling is very much part of her future. She won two world titles in 2014 and has big hopes for the coming years.
After her recent racing accident, RIDE sent Macey 10 questions to find out more about what happened. As you can read from her replies (below), she may have had some knocks but it doesn’t change her approach to her new profession…
RIDE: What happened?!
“I wish I knew! Because that would probably mean that I wouldn’t have hit my head as hard. Ha ha! I have no memory of the crash and none of my team-mates or team staff saw it either so it’s a bit of a mystery. I was about 85km into the race [Dwars door de Westhoek, 26 April] and about to hit the finish line, with only four short loops left. I had already crashed in the first 20km. I was forced into a ditch and through a barbed wire fence – and was, surprisingly, unharmed – earlier on but the worst part was the poison ivy on my legs and the following 20km which I spent chasing back onto the peloton by myself in the wet. It was not my most enjoyable/lucky race.”
What are your injuries?
“I have a few small bleeds on my brain, and some grazes on my face and body – all healing really well though.”
Does the crash influence how you see your new job as a professional cyclist?
“No, definitely not. Crashing is a big part of racing at this level, you have to be prepared for anything. It’s just another bump in the road that I have to push through, hopefully leading me to some more success. I’ve had my fair share of bumps along the way and they have all lead to something wonderful. I have faith that this is just one of those times.”
Was there anything you could have done to avoid it happening?
“If only I knew! Maybe pulled out after my first crash? Ha ha… but that would have been the soft option.”
Do you replay the incident or are you trying to forget it?
“You can’t replay something you don’t remember happening. The crash is forgotten! Now I’m just focusing on recovering as well as I can and getting back on my bike as soon as possible.”
How is the season going otherwise?
“The season is going well. It’s only really just started for me, this was only my fourth race in my first week of racing. But all of my racing before my crash had been positive and promising. Obviously there’s still a lot to work on but I have plenty of time and great team-mates to learn from.”
When will you be back racing?
“I have no idea. I’m going to the doctor to hopefully find out. I imagine after team training camp at the end of May.”
Will you get a chance to race for a win or are you playing the role of apprentice only?
“If I am going really well and am the team’s best option for the win then I’m sure they’d work for me. But at the moment I’m still just finding my feet in the peloton – and also finding the ground too often… ha ha! I’m also just sussing out what European pro racing is all about.”
What has been the highlight of 2015 so far?
“The highlight, achievement wise, was definitely our win in the team pursuit at the Colombia World Cup. But generally I’ve found my whole experience living and racing overseas as a highlight as it has put me out of my comfort zone and is teaching me not only about cycling but about life skills and myself as a person.”
What do you hope will be the highlight of 2015?
“I have no idea. At the moment I’m just taking everything as it comes. I have no idea what I’m capable of achieving this year or in the next few years. I’m just focusing on learning as much as I can, taking it all in and just enjoying the experience.”