Of all the days in the year, I think today probably was the best day for me to crash my bike. It seems that I always learn my lessons best in the most tangible ways. So today, this is really what I needed for my heart and my head (not so much for my body or bike). So I am counting it as a blessing.
84 miles in, on an out-and-back coast ride from Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay, a sudden sketchy span of curvy railroad tracks left me sprawled out in the road, my leg open and bleeding, with my bike strewn across the tracks. I know that you should always approach railroad tracks perpendicular.
In most cases, they naturally run perpendicular to the bike lane, not curvy-parallel. It caught me completely off-guard. But aside from the physical shock of hitting the ground, nothing was broken, the bike was fine, my brand new Betty Designs kit was not torn (big sigh of relief)...
The remaining 10 miles were rough, but I survived. My left wrist felt sprained and my leg was stiff, but it was good for me to immediately get back on and spin.
I told myself,"Get over the fear. You're ok."
Surprisingly, I was still able to enjoy the coastal view for the remainder of the ride, and to know that yes, this sport is risky, but with those risks come incredible rewards.
Sitting on the couch could be deemed safer (you don't need to wear a Road ID to change the channel), but I would miss out on the sights of the waves crashing against the rocks, hearing the calls of the seagulls, and feeling the wind upon my face. Being vulnerable and open to new experiences has its risks always- but when you are in that space, it reminds you that you are a living, breathing, feeling being. And there is exquisite beauty when you have the courage to venture and stay in that space.
How sad if we allow the pain and scars from our past crashes to keep us locked in a cellar of fear, numbing us completely from the outside world?
Today was a perfectly timed tangible reminder that sometimes we are lucky in life to coast effortlessly. And sometimes we suddenly and unexplainably crash. And even if we don't know exactly what took us down, or how we got down- we just know it hurts a bit in places, but really, we're ok. In the appropriate context, vulnerability is a good thing. How much safer and easier it would be to never risk, to never fear rejection, to never really open up to love again- But wouldn't life feel shallow and superficial if you always played it safe?
Thankfully, the stiffness and scars eventually fade. You get back on the bike. Because there are countless beautiful roads yet to be explored. And there are beautiful people still waiting out there to explore them with you.