Things were going well in the Cincinnati Bike Ride until I hit mile 36. In fact, things were going better than well. In the week before the event, I was fearful that I would not have the stamina to make it through 45 miles, since the most I had ever ridden on my bike was 27. But here I was, only nine miles to go, feeling strong and full of energy. My biking friend, Barb, had just announced to the three of us, “We are so good!” I laughed and agreed with her. At that point, I realized that very little stood in the way of me accomplishing my goal of completing the ride. A deep groove in the pavement along the side of the road changed everything for me..
I don’t remember much about the incident other than the following: my bike aligned with the slim, deep groove on the road berm and I struggled to get back out. I was going at a fast pace, which made the maneuvering much more difficult. I remember trying to keep my balance, but losing my battle and hitting the pavement with the right side of my head and body. My head banged hard on the road and I struggled to pick it up. A policeman seemed to appear out of nowhere and insist that I had hit my head very hard and that I should not move. I also recall a Good Samaritan trying to get my bike unclipped from my shoe— the bike was still connected to me. I announced that I felt sick and had a headache convincing everyone that I had a concussion— everyone but me. I figured that I was sick to my stomach because my body was reacting to a crisis, and my head hurt because it just got banged on the pavement.
As they rushed me to University Hospital, I stared at the ceiling of the rescue squad in disbelief. Is this really happening? Why did I have to do this? Why me? Was it something I did that made this happen? I was so disappointed. As they examined me at the hospital, they told me how lucky I was that I had escaped with so few injuries. The doctors and nurses shared that it was because I was an athlete that I was able to sustain the fall so well. For a second, that made me feel good but that feeling didn’t last long. I was sad, angry and upset that this had to happen to me when all I wanted to do was finish the race.
By the next day, something changed for me. First of all, my body ached like an 85-year-old woman’s. The reality of what my body had sustained began to sink in. I had been struggling with the fact that things did not happen the way I had planned them, but I was slowly realizing how lucky I was. I was bruised and battered but my head was fine. I realized that if I hadn’t been wearing my helmet, I definitely wouldn’t have walked out of the emergency room.
My bike accident is like many experiences you have in your life. You make a plan, and you believe you know just how things will turn out. But the reality is that life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it to turn out. Sometimes bad things happen when you least expect it, and you need to find a way to make peace with it, move on and try again. Whether it’s the ending of a relationship, a lost sale in business or a bike crash, you need to find the courage to begin a relationship anew, give your all to a new business deal, or, in my case, get back on your bike and go for an awesome ride!