It wasn’t my fault. Well, maybe it was, I don’t know. Pointing fingers and apportioning blame doesn’t change anything, nor does it help. I know it happened though because I was there. Indeed, I was ground zero. The result was a decent smattering of injuries from muscle damage in my shoulder, to a hole down to the white stuff in my elbow and an unspecified pain and swelling on my knee. Nothing serious, but collectively enough to keep me off the bike for a couple of weeks. Or so I thought.
The immediate aftermath of my spill (a clipping of wheels) seemed fairly innocuous, there was quite a bit of blood coming from my arm and spinning the pedals definitely appeared somewhere on the uncomfortable scale – where watching Theresa May dance is 10 and a sibling recounting a childhood memory that doesn’t show you at your best is one i’d say this was somewhere towards the lower end. I pushed on to a local newsagents to purchase some ibuprofen and a plaster, which they didn’t have so I had to settle for the most expensive Nurofen known to man and some sellotape. My friend I was riding with lived nine miles away and I focussed my attention on getting there, pushing the pain to the back of my head and concentrating only on the finish line. Like some weird, slow Japanese gameshow time trial in which injured participants are coaxed back and have to undergo challenges such as taping their own wounds up with completely inappropriate “solutions” and paying heavily over their budget for the privilege. The tape held all the way…sort of.
Once at my friend’s house my wound was drenched in saline solution to clean it out and I got a lift home. An adventure in itself as I was driven at break-neck speed in a second or third hand BMW by someone who recounted me with stories of how he rolled a car once, and how cheap he managed to procure this metal box for. I couldn’t help but think that it actually be better for may safety if I got out and rode home, blood, pain and all. It would certainly have benefited my wellbeing.
Obviously some of my time, especially those early days after the crash had me replaying the incident over and over again in my head. This came with crashing thoughts of what if this had never happened, and “if only I hadn’t got so close”. This post-mortem wasn’t helping but I was powerless to stop it. I was also free from any influence over the other, physical effects of my coming together with the asphalt, these had left me with the inability to reach for anything, a limp, and pain in my knee whenever I drove, went upstairs, or put any strain through my knee. Riding a bike was definitely, annoyingly, off the cards.
Since getting home that day at the end of July I haven’t been on a bike much, safe school runs and a bible along the coast with my family. I’ve been t o A&W to have an x-ray and general medical magic applied by the wonderful nurses of both Worthing and Southlands hospitals (elbow and knee respectively); I’ve filled the cycling hole with the supping of fine ales and sprint the time just hanging out with my family, which has been fantastic. But I have the missed the bike. A lot.
By late September I felt, or should I say, my knee felt good enough to attempt a ride. A proper ride. I planned out a nice flat route so as not to put too much strain through my knee; I just about recalled how to put on cycling kit and push the bike outside, and slung my leg over the top tube. Here I was about to finally ride a bike again, my newly acquired beer paunch and all. The ride was everything I had hoped it would be, even the weather played ball – no doubt it knew how much this meant to me and so decided to do the right thing.
I’ve been out about four times now and on the turbo a couple time too; my goal is to get in shape by the end of October for a pre-booked trip to Spain. It’s been challenging so far as my fitness has just dropped away, as you might expect with two months of no riding, so getting that back and then adding some strength training is my plan. But more important than this recovery aspect is just getting out on my bike and having fun again. It’s that that I’ve missed really, not the data bot of average speeds, distance ridden, times spent in heart rate zones and all that stuff. So here’s to riding bikes and having fun. But don’t lose sight of the opportunities not riding presents us with – family, indulging other passions, connecting with those (odd) non-cycling mates, doing other stuff like just relaxing in front of the telly (fortunately for me La Vuelta was on during my time off) or something. As my dad would say, :it’s all part of life’s rich tapestry”, or some nonsense like that. But mainly its’ about bikes.