Where did I get the inspiration to write When SHMACK Happens? I hit the wall, and I hit it HARD!! My life, my goals, and my next steps were redirected in a span of a few seconds. Prior to impact, I was on target to win that huge race at The Tour of California, and I was plotting ahead to more cycling goals, maybe even the 2016 Olympic Games. After the impact, I laid on the pavement while my body screamed at me because it hurt… SEVERELY. Blood poured out of my nose and other parts of me. I was scared and messed up. But I was awake, and I could move.
In the midst of the pain and fear that filled me on the side of the road and then in the ambulance, I clung to Jesus. I didn’t understand why or what had just happened. I didn’t want to be headed to a trauma center, and I definitely didn’t want to have my dreams cut short by another obstacle. But I clung. And He filled me with His strength.
Honestly, it was a miracle to walk away, and a miracle how fast I recovered. But even more incredible was that in the aftermath of the crash, I had a peace and a stillness of spirit that was beyond me. I was very limited to what I could do. Simply moving was difficult for a few weeks. However, in spite of the physical trauma I was dealing with, my mind was incredibly clear and crisp, and my heart was not anxious.
I began to think about writing my story, and then God began to pound on my heart “write the story that I have written into your life.” I had always wanted to write a book, but I had never felt the inspiration to do it until the initial days after the crash. Although there was a definite tug on my heart to write, I still continued to doubt that I could do it. I also wasn’t completely convinced I was hearing God accurately, and I only wanted to embark on the journey with His help. So for two weeks, I prayed often about the idea.
Finally, or desperately, after two weeks of talking to God about everything, I prayed a Gideon like prayer at 5AM. I know it was 5AM, because I remember checking my phone before getting up to use the bathroom. My prayer when I laid back down was, “God, if I am hearing you correctly, have Jenna Sampson email me.” Jenna had written some articles about me for Sports Spectrum, and she would occasionally check on me. She had promised almost 7 years prior that she would help me write if I ever wanted to. I hadn’t heard from her in almost a year, but when I got out of bed that same morning, I had an email from Jenna arriving at 5:16AM. Confirmed. I needed to write.
And yes, I needed to write! There was no way a ghost writer or another author could truly understand my journey or share those intimate lessons I had learned as I had been walking, struggling, or standing firm in Christ through all the storms. So I met with Jenna, who agreed to act as my editor, I started praying for words and eloquence, and I embarked on writing WHEN SHMACK HAPPENS.
Link to crash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z_6qDX_Yh8
About the book:
Have you ever been through a hard time in life? Ever wondered why bad things happen? Amber Neben has you covered. The 2x Olympic cyclist for Team USA knows a thing or two about shmack- her word for describing adversity that comes our way in life. Follow Amber’s journey as she overcomes major obstacles both on and off the bike-and encourages you to join her in developing the perseverance, patience, perspective, and power than only Christ can give us. Very few people may know or understand what road cycling is, but everyone knows what it means to be an Olympian. The champion road cyclist chronicles her disappointments and failures, as well as amazing comebacks and victories-while thrilling audiences along the way with gripping stories of faith and hope. After reading When Shmack Happens, you’ll feel equipped and encouraged to face life’s tough moments, and find yourself cheering for Amber to get back on the bike…one more time. Learn what it means to be a spiritual champion in God’s eyes.
Book website: www.whenshmackhappens.com
Amazon UK and Amazon EU
Amber Neben is a decorated international road cyclist with victories in 11 countries and multiple UCI Category 1 stage race wins. She is a 2x Olympian, 2x World Champion, 2x Pan American Champion and 2x National Champion. She holds a B.S. from The University of Nebraska and an M.S. from UC Irvine. Amber and her husband, Jason, reside in Lake Forest, CA. For information on speaking engagements or coaching visit amberneben.com.