September 5, 2016

Hi, my name is

My name is Gayna Hansen & I'm a 44yo. I'm married to Kris and we have two beautiful children Abby 12, and Alex 9. I’m a Mental Health Therapist who works  from home for United Health Care as a specialist on their Autism Care Team. And, I am a cyclist who also likes to race my bicycle. I ride for the camaraderie & friendships, to push my body & mind past limitations, to be an example for my kids, and because I love to eat!

On 3/15/16 at 5:30am, I got up to go on my regular training ride like any other day of the week but that time I didn't come home. I was hit by a car about 5 min from my home. The crash report said my body “flew into the air, made contact with the hood, hit the windshield & came to rest on the pavement.” So many people ask me if it hurt & I honestly did not feel a thing. I woke up on the ground & my first thought was “ah crap.”

Instead of coming home like every other training ride it was my husband Kris who got the phone call. My whole family & my training partner all dropped what they were doing to help me.
Today, almost 6 mo after the accident, I still think of it daily.
I ride the same road I got hit on every morning & occasionally I look over my shoulder. I can feel the impact in my ankle with every step & have other lingering issues. “I just didn't see her,”says the driver. To this, I'm a bit speechless.

Although I truly believe, every experience molds us for what's down the line, the biggies like this do have their losses associated with them. In the OR, I asked if I could still make my race in 3 wks. They laughed at me. The biggest impact was not my ankle, or my bike-although that was super painful, but knowing that my family is scared when I ride and how many family things I have missed in the last few months due to medical issues. Do you know the leprechauns missed our house this year?? Mom was in the trauma unit (wink). To this day my family is still scare of me riding.

 I am a crazy cyclist that loves pain & still chooses  to ride, despite the danger, because this sport & everyone associated with it has given me so much.  I never lose motivation to train because I love how it makes me feel. Being hit by a car didn't tarnish that. For me, letting go of something you love for fear of possible death brings on a living one really. So just like a light switch, I turn the fear off.
As a driver, I can say the repercussions of an accident like this are so pervasive for both the victim & driver-emotional, medical, financial, legal, occupational, and more. In an instant of poor focus or impatience  everything changes. My foot was pretty much ripped off. I had 3 stitches in my head & I have trauma to my upper back. Three months of greatly reduced activity & I'm still struggling to get my power & cardio levels back where they were. Mind you, my recovery was at a God given & supercharged pace. The ankle is still messed up but I make it keep up with me. I'll do my first race on Labor Day-a 40k TT- with the help & support of my coach Patrick Sansbury & KBS Race Team & of course my family & friends. It will be a true test of my recovery.
    So the next time you're approaching a cyclist on the road, try to remember that it could be someone you know on that bike. Be aware & give wide clearance. We all have things in life we are passionate about. Let's work together to make it safer for cyclists to pursue their passion so they return home from every ride.