At The Bloom BMX, there is nothing we understand more than prioritizing your mental health. After two decades of racing, Danish BMX Racer, European Champion, and Olympian, Simone Christensen; will be retiring from high-level competitive racing. Simone writes:
“This is the most emotional thing I’d have to write in my whole life: I’ve decided to retire from BMX Racing 9 After spending 8 months in a lot of mental pain, not really knowing what to do with myself, I now know this is the best decision for myself. It doesn’t make it any easier because of that tho!
Ever since the Olympics I’ve tried to do everything I possibly could to get better mentally and just be happy, but nearly every time I’ve had to do some kind of training for BMX it has been such a struggle. The understanding I’ve had from the Danish Cycling Federation, as well as my coach Klaus, has been amazing, and they’ve really tried to help me get back. I’ve slowly started training again since the beginning of January, but it’s still been on my terms, which has meant only a few sessions a week maximum. Then I spend 5 weeks working at the hospital, and straight after that, I went with the national team to Verona on a training camp. That week I trained more ever since before the Olympics, and being on and off the track with them was such a joy! I did still struggle for a few days, but their vibe spread and it made me get through even the sessions I didn’t want to do.
Even before going on this trip, I knew this would be the trip that would help me make the final decision on whether or not I would continue with BMX on a high level. And on Tuesday the 29th I was at the track, sun shining, weather was perfect, brand new bike and brand new kit. And I just cried because I didn’t wanna ride. After 10 minutes. This has happened to me so many times in these past months, but all these other times I’ve managed to pull myself together and just get through it thinking “soon you’ll be traveling and doing what you love in some good weather with good people”. But even this didn’t change the fact that I just have other things I rather wanna do than to spend all this time and energy on BMX. A few months ago I kind of hated BMX, but after these last few months and especially that week in Verona, I’m back to loving BMX just as much as I did when I was a little kid. Just not enough to continue. During the week spent in Verona I showed myself that I still know how to ride my bike (I was actually going pretty fast (a) and that was also very important for me; retiring on a level I can be proud of.
I’ve trained sooo much ever since I was 14 years old and at the same time I’ve made it through school, college as well as getting a Bachelor in Medicine. In these 8 months, I haven’t thought about what I’ve archived in BMX, because I always felt like there was more. But that Tuesday I started thinking about it, and I’m so proud of myself for achieving the results I have, but even more the name I’ve made in both BMX in Denmark and internationally as well as the name I’ve made in Danish Sports in general. What I’ve “done” for Danish BMX without really doing anything else but ride my bike is amazing to see, with what kind of opportunities the upcoming BMX riders have in Denmark compared to what I grew up with. The sport has surely changed and it’s been an honour to be part of.
The people I’ve met are also greater than any result. So many amazing and awesome people from all over the world, both riders, coaches, sponsors, mechanics, people from the different federations, helpers, doctors, and in general just all these people that spend so much of their time traveling around the world because we love to ride our bikes. Of course, also all the people that have helped me become a better athlete outside of the BMX environment, such as sports psychiatrists, physios, dietitians etc. I’m also so happy to have met so many great danish athletes from other sports and proud to call them my friends.
This sport has brought me euphoria and it has brought me misery. It has shown me how great life can be and how damn hard you sometimes have to work to achieve your goals. Even with really big bumps on the way. But most of all it has made me who I am, and I couldn’t imagine a life without BMX. 20 years of my life I’ve spent on this little bike, I even got the chance to enjoy it with my brother and family in many years before traveling with the national team. I’ve even lived in another country because of it! There’s so many special memories I’ll take with me, and they are all so special to me!
I could go on and on, but what’s most important for me is to say; THANK YOU to every single person that has been part of this amazing journey.”
We wish Simone all the best!
Photo by Naoki Gaman of Simone at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.