May 18, 2012
Changing Priorities: Ashley Carriveau
By Sam Radetsky

After news of cancer, Ashley Carriveau, 1st place in NorCal in the Open, bowed to her doctors orders and is not competing in Regionals.
Carriveau competing in the 2011 NorCal Regional.

As the first women’s event at the NorCal Regional began, the buzz was around someone who was absent.

Ashley Carriveau, the NorCal Open winner and 8th place in the world, was missing. Carriveau dominated the NorCal Open, doing each workout Thursday mornings at 6 a.m., and garnering a win in Workout 12.3. But, as the women’s final heat paraded out, Hawaii’s Elyse Umeda was in the first lane.

In the final weeks of the Open, Carriveau learned she had cancer; never news one wants or expects to hear, but particularly bad timing for a CrossFit athlete. The 28-year-old Carriveau was on a mission. And, as with some other very strong NorCal women, that mission was to get to the CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif., this July.

But this would not be Carriveau’s year. Bowing to her doctor’s strong recommendation, she had surgery in mid April. The surgery was completely successful, but time would be extremely limited before the NorCal Regional less than a month away. No matter how strong her fighting spirit, her body was just too weak and traumatized to rehab and recovery in time for Regionals.

In Carriveau’s mind, it was a year’s effort wasted. A year of struggle and triumph snatched away. To have “all my hard work taken away is absolutely devastating,” she sighs.

But as she reflected on the heartbreak, she realized the result could have been much different. Cancer does not discriminate and to do battle with it is a feat greater even than competing in the CrossFit Games.

Competing in CrossFit is still Carriveau’s goal. Winning the NorCal Open taught her what she can do, and 2013 will be her year. “I will back next year stronger than ever,” Carriveau vows.

In the meantime, she and her husband are spending the Regional weekend enjoying a well-deserved weekend in Las Vegas. And for the first time in nearly a year, CrossFit competition will be the last thing on her mind.

But only for this weekend. Come next week, the road to recovery and the 2013 Games begins for this survivor.