The Switch to Gravel

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  • By Gabby Traxler
The Switch to Gravel

My first big race at the 2015 World Championships in Richmond Virginia

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that there is a path we were all meant to follow. Most of the time this path is complicated and heartbreaking. It has felt that way for me, at least. But the only way I remained positive post-car crash was to remind myself that I am where I am meant to be. The accident left me with serious facial and leg injuries. I broke my nose, jaw, lost 4 teeth, I had 20 stitches in my mouth and suffered from a large tear in my quad. The first 6 weeks were the most challenging. I couldn’t eat. I could hardly open my mouth at all. I couldn’t see out of my left eye. I couldn’t walk. This accident hit me hard mentally. I felt low for a while. But during my recovery one thing that I never lost was my love for cycling, racing, and competing. Everyday all I thought about was how I was going to get back to my best self. During this time of recovery, I took a lot of time reflecting on what I love about cycling, why I ride, and what my goals were. The more I thought about this, the more I kept coming back to my happiest moments on the bike. These moments included long endurance rides, solo adventures, and simply being outside. A lot of what road racing required gave me a tremendous amount of anxiety and I came to a point where I thought, is it worth it anymore? I concluded that racing on the road was not what made me happy or excited. However, not racing was also never an option. I have always been interested in gravel racing. I have been following the gravel scene for a while and I am constantly inspired by pro gravel riders and how they are constantly pushing the limit of what I thought was possible. All the things that I love about riding and what I have physically excelled in, is what gravel racing is. Gravel racing requires endurance, big hours on the bike, grit, determination, and a love for constantly pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. When I think about what it takes to be a professional gravel racer, I get excited, more determined, and more motivated. Being a Privateer is likewise extremely appealing and exciting. I have always loved the idea of creating your own race program, making specific goals based on your strengths, and building close relationships with sponsors and partners. When I was racing on the road, I did not have the opportunity to build a personal brand or relationship with sponsors, but now as a Privateer I have this opportunity. I want to know more about the bike, equipment, and kit. I want to build personal relationships with my sponsors and create a team where we all have the same goal and work together to achieve it.

            This is where I circle back to everything happens for a reason. If I never got hit by the car, I would not be where I am today. I would not be embarking on this new and exciting gravel journey. I do not regret road racing, but I truly believe this is where I was always meant to be. I have never been so equally excited and motivated for a race season before. I have shifted my perspective and goals. I have made new goals, possibly bigger goals than I have ever had before. I plan on putting everything I can into being one of the best female gravel racers. I am constantly inspired and motivated by the pro women gravel racers, and I am more excited than ever to be a part of it. I am determined, motivated and refuse to give up on my goal of being one of the best female cyclists. This will not happen without hard work, dedication, support from my partners, team, family, boyfriend, and friends as well as embracing my failures and celebrating my successes in my first year of gravel.

I am excited for you to follow along with me on my gravel journey! Stay tuned for my next blog… I will be going into full detail regarding my race plans and partners for the 2024 gravel series!