So things have gotten a fair bit better since the crash. The road rash is healing up with haste, my orthopedist said a sling won’t be necessary, and instead of a dreadful ace bandage pseudo-cast, I’m in a light, removable splint. Little victories.
But perhaps most of all, I feel like I’ve gotten my head around it. Yeah, my day-to-day has obviously changed, but it isn’t to a devastating degree. I can still type, drive, cook and go about my day.
The crash came nearly four years exactly from one of the hardest days of my life: day 1 of NoTier 2014. I remember laying in my tent that night in Belfast, Maine, completely destitute of both energy and confidence. My legs were cramping, my head spinning and heart rate fluttering. It was a tough situation and I had a long road ahead of me.
I’m telling myself that what I’m dealing with now isn’t too different. Things are harder than I’d like, and it’ll take time to adapt to this new situation. Bicycle touring is like a billion times more fun than nursing a fracture, but hey, I’m looking for strength wherever I can find it.
Having dealt with that brutal start to my first tour gives me confidence. Cycling is a pretty glamorous sport, even at the amateur level. How quickly it can betray you.
When Richie Porte crashes on the Mont du Chat at 45 mph, breaking his collarbone, pelvis and other things, it’s not just that his Tour de France is over. He has to live with those ailments for the next however-many months. I’ve gained a new perspective through this, that races aren’t just about the results.
Every cyclist has to take the aftermath of their rides home with them, no matter how good or bad it may be.
Perhaps the only thing I can’t make my mind up on is what I’ll do once finally healthy. There is nothing quite like winning a sprint in a crit, and I’ve proven it to myself that I’m good at it.
But I might need a fair bit of time before I’m comfortable being in the peloton again. The idea of racing cyclocross sounds awfully tasty right about now: you race alone, on a more forgiving surface, and you’re going slower. Now that I’ve given myself permission to be confused about how I want to go about my future, I feel a lot better.
As I write this, it’s been a week since the crash, which means only about five more. Onward!
“Fight on, my men, Sir Andrew said,
A little I’m hurt but not yet slain.
I’ll just lie down and bleed awhile,
And I’ll rise and fight again.”