I’m sort of afraid of falling. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Apparently my recurring dream of falling down infinite flights of steps is a common one. I just happen to have lots of these dreams. I have all the aspects of this fear; vertigo in high places, small panic trying to mount stairs with space between.
Today I took a monumental fall on my bike. I came out virtually unscathed; just some road rash, but I am feeling lucky. It wasn’t a full speed wipe out. You’ll probably not see me in one of those as I don’t race that often and am not often in the thick of it when I do.
I fell into a ditch. A big, steep ditch. I was taking a lovely ride with Ironcelloman who was being very patient with me on some big hills. We had decided to do one last hill to see the view and then head home. It was a steep one and there was no way to get up any momentum since we were turning off a flat road, but Ironcelloman ate it up. I stopped at the top to let a car pass before turning around to coast down. I unclipped on the downhill side (smart!), but somehow lost my balance and toppled down the ditch.
Fortunately there was a lots of grass growing there. Fortunately it was sandy under the grass.
I had visions at one point of heading down the whole ditch. I was laughing like a maniac and I could hear Ironcelloman telling the driver of the car that had stopped that I was ok. He said her eyes had popped out of her head like a cartoon when I lost my balance. I passed him my bike and climbed clumsily up the slope, swallowing my pride and thanking the bike Gods that nothing was broken on me or my bike.
Apart some wicked road rash and soreness, I am good. Considering I am due for a three hour opera rehearsal every night this week, this is a good thing. I’ve showered and put both antibiotic cream and arnica gel (great for bruising!) on my rough patches.
Those of you who know me know I fall. A lot. I also am just plain accident prone. It could be postural. Or mental. Or all of the above. I know it worries the Brewmaster. He told me to call if I got into trouble today. I told him I had a bike kit and that Ironcelloman would help me if I couldn’t change my tire on my own. I wasn’t thinking particularly about getting pulled out of a ditch, but horror stories about several people who just got hit by cars on bikes were in the back of my mind.
So why do I ride if I fall off? I know some people are probably thinking, “Ya know, you don’t HAVE to get on a bike!”
I do it because I love the scenery. I love my sore muscles afterwards. I love telling myself that no matter how slow I went, I didn’t stop and push my bike up the hill. It gets better with training (no need to hear Little Miss Excuses on the long Iowa Winter and all the other reasons I’ve gained 10 pounds and am out of shape), and it actually for the most part helps my balance. I can go much further than on foot, and I really am excited to do another triathlon in August.
So I will keep riding, and flying downhill, even if I’m plodding uphill. And I will continue to laugh. A bunch!