A week off is a long time for me. Last week’s crash at King’s Valley left my wounded and bikeless. The former is the worse of the two. Monday and Tuesday came and went. Wednesday I stripped all the parts off my only bike and dumped them in a box on the shop floor.
That evening my friend Ray-Ray took the frame to the builder who would fix the minor damage it sustained on the down tube. I secured a frame from a co-worker for the princely sum of sixty dollars. Thursday I started building it up. Five days after I’d last ridden.
My mind reeled and moods came and went in a manic manner. One moment I was content that things would work out. The next I was stomping around work with a brooding look, pissed as hell about my busted frame, my busted wheels, which were less than twelve hours old. All the while knowing that I couldn’t really get mad. Signing up to do a race is accepting that your equipment might get busted, or more importantly that you might get busted.
People kept pointing out that it could be worse. That I was lucky to not have broken any bones. As a teammate put it, ” Skin grows back and parts can be replaced. I know that, but it didn’t make me any less angry.
Friday found me standing on my front porch, tools in hand struggling to build the new frame up. I cursed. I threaded cables to the wrong side of the frame. Then I gave up, questioned why I did all this in the first place. Cried (almost literally) to The Lady about how the fitness I spent the winter building was wasting away.Then I broke down and asked for help.
Someone I didn’t know was kind enough to let me into their garage, use their tools and put up with my total lack of knowledge. He didn’t know me and didn’t have to help me. I owe him a six pack and part of my sanity.
Saturday was my first day back. The tension had built up and it was time for release. In my head I fantasied about how great it was going to feel to finally ride again. Then I started pedaling. The spin I’d spent over 5,000 miles fine tuning was square. My muscles were stiff only seemed to work with constant encouragement from my mind. At times I even spoke out loud. Not caring that people could hear me as I passed them on the Springwater Corridor.
The body is fine tuned machine. It adapts to the stresses we put it through. It also adapts to doing nothing, or the laid up cyclist equivalent of nothing. The first day back after a long absence never feels good, but it does provide some perspective about what really important.