Over the past few days i’ve had a lot of time to think about my journey. my long term journey and my journey on the half iron trail. i have found that although i have overcome so many of my fears from the past, that I still have such a long way to go. thursday afternoon, for instance, i had planned to ride my bike outside. now i’ve ridden my bike outside before, i’ve even ridden it clipped in. but i was convinced that i hadn’t actually been clipped in since i didn’t fall. i was also convinced that i was going to fall off my bike and break my arm or leg or both. my coach had said she would ride with me, so i was feeling confident that i wouldn’t be alone when i broke all the bones in my body. the day was gorgeous. i was nervous but looking forward to it. then…kate called and was having an awful day and just couldn’t come ride. i knew that i had to swallow my own issues and be forgiving. i was frozen in fear. i literally just sat there and cried. i didn’t want to go. but i knew i had to. i had a 3 hour ride planned in gloucester on sunday. i had to get out on the road before then. so i brought everything outside and took a deep breath and clipped in and rode around the cul-de-sac. i felt ok. i clipped in and clipped out – like 25 times. i felt ok. my right foot was super tight so i decided i’d unclip on my left and lean left. this was a bit difficult to do without thinking about. but i had to think about unclipping in general so it didn’t really matter which side it was on. so i started riding. i had decided i was going to do a comfortable, familiar route – the “barney’s route” – out by the reservoir, into holden, then possibly down salisbury if i felt good or just turn around and come back. i was trying to be openminded to leave every option open. i even had a “if i feel absolutely amazing” option – which was to do the route twice. so i rode. i got out by the reservoir and felt fabulous. my legs felt easy and i was able to get up the hills with very little effort. everyone was right. all those trainer rides really had paid off. i was able to ride so easily. i’m not sure if it was the pedals and being clipped in or if i have actually built up those muscles and was actually stronger now. i decided that i would go down salisbury, and that is scary. downhill, a fair amount of traffic and a few intersections where i might have to unclip quickly. but i did it. i felt good. i only held the brakes near a busy intersection where i get nervous that cars won’t see me. i then rode around one of the neighborhoods. unclipping, clipping. i got to a stop sign, unclipped on my left and leaned left. then a car came by. i knew i wanted him just to go – i waved him on and he stopped next to me.
i fell. hard. on a sewer grate. my hand hurt, my elbow hurt, my hip hurt. MY PRIDE WAS DAMAGED. the driver rolled down his window and asked me if i was ok. “You fell hard.” ugh. “I’m fine. Just didn’t clip out soon enough.” i tried to sound ok. no shake in my voice. like i knew what i was doing. as if i was badass and had fallen before. as if my core was shaken. as if i wasn’t concerned that i had done some serious damage and all this work i’ve already done, all these sacrifices were for nothing. he drove off. i assessed what i could see. i looked ok. not too bad. hopped back on the bike. clipped in and rode off. my hand was screaming at me. it hurt bad. i was worried something might be broken. i was done riding for today. i had to get home. i needed ice. hopefully just ice.
got home. had trouble getting my bike into the porch even. had difficulty turning the doorknob. got the ice out and ace bandages and put the ice on immediately. i was still worried. but i figured it wasn’t broken. i decided it wasn’t broken because it couldn’t be. i didn’t have time for a broken hand or wrist. stupid thinking i know, but it was decision i had made. when i went to change, i discovered i had a huge egg on my arm near my elbow. and my hip was throbbing.
the next morning, i was sore. bruises were coming. but i truly didn’t think anything was broken.