Monday, September 23, 2013

back in the saddle again

I rode up emigration canyon last saturday, not having done that for the past 43 days . . .
I missed it.
but I couldn't tell you how many things have changed in that environment, because I spent more than the usual amount of time watching the road in front of me.  big surprise, isn't it?

I've ridden my bike on the road three times now, since my "spill," and I find that I am cautious, slower, watching incessantly for anything that might make me unsteady, wobbly, or flat on the ground again.
I'm slow because I'm cautious, and I'm also slow because I'm not as fit as I was 7 weeks ago.

my first day on the bike outside I just rode around my neighborhood, 13 miles in total, neighborhood streets, not much traffic, not much up and down.  lots of looking at the road.
the next day I rode up emigration and to little dell reservoir, my favorite daily ride: it felt darn good.
the third day I rode up emigration again but had to stop once to stretch my back: it did not feel great.

each time I was glad to be back on my bike, loving the movement of air against my skin, the warmth of the sun and the chill in the shaded hollows, the smell of outdoors.  but I found myself, especially on my first ride up the canyon, focusing on my performance entirely too much.  gosh I'm slow, I usually do this faster, boy my heart rate is high, gosh I'm so much worse than I was, wow I'm slow.
I wanted to smack myself!
the healthy thought pattern would be:  wow, I'm back on my bike again so soon!  gosh, it's amazing how well I'm doing for not having ridden in 6 weeks!  wow, look how fast I'm going . . . yeah, this is hard, but of course it is!  I've been in the hospital!  my body's been through the wringer!  this is terrific, I'm awesome, wow this feels great!  I am so so grateful to be out here, riding again.

yep, that's what I should have been thinking.
so yesterday I worked on my thinking and thought better thoughts.

this is one of my challenges:  to be kind to myself, to not be so demanding, to be gentle with me.
I tend to forget this, and expect more of myself than is necessary and--at times--realistic.

so yesterday I started, and today I'm going to continue, being nice to myself and being grateful that I'm doing as well as I am.
being nice to myself, hmm.

maybe you should try being nice to yourself, too.

Monday, September 16, 2013

cycling to nowhere

after my crash, I went into the hospital, and my bike went to its own version of the hospital--the store where it was purchased--for a Crash Damage Assessment.
the bike had less wrong with it than I did, and managed to just need its front wheel trued, and a new left shifter.  it stayed at the shop for quite some time, though, and when it finally came home ten days ago I almost got teary looking at it.
last week it came inside the house and john set it up on a trainer so that I could spend some time getting used to being in the saddle again without all the stresses of actually being outside on the road.
the first day I spun for 30 minutes.
the next day, 45.
the third day, 60.
and I think that's my max, because the monotony is almost more than I can take:  one needs mental strength to pedal so hard for so long to go nowhere.
I sweat more inside, and I drink more inside, and I look around--most often, unsuccessfully--for distractions more when I'm inside.
I'm prepping, you see, because I have a goal.

a week ago I had a follow-up appointment with the trauma/general surgery clinic.  they took and examined a new chest xray, and proclaimed me sufficiently far enough along the healing path to be released from their care.  woo hoo!  and then I asked,
when can I get back on my bike?
the doctor looked at me, his face a cross between amazement and exasperation, and the resident next to him said,
most people don't ask that question.
well, I said.
six weeks, he said, we like you to have six weeks from the injury.

six weeks will be up this coming saturday, and as such, I am planning on an outing.  as in being outside, on my real bike, on the road, and as my mountain-biking friend says, rubber-side down.

I have quite a few feelings about being back outside on my bike.
I've missed it terribly:  the exercise, the challenge, the accomplishment, the beauty surrounding me, the fresh air, the solitude, the meditative time out in the natural world.
but I also know I don't ever want to crash like that again.  I don't want to go so far as to say I have fear, but I definitely will begin again with caution.
maybe a nice flat (flat-ish as there is nothing flat around here) ride.  I am not eager to descend quickly, and not even really eager to descend.
I'm sure I'll get over this, eventually, but I also hope to retain a bit of caution.  I never, ever, want to return to the emergency room due to an accident.

so, I'm practicing becoming steady and comfortable on my trainer-grounded bike, so that I can soon be on asphalt and chipseal again, spinning my legs around, breathing fresh air and listening to the great big world.
my bike's ready.
in 5 days, I will be, too.

Friday, September 6, 2013

logan to jackson by car

it's lotoja weekend.
in less than two hours I'll hop in the car and head off to logan, where we'll spend the night so as to be ready for the big lotoja start line early in the morning......
where I will wave my friends goodbye, hop back in the car, and be their support for the day.
this will be a new experience.

I've been working on myself, trying to accept my feelings of sadness, disappointment, and loss over not being able to ride, while trying to induce feelings of enthusiasm to experience the other side of the race.
it's semi-working, and I haven't cried yet.  I'm hoping that when I get to logan, when I see all my friends and acquaintances and am amidst all the hoopla, I will buck up and just be grateful I'm walking and not in a wheelchair or something even worse.
it could be worse.

john has supported me during this race for three years, and he has always talked about enjoying the people, the enthusiasm, and the energy of the day:  how great it is to see riders tackling and accomplishing this big goal, and how the other people doing support are such good sports about everything.  I've said before that I think it's probably harder to do support than to ride:  we cyclists are in a hurry and often grumpy or stressed or just plain unhappy, and when it's all over, we're the ones who get the reward and those who supported us have to get by with just our "thank you's", when we remember to utter them.  it's a darn long day, either way.

so it's my turn to play support girl.  I think it's better than my just staying home, but I hope it doesn't wrench my heart too terribly.  my goal is to really focus on all the cyclists to see how they come to the feed zones, what they say and do, and what they're like when they leave:  this is something I don't generally get to do.  perhaps I will learn a thing or two.

it's an interesting experience to be injured and have to sit on the sidelines.  it's brought up many thoughts and feelings for me, and has plunked me in a strange place.  I miss cycling for the pure physical aspects of it, and I miss it for the gifts of being in nature and spaces of solitude that it gives me.  I am different these days, and the reasons are intermingled and complex:  the loss of what I mentioned above, the discomfort of broken and sliced parts of me still healing, and the mental work of trying to process everything I'm experiencing.
plus it would be really nice to sleep through a night again.

anyway, I'm off to logan.
I hope to see hundreds of grinning cyclists and happy supporters (at least at the beginning), and hope to see the same at the end of the day.
I'm sending out good vibes and energy for a terrific day for all . . .
myself included.