Lauren Cartwright comes from a competitive family. In her first race at the Sierra Cross Country series she put in all her effort, but the day ended in crisis as Lauren crashed so hard she had to be rushed to the hospital. Currently recovering from extensive injuries, Lauren tells us her story, and her plans for ATVs in her life. It is obvious by her enthusiasm that this accident was only a speedbump and she’ll be back, chasing her passion like the rest of us.
That was my first official race. I have been riding my whole life and decided I’d give it a shot. I was in 3rd place when I wrecked so I wasn’t doing too bad. The adrenaline was amazing and one of the best feelings I’ve had in my life. When something is a passion to you, you try an give it no less than 100%. Race day to me is like Christmas morning – not much matched up to it!
How long have you been racing and what got you started? I come from a very competitive family and we race every time we ride, but as far as racing with SCCS that was my first race. I wish it ended differently but I don’t regret it for a second, and I know had I not wrecked it would have been a great show! I’ve been riding my whole life but my father worked weekends (when most races take place) until just recently. Now he has weekends off and can support me and help work on our bikes!
Tell us what you can remember that day and of your wreck. How extensive are you injuries? Well, it all happened so quickly but to make a long story short I couldn’t see very well in the dust and came in fast on a steep hill turn and somehow over-corrected. I rolled 3 times down the ravine off the course (attached to the bike) and was stopped by a tree. I was helped by the amazing members of the SCCS crew and local EMTs from our county. I have a compression fracture of my L1 vertebrae and also broke multiple ribs on my right side. Most people with these injuries are paraplegic and may never walk again. Thankfully, God was on my bike that day!
What does your recovery time look like? The accident occurred on June 9th, 2012 and I was between a trauma hospital and an acute rehab facility in Sacramento for a total of almost a month. I wear a back brace every time I stand and was told my recovery time for that would be 2-3 months! Every day is a struggle, but I’m thankful to walk and be able to ride again in the future!
What condition are you in now? I have a back brace I have to wear every time I get out of bed. I always have to have it on only when I’m not sleeping or laying down. I was in an acute rehab facility before being sent home to heal. Now, I’ve been healing and am going to he seeing a specialist hopefully next week. I will get x rays and the specialist will tell me what the next game plan is. (when I get my brace off, and when I start physical therapy) they estimated I’d be wearing this brace 2-3 months. it will be 2 months on the 9th.! wish me luck.
Do you have plans to continue racing? If you’re in a car accident, will you ever drive again? Most likely yes. When you live for a passion you don’t let accidents scare you from living your life. I will absolutely ride again and race again. There are always lessons to learn but the message I want to send to all riders is, when your knocked down pick yourself up again and give it all you got, simply because you’re alive and able to do it! Go hard or go home!
What do you think the “moral” of your story is? I guess the moral of my story is, if you fall down you gotta get back up. Yes it’s scary, but if you have a passion for something you have to accept the risks you take along with it. In racing or in any extreme sport you can’t always predict what is going to happen next. I’m going to ride again simply because I’m alive and able to.