After nine years on the race circuit, New Zealand's Scarlett Hagen announced her retirement from downhill mountain bike racing. Just 21, a burnt-out Hagen brought her career an end that suprised some. Hagen's final event will be the Brake Burner on her home track this weekend.
"I can't really race at 100% any more, so I've basically decided to give up," Hagen told the Otago Daily Times. "I've had a totally awesome nine years. I've loved it, and I still like riding bikes. But I don't want to race at the top level any more. It's just time for a change. I need to find motivation for something else."
Hagen won her first national title at age 12 and was a junior world champion at age 16. Along the way, she suffered two compound fractures, 12 other broken bones, three dislocations and a half-dozen concussions. She said that while her body could still take the abuse of the sport, she had achieved as much as she wanted within the sport.
Hagen is pursuing studies in physical education at the University of Otago and may consider coaching in the future. She now works part-time as a personal trainer.
Hagen ended the 2008 season ranked 17th in the UCI World Cup downhill standings.