Triathlon Magazine Canada
Skye Moench’s Double Comeback
Canadian-born Skye Moench has made an amazing comeback to racing after a horrendous bike crash sidelined her in the fall of 2019 – almost a year in the making, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s definitely on a roll, though, as she powers toward Kona in October.
almost nothing from that day: Sept. 24, 2019. The same canyon route near her home in Salt Lake City. The same descent. Just a routine training ride with her usual partner. And then, a stranger stands over her as she struggles to sit up. Reality sets in while lying in a hospital bed in the emergency room: Skye Moench will not be toeing the line at Kona after beating a top field at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt to qualify. Her elbow and thumb were shattered. She could barely move.
For more than six months, through multiple surgeries and endless physical therapy, a single driving mantra: “I’m going to recover SO HARD to race in 2020.”
We all know what happened next: a whole triathlon season wiped out for everyone. Now, we’re all mounting our own comebacks from a global pandemic.
And what of Skye Moench’s could-have-been epic comeback from a horrific crash? “I would rather crash my bike and break three bones again than have to go through COVID again.”
“Obviously, the crash was devastating, and not going to Kona really sucked for my career and all the momentum I had,” she says. “But mentally there was such a plan: I’d have this surgery, then this PT for X number of weeks, and as soon as my bones heal, I can run. All those benchmarks kept me going. I hauled through that recovery with so much positivity.”
Set for a comeback at 2020 Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, Moench watched with the rest of us as races dropped from the calendar, as so many got sick, so many died. The “crash comeback” story faded as 2021 began to look like a comeback year for all of us, from the collective ongoing pandemic catastrophe. COVID had cancelled her comeback.
Flash forward to what became the unofficial 2021 season opener: Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston. Moench broke the tape more than a minute ahead of the field. Crash comeback, COVID comeback: conquered. Moench commented that the first thing she noticed in her finish-line photo was her elbow – now permanently bent as a result of the crash. Six weeks later, Moench backed up the Texas victory with a strong third-place showing in a stacked field at Ironman Tulsa.