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mental health and mountain bike racing

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psychological well being and mountain bike racing

On the finish of 2017, Yana Belomoina had the world at her ft. A World Cup champion at simply 24 years previous, the years since then haven’t been the simplest. Her racing has been restricted resulting from accidents: she’s had three surgical procedures and with the lengthy restoration occasions wanted she’s needed to miss necessary races.

The Ukrainian athlete marched away with the World Cup total title in 2017 in dominant vogue having received three races in Albstadt, Vallnord and Mont Sainte-Anne, and podiumed in three of the opposite races through the season. She additionally took the European Championship crown that 12 months.

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Unhealthy luck with accidents then appeared to observe her round from that time onwards, and the toll of these accidents started to have an effect on her psychological state.

“I had a really profitable [2017] season adopted by a streak of dangerous luck in my sports activities profession. First, there was a fall on the 2017 World Championship, which resulted in a concussion. And after returning to Ukraine, I fell as soon as once more whereas coaching on my bike. Though the autumn was not critical, I couldn’t stand up afterwards. Because it turned out, I broke my hip on account of the autumn.

“The docs mentioned that I might not be capable of trip my bike for half a 12 months, however I didn’t need to consider them. It was solely the day earlier than that my legs had been the quickest on the earth, and that day I used to be advised that I might not be capable of trip a motorbike for six months. Furthermore, the docs weren’t even positive whether or not I might be capable of get again to the very best degree in any respect,” Belomoina recollects.

Belomonia felt nearly unbeatable when the 2017 season ended

© Bartek Wolinski/Pink Bull Media Home

And so started a protracted restoration course of going into the 2018 season. Belomoina missed out on regular winter coaching by way of being on the bike, however the hardest half was nonetheless to come back.

“The restoration from a hip fracture was very tough and painful, and I needed to stroll with crutches for a fairly very long time. However my want to get again to the beginning was so robust that regardless of being on crutches, I used to be going to the health club, swimming pool and was exercising on an train bike.”

Getting again to actual coaching and races was even tougher. I missed my winter coaching, which was important for the entire season, and I additionally misplaced my muscle tone and energy in a single leg. A bit later, all this precipitated issues with my again and knees – all the things is interconnected within the physique. As my workload elevated, my lack of kind made its presence identified.”

Belomoina misplaced none of her technical abilities whereas out of motion

© Bartek Wolinski/Pink Bull Content material Pool

However regardless of all the issues, Belomoina solely missed the primary World Cup of 2018, and was on the beginning line for Spherical 2 in Albstadt, Germany. Her return was spectacular, and she or he positioned second, with solely Jolanda Neff forward of her.

“Though I didn’t regain my muscle energy and tone, the abilities I had been growing over time allowed me to make a fast return in 2018. And much more, these abilities had been sufficient to make it to the podiums within the World Cup.”

The feelings that flowed from Belomoina at Albstadt had been comprehensible

© Bartek Wolinski/Pink Bull Content material Pool

However whereas her efficiency was glorious, a psychological barrier remained: worry of failing to carry out to her fullest capabilities, worry of crashing, worry of ache.

“I had a worry of falling once more, since I suffered ache all 12 months lengthy till the plate was pulled out of my hip. I used to be at all times considering, ‘What if I fall once more?’ ‘What if I danger driving a motorbike, regardless that the docs warned me to not resume lively coaching for half a 12 months?’

“I used to be chasing these ideas away. I attempted to assume solely constructive ideas, however destructive ideas had been coming again on occasion. At the moment, my household and associates who believed in me had been my assist. My husband, Maksym, was at all times by my aspect; he didn’t let me doubt myself, and this assist helped me to regain self-confidence and let go of my fears.”

Each harm is a problem that makes you stronger

Yana Belomoina poses for a portrait at Red Bull Ukraine Athletes Day in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 4, 2019.

Yana Belomoina

Mountain Bike Cross-Nation

Overcoming these fears fully was essential for Belomoina to have the ability to compete on the highest degree in biking.

“I realised just one factor: both I hold going or give up. There should be a number of hardships and trauma forward, however crucial factor is to have the ability to deal with them. Each harm is a problem that makes you stronger.”

It is all about taking issues in her stride now

© Jan Kasl/Pink Bull Content material Pool

“One of many essential issues that ladies have is worry. That is particularly apparent in MTB, since this sport requires abilities and is somewhat harmful. And the one manner out is to work on technical abilities and overcome your worry.”

Belomoina is aware of accidents will come, however she is aware of she has the power to cope with the psychological stress of harm and restoration a lot better now.

“I’ve fallen once more throughout a race and damaged my arm. We needed to get a plate positioned within the bone. However I can say for positive that it was a lot simpler for me to deal with the trauma emotionally.”

Belomoina is trying ahead to extra moments like these

© Boris Beyer/Pink Bull Content material Pool

In 2019, Yana Belomoina returned to the rostrum of the European Championship, the place she received silver and acquired to the rostrum of the World Cup twice. Though she needed to miss the World Championship, the final time Belomoina rode and completed the Championship was again in 2016.

Belomoina is set to not give up till she achieves her targets. Whereas her authentic plans for 2020 – the Tokyo Olympics – have been rescheduled for one 12 months, and with World Cup races additionally cancelled bar Nové Město, Belomoina continues to coach onerous and hold match. When the time involves race, she’ll be prepared.


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