Parkite mountain bike racer recovering following devastating injury
Olympian mountain biker Haley Batten forced to miss world championships with a concussion
Park City native and Olympian mountain biker Haley Batten is laying low and slowly recovering, after a concussion suffered in mid-June derailed her competitive season and left her unable to compete in the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) World Championships, which will be held next month in Glasglow, Scotland.
Batten suffered a seemingly short-term injury at the UCI’s third cross country World Cup of the year in Leogang, Austria, where she took a face-first dive off her bike, also injuring her hand in the process. She had previously suffered a concussion a year ago and was expecting another week-long recovery process; however, this one proved to be anything but.
Batten recalled having raced her cross-country event the day after the big spill, where she was feeling the heat and conditions, which turned out to be a byproduct of her head injury. Once her recovery process began to extend well into July, she realized it was time to slow things down and think about the possibility of having to miss the world championships.
Batten said it felt like any attempted training was taking one step forward just to take two right back. “At some point I got deep into mid-July and I wasn’t recovering,” she said. “It didn’t make sense to rush my recovery when I wasn’t making any big breakthroughs yet.”
Batten will now shift her focus toward the sixth World Cup event, in September, as a potential return date to competition. It will be held in Les Portes du Soleil, France, the country where Batten has been spending her year thus far, conducting her training. While she has ridden trails all across the world, Batten still considers Park City’s as some of her favorites.
France is also where Batten will look to make her second Olympic appearance next year, as she finished 9th in cross country mountain biking at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She feels that despite finishing minutes away from a podium spot during the summer of 2021, she absolutely has what it takes to etch her name into the history books come Paris 2024.
“Since I was a young girl, I’ve always dreamed of getting a medal at the Olympics,” Batten told The Park Record recently. “I think I’m in touch with what it would take to be the best in the world that day.”
Batten first realized her dreams of going pro when she was 14. Her dad and brother, both avid cyclists at the time, were instrumental in spurring her interesting in the sport. She completed her first race at 9, and won her first national championship five years later.
As for her hometown’s influence, Batten said Park City’s cycling community helped her grow. She touched upon the vast amount of riders and trails as contributing factors.
“No doubt, Park City was fundamental to the athlete I am today,” she said. She grew up pushing herself alongside her dad, brother and a variety of other male riders that call the area home.
And she had some advice for aspiring riders: “Go ride your bike as much as possible,” she said. “Something that’s special about mountain biking is taking the risk and seeing the rewards from it.”
Senior signalcaller Bracken Lassche led the charge in this one, throwing for five touchdowns, three to senior wideout Stratton Stevens and two to fellow senior Mitchel Gempeler.
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