What Happens After Falling Down? Getting Back Up.

It’s been just over two weeks since the Bloomington Crit where someone threw tacks on the race course resulting in lots of people crashing and damage to bodies and bikes. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and I wanted to wrap up the experience, or at least my thoughts on it.

After I crashed, after I walked out of the ER with luckily no broken bones, after I learned of the actions that led to the whole crash, after all of that, I felt numb. I couldn’t wrap my head around the why or what it meant. I was living in the middle of situation that people felt strongly about. News outlets were contacting me. It was weird.

The Low Point

The lowest point for me wasn’t the pain, it wasn’t my mangled road bike, the worst of it came when I started watching the reactions of the internet. While a lot of people were supportive and said kind or constructive things, others were just evil in my eyes. Here’s a glimpse into what I saw. I took a lot of screenshots. I don’t know why. It felt like this was important and I wanted to capture the whole thing.

comments-no-extra-border

Reading that stuff hurt. I was sad to be reminded of how cruel the world I live in can be. It made me think about the hundreds of times a car passes me traveling over 50 miles per hour while I’m riding in the country. It was sad to be reminded that cyclist safety can be such an afterthought or even something funny to joke about.

I’m still pretty young, I’ve learned a lot in my thirty-two years, and I have a lot more to learn. I’ve learned how easy it can be for any group to look at another group and make generalizations. It seems so easy for some non cyclists to look at cyclist and see annoyance stemming from things like slowing down their morning commute or a cyclist that blew a stop sign. Cyclists, like all people aren’t perfect. I’m sorry if a cyclist has annoyed you. I’m sorry you had to slow down and switch lanes to avoid me while we were both commuting to work. If I could influence one change from all of this it would be to remind non cyclist that we’re all people doing what we have to sometimes, what we enjoy when we can, and have a little more patience and understanding.

Getting Back Up

Thanks to my amazing wife for many things. She’s a wound care certified registered nurse, a real treat if you’re a cyclist with skin missing from hands, hips, knees and more. She tended to my wounds, dealt with me being a man baby with some of the pain, and kept positive throughout the whole thing. I find myself reminded how lucky I am to have her. I’ll spare you of pictures of all the injuries. My left hand was the worst of my injuries. Here’s a day of and current picture of it, it’s incredible how fast and well it has healed.

hand-healing-progress

The flip side of the negative comments were the positive outreach that swept over me day after day. I was reminded how big our cycling community is. My local cycling friends and teammates reached out with kindness, offering to mow my yard and other tasks while I healed. Dean and Paul from Axletree reached out from the Chicago area. That meant a lot. I’ve attended as many Axletree events as I’ve been able to manage in the past three or so years. Those folks are so awesome. They do so much advocacy, host amazing events that make people’s year, and are genuinely good people. I see those people a few times a year but they reached out the same weekend with words that helped and even offering to help fund the repair my road bike. The owners of my amazing local bike shop that have forever changed my life were there in more ways than I can list. Scott, one of the owners, was the first face I saw after picking myself up off the ground. He helped me walk back to my family. He carried my bike, helped sort out what was damaged in the crash, he did so much.

I’m tearing up just thinking about all of this. I’m surrounded by crazy awesome people. You know who you are, thank you from the truest part of my heart.

Luckily when I decided to start racing crits in 2014 I purchased bike racing insurance. In short, they paid for everything that was damaged. I’ll be building a replacement bike as soon as the Dura-Ace 9150 Di2 group becomes available because I’m a bike snob. Until then, I’m spending time on some bikes that have been collecting a bit of dust, my cyclocross bike and my fat bike. I climbed onto a bike for the first time last Thursday for 30 or so miles with my amazing teammates. It felt so good to get back out there. I was nervous, I was out of shape compared to where I was, but it was so good for me to pedal again. I rode cyclocross practice tonight and did really well. Things are going to be alright.

I’m racing Chequamegon 40 for the fourth year this coming weekend, but doing so not on a race breed cross-country bike but rather my thirty pound fatbike because I sold my S-Works Epic last week. I’ve been planing on selling it at the end of the season, but after the crash I thought I’d list it early to help my odds of selling it before winter and I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to mange holding onto the handlebar for 40 miles at Chequamegon. I’m going to soak in the experience, enjoy the race a bit more in terms of taking it in verses killing myself trying to beat my goal time, take a picture or three and afterwards spend time around a fire with friends.

Looking back at what happen and whats in front of me, I’m optimistic, I’m happy, things are good.

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