She channelled frustration from agonizing pain into determination.
So imagine what being found unconscious did to Shanda Hill’s resolve.
The Vernon ultra athlete was cleared medically to resume competing in the 2023 Double Deca Triathlon in San Felipe, Mexico, hours after being found unconscious in a ditch on the side of the cycling route by a fellow competitor.
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Hill’s emotions ran high as she contemplated dropping out of the event due to excruciating pain. However, instead of giving in to despair, Hill mounted her bike and got back to work. By early Wednesday evening, she had surpassed Germany’s Heide Lindemann and Italy’s Giorgio Alessi. She felt “fierce as a lioness,” her support crew said on social media Thursday, as she began to hunt down Germany’s Ronny Roessler to try and take the race lead from him.
At approximately 8:30 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, it was Lindemann, biking through the night, who spotted Hill lying unconscious in a ditch about 20 feet from the roadway, her bike resting on top of her.
Lindemann took a photo after removing the bike to help document the situation. Hill suffered only minor scrapes and bruises, and there were no signs of head impact or damage to her helmet.
“Shanda explained that she typically rode in the centre of the road. However, as a car passed her, she shifted to the right side of the road,” said her support crew. “A bug found its way into her eye during the maneuver, distracting her.
“The next thing she knew, she had woke up in the ditch.”
A crew member named Jade, who is a professional nurse practitioner, pulled Hill off the course for observation in case of a potential concussion.
“Shanda thinks after she crashed, her body just went to sleep,” said the crew.
She wanted to get back on the bike right away, but Hill required close monitoring to ensure there was no concussion. Her hip and shoulder bore painful bruises from the fall, but Hill’s determine remained unshaken.
At daylight Thursday, and after being cleared medically, Hill was back on her bike.
She has covered more than 475 kilometres out of 3,600 in the bike discipline and sits in second place overall in the race.