This is the question posed by SkyRide. My Bikes take me to so many interesting, exciting, breath-taking places but also to mundane, dark places. It can take you wherever you want to go. You can ride gently along the Thames path, to Tesco for food shopping or can push the limits of you physical and mental capabilities. The bike teaches me about myself and about life.
Last weekend I was on a training camp in Majorca. We cycled over 500km in 4 days. The roads are amazing, so smooth with sweeping corners with great visibility. On the long hills I found that I got into my own little grove and often had the lyrics “don’t stop me now I am having such a good time having a ball” stuck in my head. One of the descents was about 20km and it was just an incredible experience. Whilst climbing an “optional” climb to the monastery I had one of those moments of pure bliss, of “this, right now, is why I ride my bike” I even had a tear in my eye. Unfortunately this euphoria didn’t last.
There are times when my bike takes me to dark places. In Majorca we went through two dark tunnel that didn’t have any lights. It was totally disorienting you have no references as to how fast you are going or how long the tunnel is. The bike is about experiencing life, if you watched a video of someone cycling through a tunnel you would have no idea what it felt like. We were based near the sea and on the return you could feel the air changing and that we were close to base.
Last year I separated my right shoulder after hitting the deck in Richmond Park. As I have previously alluded to I can get in a negative headspace that I struggle to shake off. On the Saturday I hit the deck (3rd time this year) whilst we were cycling towards Sa Calobra, which is the longest climb in Majorca. When I hit the deck I suffered a minor amount of roadrash and my ribs and left shoulder hurt, friends straightened my bike and I decided to carry on. On the flats I was OK but on the hills I got pain going through my shoulder and taking the required deep breathes was painful. I rode next to the ride leader and tried to unsuccessfully to hide my tears, every time we hit a small incline I went backwards through the peloton. I decided to head back before Calobra and went back to the hotel.
The following day my shoulder was painful but I decided to cycle anyways because road cycling is hard and you just have to keep pushing until you find your limit emotional and physical limit.For most of the day I was crying and in a negative headspace. Half way through the day my shoulder started to click. I knew the situation wasn’t great when I agreed for help carrying my bike bag. I couldn’t do my jeans up because it was making my shoulder hurt. I made the decision to get it all checked out in A&E when I got back to England, I was expecting to get discharged having wasted their time.
However after a wait in A&E I was discharged from hospital with 4 things
- Diagnosis – Broken collarbone
- A sling
- 4 codrydomol tablets – as I didn’t have any cash for a prescription
- an appointment for the fracture clinic on 8th June…
Despite all that has happened I still love my bike – even through it is currently still in its bike box. I am not sure where this leaves the Etape at the moment, I may be medically OK to ride the Etape but it is such a physically and mentally draining experience that I am not sure that I will be ready.