Ultra-distance rider Ana Orenz suffers devastating injuries after crash on descent during 3,500km race

Ana was riding down hill at full speed when she hit a wild boar, suffering a broken neck in the fall

Ana Orenz suffered life-threatening injuries in a crash
(Image credit: Ana Orenz)

Ultra-distance rider Ana Orenz has suffered devastating injuries in a crash during aa 3,500km  race.

Ana, who was born in Germany have lived across Europe, was competing in the unsupported ultra-distance race Transiberica when she fell on a descent, suffering life-threatening damage to her neck and spine. 

On Saturday night (August 21), Ana was descending at full speed on when she hit a wild boar and was thrown from her bike, leaving her unconscious with severe head trauma. 

Unable to move or call for help, Ana lay at the side of the road for two hours, an hour of which she was unconscious, before she was found by two other race competitors. She was then transferred to hospital in Pamplona, Spain, where she is undergoing treatment. 

The single mum-of-one was lucky to survive the crash, having broken her neck and suffering severe bruising to her spinal column, and fortunately has already regained almost full arm movement and some leg movement, but experts believe she may not be able to stand by herself for a year. 

Friends have now set up a fundraising campaign to support Ana during her recovery, as she faces a long spell away from work and is likely to need physical therapy. 

Rufus Exton, who set up the GoFundMe page, said: “For those of you who don’t know Ana, not only is she a committed, proud and loving single mother to Ruby she is also a formidable ultra endurance cyclist. Relatively new to the sport, she has been the first female finisher in virtually every race she has entered.

"Of course we dream that Ana will ride again, that she will win another race, but our reality today is that Ana’s goals are to sit up, to walk, to go home and to relearn the basics of life that we take for granted. She faces many months off work and the donations we ask for will go towards her physical therapy and allowing her time to rest and recuperate, to be looked after for once. We will provide a full breakdown of costings once we have them from the different palliative teams.” 

You can view the GoFundMe page here. 

So far the fundraising campaign has reached more than €20,000 (£17,000) from 500 donors, but there is still a long way to go to the €50,000 target. 

Transiberica is a brutally demanding ultra-distance race across the mountainous Iberian Peninsula in the southwest corner of Europe, starting and finishing in the Basque city of Bilbao, with an average distance of 3,300km for competitors.  

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Earlier this year Ana, who now lives in Spain, shared her journey into ultra-distance racing with Cycling Weekly, including how she was the fastest woman in the 2017 Transatlantic, her debut event.  

Ana's daughter Ruby will be posting updates from her recovery on Instagram. 

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.