Cycling the Road to Recovery

If you have ever seen Olympic hopeful Dotsie Bausch racing in competition, you would believe she was born knowing how to ride a bicycle.  She demonstrates a nearly flawless juxtaposition of grace and power as she pedals her way through some of the toughest road racing courses in the world. It is hard to imagine that only 15 years ago, she faced a challenge even more difficult than winning a gold medal—anorexia.

ImageThough she doesn’t remember exactly when her symptoms started, she does recognize that her indecisive career path ignited a need for control of her life. This desire led the 5’9” part-time model to restrict her daily intake of food. The skinnier she became, the more modeling jobs she got. The more jobs she got, the better she felt. She struggled for years to commit to treatment, but nothing ever clicked.  At her lowest weight, she finally met a therapist whose perspectives and ideas matched her needs. At this point, her life began to turn around.

She explains that one of the most difficult parts of therapy was the restriction on exercise. As a trained cross-country runner, she missed physical activity, but she understood the importance of finding a new daily routine. After a few years of consistent improvements, she and her therapist made an agreement: if she was going to exercise again, she had to try something completely new. Enter cycling.

Over the past few years, Dotsie has risen from a novice rider to one of the strongest cyclists in the world. Though she motivates all athletes who want to reach the Olympic games, she is an even larger inspiration to men and women struggling with eating disorders. She consistently reaches out to girls who need a role model for recovery, and she spends free time speaking at eating disorder conferences. Numerous girls have identified their calls and visits with Dotsie as the main inspiration on their road to recovery.

Will Dotsie bike forever? According to her, probably not. She looks forward to the years ahead of volunteering for eating disorder awareness organizations. She hopes to use her personal experiences to inspire even more individuals to overcome this mental illness and achieve their personal goals.

As we tune in to watch her this weekend (August 4th on NBC!), we can only hope that this inspiring woman will take home a medal in honor of her country, her town, and her long, cycling road to recovery.

To read more about Dotsie Bausch, click here. 

By: Lauren Janson