It has been two months since I was last on a bike. My last ride ended in hitting a tree. Since then I have been working myself back into the mindset of returning to the road. The first few days after my accident were the worst, my body felt as though I was an old man with arthritis. I could hardly pick myself up to do menial tasks around the apartment. Slowly the aches & pains began to fade.
Weeks went by & I still couldn’t picture myself back in the saddle. It wasn’t the physical pain that was preventing me from riding. Even though my back remains sore to this day, that wasn’t the problem. A small piece of me had given up & I was armed with a great excuse, “My back hurts.” Something inside was keeping me off of my bike, telling me not to get back on. Each day I would walk past my bike as it hung from the ceiling.
I have no doubt that my bike would have remained in its place, gathering dust, until next Spring if it wasn’t for a little encouragement from a friend. Before my accident, we rode hundreds of miles together before summer had even started. One of the rides we took together I was unable to complete. About 20 miles from our destination my legs & knees couldn’t take it anymore. I gave up. Since that day I have wanted to redeem myself by trying again & reaching our destination.
It didn’t take long for us to make plans for a weekend bike ride. Having been off of my bike for so long I knew I needed to take at least one short ride before we left. A couple of days before our trip I went on a 20 mile ride and by the time I was done I was wondering if I hadn’t made a mistake by planning such a huge journey so soon. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t weasel my way out of going on the ride, not without a huge amount of shame and humiliation anyways.
Saturday finally came & at 9 am we hopped on our bikes for a 67 mile ride to Madison. Things went exceptionally well most of the time. There were moments when I thought I would need to stop but I kept on pushing myself. When I reached the point where I had given up on our last trip I felt great. I wasn’t feeling like I was going to die, and though I was tired, I knew I could make it the rest of the way.
And I did. We rode through the center of Madison, around the Capital Square, finally reaching our destination near the shore of Lake Monona. The feeling of accomplishment was great and knowing that I had done something I wasn’t able to before made me feel good about where I am today. Two months after the accident, my back is still sore & until today, my spirit had been broken. This ride helped restore my confidence in my abilities. I may not be the best on the road, but I am at least as determined as anyone out there, and that is what matters.