Trapped at home by the floods, the owner of the yoga studio Abbott frequented for five years was unable to open shop, and was ultimately forced to close its doors. In the span of a weekend, Abbott had lost two vital outlets that brought her spiritual and physical calm.
“I really had to spend the last few weeks focusing, and keeping those things that sustain me in mind,” Abbott said. “I am wanting to go to worlds with the intention of honoring all of those things that brought me to where I am — those things that are currently hurting.”"
"Rather than standing up for myself and saying, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m not happy here and I’ve got to figure it out,’ I sort of said to myself, ‘Hey, maybe if I disappear, I can just get out of that without having to do all that hard thinking.’ And so, in many ways, except for the fact that it was very unhealthy and kind of emotionally challenging, it made perfect sense. It was a great idea except for the fact that it wasn’t.”
Instead of just capitulating and walking away, she sank into a self-sabotage that saw her waste away, physically, by consciously under-eating so that her veiled anorexia would slowly reduce her to a point of competitive irrelevance. Unhappy with her new team, and uncertain of her place in the sport, Abbott employed the tactic — something she likened to “body-sulking,” with characteristic, but saddening, success."
An interview/ profile of Mara Abbott - talking about her eating disorder, and how she returned to cycling to win the Giro Rosa.
That internal conflict took a hairpin turn into something harmful. Abbott slid toward anorexia in 2011 and everyone around her could see her body change and her ruddy complexion fade. Cranmer said other riders called her during the Giro Donne that year saying they feared for Abbott.
It’s not hard for Abbott to analyze that period in hindsight. An eating disorder is frequently a perverse means of exerting control, and becoming dangerously thin equated to a silent yoga pose that expressed how unhappy and stretched she felt. Despite her accomplishments, she felt as if she had drifted into the sport without ever making a full commitment, and was uneasy at the idea of being the team leader on whom so many relied.
"This wasn’t about my stomach or my psyche, it was about my voice," she said. "Everything was laid out perfectly for me. I didn’t understand why I wanted out, so I tried to find a way to get myself out. I was trying to restrict myself out of a lifestyle I wasn’t comfortable with. I couldn’t say it, so I made the shape of it, embodied it.""
Mara Abbott just won the Giro Rosa - read this Bonnie Ford piece about how she came back to cycling after time out of cycling, due to all sort of problems that culminated in an eating disorder.