Monday, April 16, 2012

On the Shelf

I've been fortunate in my athletic career never to have suffered many injuries.  I've had my fair share of concussions, but otherwise, nothing more that has forced me to stop a particular activity.  Sure I've twisted ankles, sprained wrists, and busted my fingers and toes.  I've had more stitches now than I can remember, and for years I woke up hunched over like an old man, careful with my first steps as my body warmed up to being vertical.

Never in my memory though, have I been out of commission for longer than a day or so.  And even then, there was still the option to move or not to move.  The current injury to my foot is more.  It's not only forced me off the bike for the time being, but also forced me to alter my life to some extent.  Nothing profound, but simple things like going up and down stairs, driving, and even getting from one room to the next have taken on a new light.  The customary 5 minutes to get ready this morning took nearly 15, and the walk from my car to the door of the gym seemed strangely to have doubled.  It's not easy hobbling around on one wheel.

It's a struggle, and something I'm not used to, but I'm determined that I'll make the most of it.  Those who know me know that riding my bike is one of the things I'm most passionate about in life.  I can barely remember a day in these last few years where I haven't been on two wheels for at least a portion of any given day.  It's like breathing for me.  The flow of the trails, air rushing past my ears, and the adrenaline rush I get when I crash or nearly crash.  I could go on and on about it's meditative benefits, and the ways in which I've escaped reality on knobby tires.  Rubber tires scraping along dirt and rock; rooster tails flying up from loosely packed berms; and the familiar feeling of weightlessness as I and my bike break free, momentarily, from the constrictions of gravity.  These are some of the things I cherish most.

Back to reality, I'm stuck with a bum wheel, stitches, and pain.  Antibiotics, bacitracin, gauze, and an ace bandage now replace my Stumpjumper, dropper post, wide bars, and dialed suspension.  It won't be long before I'm back, but this little layoff gives me more of an appreciation for what I so often take for granted. I'm alive and I ride.  It really doesn't get more simple than that.  Two wheels, pedals, handlebars, heart, and lungs.  Simple but so meaningful.  

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