I Crashed My Bike.

Yesterday I crashed my bike. It was a pretty day and so I decided to run an errand on my road bike -- something I've been doing for years. 

I took a left turn going downhill when my tire inadvertently slid into a groove in the pavement. I was immediately thrown from my bike and onto the turn lane of a four lane road. 

On my way down, I saw the groove that twisted my tire, and the look on the faces of two men walking nearby. It all happened so fast but when I look back, I can see it in slow motion. 

The men looked terrified and paralyzed. I could see in their eyes that this wasn't going to turn out well. I crashed to the left, my left knee and elbow hitting first and then my right hand got caught in the bike. I rolled, I slid and then I stood up as fast as I had fallen! Adrenaline pumping, I looked behind me. There were no cars coming, but I knew it was just a matter of time before a car would roll over the hill.

I picked up my bike and the guys who saw me fall stood paralyzed. I told them I was fine and darted the other direction towards the sidewalk. As I crossed the street, another man drove by and asked me if I was okay. I looked at my hand gushing blood, but thought, "well I'm standing so I must be fine." I told him I thought I was okay, so he drove on. 

As I got settled on the sidewalk, the shock hit me. My blood pressure dropped, and I felt nauseous and faint. With no options, I lied down on the sidewalk on my back. I was in an area with nothing but office buildings all around. Cars drove by over and over again, and no one checked on me. For about 15 minutes I lied there in a paralyzed state of fear watching blood drip down my arms, not sure where I was bleeding from, trying not to vomit or pass out. 

I didn't think I needed to go the emergency room, but I wasn't exactly sure what I needed in that moment. I just laid there and watched the clouds float by, telling myself I would be okay over and over, and hoping someone would eventually help me.  

Finally, I heard the steps of a young woman approaching from behind. She stood over me and as she started to ask if I was okay, she could see I wasn't. She offered to call an ambulance or take me and my bike to her office building across the street. I still didn't think a trip to the ER was necessary. I've done that before and my experience was that an ER visit in an ambulance is almost just as traumatic as the accident you're in.

Her presence calmed me, the nausea began to pass and I stumbled behind her to her office. 

This kind young woman and her two female colleagues immediately got to work. They bandaged me up, gave me water and food and they even let me cry a little. They kept my bike (it's still there) while I called an Uber home. 

Once I got home, I iced my wounds, called my mom and cried. To top it all off, my dog had pooped all over the living room rug while I was gone!

It was a total shit day.

Three hours later, my boyfriend came home and re-bandaged my wounds, made me dinner and helped me to bed.

This morning, I woke up with a stiff neck, a shoulder I can barely move, a cut and bruised right hand, a bloody left elbow, a bruise on my knee and road rash on my ass. My boyfriend had meetings early, so I was left to tend for myself this morning. 

Immediately, I realized I had a choice about today -- I could either wallow in pain and self-pity, or pick myself up by my britches (as my mother would say) and take care of myself. 

I chose self-care. 

I got up. I made coffee with one hand. I took a long, slow shower with one hand. I stood in the warm water as it stung all my cuts and bruises. I might have cried a little. I drug my poop-stained living room rug outside (with one hand and a shoulder that can barely rotate) and sprayed it off with the water hose. 

I made a smoothie. I emptied and loaded the dishwasher. I fed the dogs. And now I sit here writing you and telling you my little story, but why? 

This isn't the first time I've hit the pavement on my bike. This isn't the first time I've been bruised and cut from a bad accident. There have been so many that my boyfriend wants me to drive around in a pope-mobile all the time or never leave the house (both terrible options!). 

I have no choice but to keep going. And neither do you. 

And when my hand heals and my shoulder can rotate again, I'll get back on my bike. 

Because that's what you do. You try. You go. You fall. You get back up. Sometimes you get humiliated and bruised along the way. Other times you have to rely on the kindness of strangers or the help of a partner or friend. Either way, you have a choice. Keep going or give up. 

What will you choose?

I hope you choose to keep going. Get back up when you fall. And do it over and over again. I promise, you can do anything you put your mind and heart to. 

Here's to falling, failing and rising strong (well as strong as you can;))