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Living My Best Life - Epilogue

27 July 2022

Words & Photos: Robin Pieper

An update on my big ol' Canadian adventure. You may have seen some IG snaps of X-ray machines, waterfalls and not much biking. Here's the behind the social platform story.

I broke my collarbone 10 days into the Great North American Enduro World Series dream. The initial ED consultation was quite straightforward. They sent me home to rest up under a standard 6 week bone healing protocol. This didn't seem too bad - it was early enough in the trip that I would be healed up before the big EWS job in August.

I asked "are you sure?", twice - emphasising my intent on racing some World Series Races and working as a bike instructor. They responded "in that case, perhaps an orthopaedic opinion might be worthwhile". Ortho called a week later and lined me up for a second X-ray. That looked significantly worse than the initial image and she (the specialist) said quite bluntly that there was no hope of it knitting together by itself. In a rapid half hour, she booked me in for bone graft surgery the following week. My simple broken collarbone suddenly turned into quite the ordeal and was forecast to keep me off the bike for a minimum of 3 months, a timeline that took me far past those EWS startlines. Motivation to stay in Canada quickly dissipated.

My boyfriend Will hadn't even arrived in Canada at this point. He was busy sunning himself and riding the Colorado mountains while I went under at the Squamish operating theatre and woke up with a very sore wing. He arrived a few days later. There followed a couple of weeks of post-surgery recovery for me, Whistler laps for Will.

While waiting for travel insurance and flights home to be sorted, we dabbled in some hiking, a quest to find British Colombia's best coffee (many attempts; a few surprise successes!) and an eventful day/night in Vancouver with 2 x flat phones, no transport and no accommodation booked (it all worked out eventually).

On rose-tinted reflection, I'm really grateful for the racing in the first round of the Canadian Enduro Series at Harper Mountain in Kamloops. It was a brilliant weekend - meeting the scene, riding in a new place and racing on unfamiliar terrain against an unfamiliar field. Was stoked to bring home a competitive 5th against the Canadians and gain that experience. A real shame I couldn't build on that in the next four rounds, and then give it a nudge in the three North American EWS rounds, but it is what it is.

Early last week we scored a couple of cancellation seats and hightailed back to Kiwi paradise. I'm writing this while sunning myself in a pseudo Abel Tasman summer at Kaiteriteri (the forecast is for rain tomorrow so who am I kidding) and pondering my next move.

My crystal ball for the next few months is clouded with collarbone rehab, beer tasting, wintery walks and some West Coast time. I'm happy enough to play the hand I've been dealt, refocus on the NZ season and build up for another shot at the overseas dream next year.