Trek World Racing's Willow (Koerber) Rockwell announced, today, despite her best efforts to return to the sport of mountain biking she will retire from the sport.
Rockwell planned a 2012 season comeback after taking the 2011 season off to have her daughter, Raven Starr Rockwell, however, she described the reality of the situation is nothing like she had imagined. In this past week Willow has decided, definitively, that it's time to stop racing for good and focus on her new family.
Rockwell placed 54th, 17:07 back from Maja Wloszczowska at the opening round of the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In training, after that first race, Willow says she found herself needing to be honest about being able to push herself so hard whilst also being the mother of a new-born baby.
Willow released a statement, which in part said: "After much soul searching, and many tears, I have decided to end my mountain bike racing career. I committed to racing for 2012 before having my child. There was no way I could have predicted the changes that have occurred within me. Thank you for your support during this time of intense decision and transformation. I especially thank my Team Manager Martin White ley and my team, Trek World Racing, for understanding that sometimes life has other plans. Enjoy every moment on the bicycle, for every moment adds up to create your life!"
The 34-year-old’s career in the sport can only be described as illustrious. She won two bronze medals at the World Championships, as well as numerous Continental and National Titles, and was ranked as high as No.2 in the world on the UCI rankings in 2011.
She served as an ambassador for Trek and Gary Fisher bicycles since joining the Subaru-Gary Fisher team in 2005. Rockwell, went on to join Trek World Racing at the beginning of last year, and planned a rigorous two-year stint of international racing that was to lead up to this summer’s Olympic Games.
Rockwell raced the first round of the 2012 World Cup, just 2.5 months after having her daughter, Raven Starr Rockwell
"It's true that we are sad not to see Willow racing in our team colors again, but it is equally true that we are fully supportive of her decision, and we are grateful for every day we had Willow with us on the team,” said Trek World Racing owner, Martin Whiteley. “Eternally positive and a great spirit, she will be missed not only from our family, but from mountain bike racing in general."
Willow's retirement is effective immediately and she will not appear at this weekend's World Cup event in Houffalize, Belgium or next week's Sea Otter Classic, as previously planned.
Trek World Racing has no plans to replace Willow for season 2012. Her husband Myles Rockwell continues with the team in his role as downhill rider liaison.