Race Anecdotes: The Bear After A Two-Year Hiatus

Jessica McWhirt
17 min readApr 7, 2022

32 months ago, I ended my race season with the realization (and acceptance) that I’d never become a pro cyclist. And after all the bullshit that came with 2019, I thought, good riddance. Life was really fucking hard in 2019.

I remember telling Brittney that I was happy racing was canceled. It became toxic, a thing I stopped looking forward to. The loneliness of showing up to a race by myself, racing alone, and leaving solo sucked. What it most likely was was burnout. In 2019, I raced at least 14 times with the goal of catting up to a 2 for Road racing.

I was glad to put it all behind me with new opportunities in 2020. I joined a mountain biking team, RaceCo, with the goal of becoming a better mountain biker — and then COVID hit. I started racing on Zwift more to itch that competitive scratch, but I didn’t miss IRL road racing. Instead, I focused on having fun on bike rides with the goal of getting faster to keep up with my fast friends (ahem, Marc, Michael, Kevin, Jackky, Chris, etc…).

Then in 2021, because events were still sus, I didn’t hold myself too hard to races. I ended up joining a second team, Flow Formulas, to race road with some very cool women. So, there I was, on three teams: The Bikery (formerly RaceCo), Flow Formulas, and Revolution Velo Racing (for Zwift).

At the beginning of 2021, I started feeling more off than usual. I was constantly tired. It didn’t matter how much sleep I got, how much coffee I drank, I needed a nap and more coffee and could barely make it through my workouts. I still had the headaches. I’ve had a headache from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed every day for the past 18 years. But then there was this extra dizziness that’d randomly hit me throughout the day. I’d have to hold on to my desk because it’d hit me so hard.

I went to the doctor for blood tests, sleep tests, and more doctor referrals. In April of last year, I was sitting in the back of Kelly’s car when I was hit with severe motion sickness. I didn’t barf, but I felt like I was going to. And for five days, I felt nauseous, dizzy, and headachey. I couldn’t move too much because it’d make the nausea worse.

I kept getting worse and I knew I couldn’t train for and compete in the Leadville 100. I had to drop out of…