April 30, 2006 – Manitoba’s Erin Carter, former national champion and current National track team member, has had a recurring injury that has finally been resolved and she is now training and getting back into the racing scene. A regular contributor to Pedal we caught up with her to see how she is doing.
You are back racing, how does it feel?
Carter: I feel like a kid again, as if I was seeing and experiencing something for the first time. I love being on my bike, I love being outside, I love pushing my body, and I love feeling physically exhausted. Although I would never want to go through it all again I feel fortunate that I did. It has rejuvenated my love of sport and cycling. I believe that as people we grow and learn most through hardships, and I feel that this experience has given me a new perspective which will make me a better athlete overall.
What exactly was wrong with your leg?
EC: I had a condition called iliac artery endofibrosis in my left leg, which means a thickening of the main artery going to the leg – a condition not uncommon with cyclists. It reduced blood flow to the leg and got so bad that it made walking at a quick pace difficult. It wasn’t painful, but my leg had the sensation of just “going dead”.
How did you get it resolved?
EC: I had an angiograph (vascular surgery), which is where they take out the great saphenous vein (large subcutaneous superficial vein of the leg and thigh) and graft it onto the iliac artery to make it bigger. The human body is an incredible machine and the vein cells eventually arteriolize. The surgeon in Winnipeg was surprised at how much my iliac artery had thickened – a whopping 15cm!
What have you been doing during this break from cycling?
EC: I have had some amazing experiences, and I truly believe that opportunities arise from challenges… it’s just a matter of perspective. In the last year and a half, I have finished my BA in Enlish, and am now pursuing studies in Communications. I am in the process of making a video documentary about the establishment of the Arctic Weather Stations and last summer I spent seven weeks in Pangnirtung, Baffin Island. I have also started cross-country skiing and plan on pursuing competitive skiing during the winter. I also been able to spend quality time with my family, especially through a tough period where two family members got sick and passed awayS time I wouldn’t have been easily available if I had been racing.
Who are you racing with this year?
EC: Right now I am just getting back into it, I haven’t thought much about who to race with I just want to focus on getting back to where I was. I have not done any races other than local events.
What are your goals?
EC: To be healthy, and happy.
Good luck this season!