Tomorrow (4/29) marks exactly one year since "the crash" that changed my life- and nearly ended it. Tonight as I rode my rollers in the driveway and flogged myself for an hour, that fact was tucked somewhere deep in my head, but it was far away in the distance. Instead, my thoughts were focused on my pedal stroke and deep breathing. I concentrated on finding the smoothness in my pedaling and feeling the stroke all the way through the circle. My mind was not on recovery, but was fixed on getting stronger and fitter so that I can get back to being competitive.
During the hour, I did three hard 20 minute intervals that each finished with a max effort sprint. FYI- 37+mph and 165+rpm is my official terminal velocity on the rollers with the fixed gear. Each interval was an exercise in maintaining focus, since it is so easy for me to mentally drift away. But I managed to think of it as being similar to riding a Points race or a long Scratch race, or even a crit. I thought of it in terms of competition because I love to race bicycles. Since I was 12 years old, I've spent my life trying to race bicycles. I've had some great successes and far more disappointments, but my love of the sport has always remained.
As I've gone through this process of recovery from the injuries, I've frequently thought of things in terms of how long or how difficult returning to racing was going to be. Of course, it goes without saying, my thoughts have also been on what the recovery would mean to my greater life- the life I have with my friends, family, girlfriend and kids. But, as we're all inherently selfish beings, my thoughts have often fixated on being able to ride and race.
I've been blessed in many ways through this experience. I have had my life enriched beyond all measure by the people I am lucky to have come in contact with. I am also lucky that my helmet did its job and that the people at the track that night did not panic and kept my injuries from being even worse. I am blessed that my daughter was such a brave little girl that night- seeing me in that condition was not easy for a child just about to turn seven years old. I am lucky beyond belief that my friends and family and so many of you showered me with the support and encouragement I needed for my recovery. And I am also very lucky to have a girlfriend who spent a month away from her home in Taiwan to nurse me back to strength to be able to take care of myself. And, best of all, I am blessed to be recovered enough and strong enough to be able to dream about racing at the front of the pack again while I slog away on my trainer in the middle of the night, in my driveway.
Things could've turned out much worse- but they didn't.