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Home » The Privilege of a Broken Heart: Mara Abbott (Transcript)

The Privilege of a Broken Heart: Mara Abbott (Transcript)

Mara Abbott at TEDxBoulder

Full text of cyclist Mara Abbott’s talk: The Privilege of a Broken Heart at TEDxBoulder 2016 conference

Notable quote from this talk: 

“No one else gets to decide what is or is not enough for you.”

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Mara Abbott – Cyclist

About a month and a half ago, I stood clad in American flag spandex on the beach in Copacabana. Unfortunately, I was completely nauseous.

This was possibly because I also happened to be standing on the start line of the road race at the Olympic Games this summer, so I was a little bit nervous.

Now before you guys get any wrong ideas, I never started cycling because I loved the feeling of the wind in my hair or the freedom of the open road. I became a cyclist because I loved competition, elite competition, and this was my avenue to being the best in the world.

I had also decided that this road race in Rio would be the poetic finale to my career, so therefore also my last chance to embody that greatness.

Well, they said that the course that day had a little something for everyone. Now what that actually means is that it had some aspect that was going to be genuinely terrifying to each and every one of us. It began with cobblestones.

Now, routing a race across cobblestones is one of the hallowed traditions of cycling. It is not one of my favorites. As a rather small rider, hitting a cobble at speed is pretty similar to being the little kid on the wrong end of the Seesaw.

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