When I first started this project I made a short list of women I wanted to honor by purchasing bikes for endowment through 88Bikes. Windy was the first person on that list. At the time she was just about five months into recovering from a horrific accident, where she was run over by a car. I wanted to wait a little bit longer to write about how much Windy has inspired me because at the time it felt too soon.
Most people reading this probably know about Windy’s story, but for those that don’t I’ll tell it from my perspective. I met Windy shortly after 5:30 AM one chilly morning at a Racelab track work out. She was flying around the track, literally doing circles around the rest of us. I remember asking my coach Dave who the really fast girl in the Racelab jacket was. “Oh, that’s my wife,” he beamed. After practice, during our cool down, I chatted with Windy as we slowly jogged around the track, even for a cool down I’m sure my pace was painfully slow for her, but she didn’t seem to mind. We talked about our athletic backgrounds, hers impressive and mine bleak, but she seemed genuinely interested and encouraged me. As soon as I met her I immediately admired her humility.
That was nearly five years ago. Since that time I’ve seen Windy extend the same grace and humility to countless other women on the Racelab team. Even though she’s faster than 99% of the team (including the guys) and juggles the demands of a challenging career she comes to our weekly bike ride on Wednesday nights often riding with the slowest and newest riders. Truly putting others before herself.
I remember the day we found out Windy was tragically injured, ran over by a car in the middle of a cross walk. She had broken both legs, a broken neck, damage to an artery in her neck and a minor brain injury. She was in the hospital, in a medically induced coma and the doctors were ‘cautiously optimistic.’ I remember wondering what those words even meant. Days went by and the days turned into weeks and then months and every report of Windy’s progress was awe inspiring. Windy was constantly surprising her doctors, talking sooner than expected, off of pain medication sooner than expected, walking, biking and running sooner than expected. Her recovery has been an amazing picture of what the human body is capable of. So many people commented that if Windy wasn’t in such good physical condition prior to the accident she wouldn’t have fared so well or recovered so quickly. While this may be true, I often feel comments like these belittle Windy’s hard work, determination and positive attitude.
Working with Dave as my cycling coach I felt I had a little sneak peak into Windy’s recovery, and I have never seen or heard about someone so willing to work hard and to keep pushing through pain and discomfort to overcome barriers. Shortly after Windy got home she was diligently practicing using her walker, then cane and then practicing going up and down the stairs and when resting she would play games on her iPad to exercise her mind. In all this time I never saw Windy feel sorry for herself. Her positive attitude has been so inspiring. My favorite part of Windy’s recovery story is that she did so well with her speech therapy that the doctors suggested she come back and mentor other patients that have to go through a similar recovery regimen. On top of that Windy and Dave went back to the emergency room months after she was home to personally thank the nurses that took care of Windy when she was at her worst. She even encouraged her physical therapists to sign up for their first triathlon in October (nine months after her accident) and she did it with them!
While the girl that receives a bike in Windy’s honor will never meet Windy I hope she will feel some of Windy’s spirit when she looks at her picture. Like Windy the girl that receives this bike will be on a road to recovery from a traumatic and damaging experience. It is my prayer that on her journey forward she will have a determination and never give up attitude like Windy and that she will be surrounded by humble, gracious and encouraging women like Windy along the way.
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