Victoria’s Annie Ewart on the road to recovery


Story by Annie Ewart – Photos courtesy of Annie Ewart

June 8, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Everything happens for a reason, or at least that’s what my mother has always told me; but when something unfortunate or unplanned takes place, you begin to wonder.

I am at home right now with a shattered shoulder blade and a broken shoulder joint. I’ve had 2 surgeries; lots of new metal inserted, and I will have a permanent #7 on my back from the surgical scar (I guess this will become my new lucky number!).

Rewind to a month ago and I would have told you I was feeling pretty darn good on the bike. Early on in the season I had recovered from strep throat, returned to training and spent three weeks at altitude in Boulder. I had competed for Canada at the 2013 Pan American Road Championships in Mexico – where I finished 4th in the time trials. I was feeling strong on the bike and knew it was just the beginning of building up to peak form for the rest of the season.

Photo courtesy of Annie Ewart

Following Pan Ams I flew to St. Louis to meet up with my team to compete in the annual Tour De Grove. Friday night was the first of three criteriums. The race started off well and I took an early lead off the front winning a prime. About twenty minutes into the race I was brought back to the group, then a lap or two later, BOOM! I was into the barriers and then on the ground, and I knew it wasn’t good. This ended any hope of finishing off the weekend, and racing at the Gatineau Grand Prix the following weekend.

Photo courtesy of Annie Ewart

In St Louis they operated immediately to deal with the deep wound on my shoulder, leaving me overnight in hospital. Thirty six hours later I was back home and sitting with a shoulder surgeon in Victoria. Instead of getting good news the news was getting worse… the surgeon had told me the injury was serious; my shoulder would need to be reconstructed, and rehab would take some time. As you can imagine, that forecast did not sit well with my thinking or fit into my future plans. A few days later after four hours of surgery, the pieces were reconnected, put back together, and my recovery began.

Yes, I have had my moments of being down, but then everything was put into perspective when I received a call from Rick Hansen. Rick started off by asking how I was doing and encouraged me to keep my chin up; to be thankful for small blessings, and to use this unforeseen time to work on the performance gaps that take a back seat when you are busy in your racing schedule. He then went on to tell me he had just had a visit with a girl that was a year younger than me.  She was in hospital with terminal cancer, and had been given one year to live. As if that wasn’t tough enough, I was also told the girls mother was facing terminal cancer at the same time.

If that story doesn’t stop you from feeling sorry for yourself, I don’t know what does. Their story really put things in perspective for me. Yes, I have a few broken bones but they will heal – terminal cancer is something that does not. I have nothing to feel sorry about – I know that I will be back competing and enjoying the thrill of cycling as soon as my recovery allows.

Photo courtesy of Annie Ewart

So here I am two weeks post surgery #2: no sling (off the bike), back on the bike, and motivated more than ever. I have nothing to be down about. I have an amazing family, wonderful friends, I couldn’t ask for a better and more supportive cycling team, and of course all the medical people that put me back together and are helping me everyday with recovery and rehab.

Hopefully by my next post I will have started to uncover the silver lining from this speed bump on my journey. Onwards and up!

Annie Ewart Bio

Annie hails from Victoria, BC and currently races for Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. Since starting her competitive road cycling career in 2007, she has achieved tremendous results including Silver U23 at the Time Trial National Championships in 2012 as well as Junior National Road, and Time Trial Champion in 2011.