Mad at You

“I was mad at you”, she paused.

“I know”, I interrupted.

“When you returned to work in less than one week after the accident it really made me mad”, she said with conviction and then continued, “Most people would have stayed home for three weeks without a having a second thought”. “Yes, I know”, then explained, “but I had business associates from Germany in Miami for a meeting, besides working in a large organization is like bicycle racing. Everyone works more or less together towards a common goal, like in the peloton. Yet within the race, there are races between teams and then between individuals, even if, they are on the same team. Give someone an opportunity to take your place… and they will.”

No one is taking my place.

I mean, did you see Contador get back on his bike with a broken tibia at the Tdf? He retired the Tour and then came back seven weeks later to win the Vuelta. How? Well that is still a mystery to me, but do you think Cavendish, Martin or Phinney took their injuries lying down? Cavendish will return to racing in 2015 a more mature person. Tony Martin came back in 2014 from having his face crushed by a motorist on a training ride. Yeah, he nailed a solo victory in stage 9 of the Tour. Taylor Phinney is still courageously working the miles back into his left leg after having been hit a pace motorbike during the nationals.

These guys are not most people and neither am I. Get up, dust off and get back into the fight.

When I heard the news about Taylor I was sullen. Upon receiving my Rouleur issue 49 with the cover illustrating Taylor lying in pain on the Tarmac I am not ashamed to say that I became a little misty.I stared at the cover, feeling sympathy for the young American professional. This sudden twist of fate laid waste to all those years of hard training, discipline, and hope. He speaks optimistically about next year’s comeback, but I fear his road to recovery will be longer than he hopes. Godspeed Taylor.

So I am back to my profession pushing boulders up the mountain but my thoughts still wander to the ride. A week after I accomplished some minor bicycle repairs, I am no longer poisoning my body with Oxycodone. So with great care I mount the Mooney positioned on the indoor trainer. There is a fan whirring in front of me and an hour’s worth of music on the playlist. As I begin to spin, my heart is full and my mind is focused on completing a sixty minute ride.

Within Twenty short minutes, I am too anxious to continue and so retire to the pool where I perform fluid movements from side to side in an attempt at rehabilitation. Soon, I am lying in bed exhausted with no real fight left, staring at the ceiling, wishing none of this had ever happened and her words washing over my head…

“Mad at you”.

Repair the Man

A melancholy melody embellished by the baritone voice of Sean Rowe travels into my brain through headphones while I disassemble the Mooney’s rear derailleur. His voice is a bit haunting and his lyrics inspire reflection. This peaceful moment of music induced meditation is interrupted by the constant recollection of aerial flight into the windshield and rearview mirror of the Chevy pickup that drove through my rear wheel without braking and without remorse. Trucks don’t feel.

I landed face down in the tarmac unable to lift myself. My breathing was labored and shallow. “Ribs”, I thought. I bellowed in pain like a harpooned walrus. It seemed to help. I tried to lift myself but the pain from the broken clavicle was enough for me to surrender to the generosity of a stranger as he thankfully redirected traffic until the arrival of the ambulance.

Three weeks into recovery I am compelled to ride. The Oxycodone makes me anxious, my mind lacks focus and thoughts of over 6 months of base building followed by 2 months of power building in the mountains of Georgia weaning away, weigh heavy on my mind. Idle time furrows the mind preparing for planting the seeds of despair. I feel broken.

The violence of the impact is evident in the dents and shape of the rear wheel. My rear wheel had been ripped from the drop outs and the chain was mysteriously pulled through the derailleur cage.  After a brief inspection it appears that the rear derailleur may be designed to allow this to occur. I made a couple attempts to open the cage wide enough to put the chain in the proper position. I needed to disassemble the cage. This led to cleaning then repacking the bearings, reassembly and adjustment.

While performing the repairs I became too tired to ride but my thoughts turned to riding and my mood improved. I lay back in bed satisfied for the moment with having accomplished a simple task. The Mooney is on the indoor trainer prepared for the ride.

It occurred to me as I wandered off into drug induced bliss, that when you repair the bike, you repair the man.