Being Careful

I’ve been told for most of my life to be careful.

Be careful not to hurt your kne.

Be careful not to cough without covering your mouth.

Be careful not to walk to close behind a horse.

Be careful to wear your helmet.

Be careful to watch for cars.

So when every single person I’ve met has told me to be careful, I haven’t been worried. I’ve always been a careful person, so I tend to heed warnings, but I haven’t been concerned at all. Everyone tells me to be careful, I’m careful, it’s always been okay.

Before talking about today, I want to talk about yesterday a little bit. It was gorgeous. We biked out of DC, and I marveled at the monuments, and was stunned to pieces by Arlington, including not refraining from experiencing my first round of silent bike tears. We broke off into smaller groups from the original accidental super group, and Amanda, Lauren, and I enjoyed a really great ride through the beautiful W&OD trail in Virginia, where we met some pretty amazing people who had done other cancer based rides, as well as meeting one man from Champaign! It was simply beautiful. However, we hit Trail’s End bike shop (appropriately named, as it was at the end of the trail), and everything went downhill from there. Unfortunately it wasn’t the fun kind of downhill that cyclists enjoy, it was the metaphorical kind that just sucks. Somehow we ended up on the scariest road I’ve EVER ridden on, all incredibly frustrated, and begging for Jaime to manage to find us, which, as the AMAZING ride leader she is, she managed to do, saving all of us from the torrential downpours and from the absolute hell of VA-7.

If this was last night, I would describe it as I4Kaos. It was insane. Completely insane. However, I can’t express how proud of my team I am—everyone kept their heads up and stayed positive, even knowing that the Appalachians were coming!

However, now, I can’t describe it as anything less than blessed. Even with the awful roads, the torrential rain, and all the interesting places we found shelter in (in my particular case, the awning of an abandoned motel), everyone made it to the stayover completely safe, including minimal bike issues (Alex Kulyk, you are my savior).

Today started out completely beautiful. It was sunny, slightly chilly, and promised a challenging but cheery day through the mountains. I was really happy to be pedaling through the Appalachians, which were amazingly beautiful, and far greener than I ever thought it would be. After a morning filled with bike stacks to set my camera on and set up the timer, we were really enjoying rolling through the mountains, feeling super accomplished!

After awhile, Ashley had some serious issues with her rear wheel, which was pretty disconcerting, but she thought it would be fine. About 40 miles in, I don’t know what happened, but I started pedaling, and immediately screamed out in pain because my left knee (which happens to be the bad one) hurt so much I could barely move, none the less pedal up a mountain. Ashley and I sat on the side of the road, both still smiling, but both wondering why today was so determined to go wrong. Bradford came to get us, so he could fix her bike and put me in the van. I was originally really upset to be stuck in the van—I just wanted to push my way through the mountains! Later on, however, I realized how incredibly blessed we are.

For example, one group today rode away from the lunch stop before realizing that one of the riders had forgotten her helmet, so two of the riders took off back up the hill to get it for her. On their way back down, they saw a number of ambulances go flying by. When they rode on, they found a huge car accident. In said accident, the team of riders thinks that someone may have passed away. Had the team been just slightly later, goodness only knows what may have happened. That fact alone is incredibly sobering as to how today could’ve gone, and how we didn’t have it nearly as bad as we thought we did.

Another rider broke a derailleur hanger and crashed pretty hard, but  came out of the crash with only minor scratches and some slight bruising. One more rider got in the van with me due to her knee pain, and all 3 of us were pretty down on our bad luck for the day, but now I can’t help be wonder what things may have happened to us  had we not been stuck in the van.

Suddenly, returning to the stayover, everyone’s warning of be careful made more sense. The team was definitely blessed today, managing to come out of everything with only some low morale, slight scratching, a few aching knees, and a couple of broken bikes.

So, my lesson for today was definitely be careful, but more importantly, be grateful and glad for the small things.


Comments (1)
  • Tammy D says:

    Glad everyone was safe and everything worked out in the end. Hope the knee feels better!!

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