How many is too many setbacks? That’s not this week’s question. It’s just on my mind.
It was a chill ride, just me and C on the local trails. Not hammering. Just rolling around.
We were on our way out again, picking up that one last fun trail before the bridge and the meadow and the roll home. He said something over his shoulder and pointed. I looked, said, “What?,” and looked back, then the log was there. I’ve cleared this log before. It’s not particularly big. There’s a notch in it that you can just about roll through if you’re careful. I had enough time to see the notch and think, “Nah, I’ll go over the high point.”
Then I was in the air, suddenly aware that I’d mistimed my front wheel and was probably going over the bars. For a nano-second I thought I could save it. That probably cost me the chance to get my hands out in front of me. Time slowed down as I hit the ground, shoulder first, and heard a distinct click. “Broken collarbone,” flashed across my mind as my rib cage compressed with the impact and expanded again. Then I was flat on my back.
C said, “Are you ok?,” and I said, “No.” I didn’t feel panicked. I hurt, but I felt I calm. I knew where I was and what had happened. The sun shone bright through the trees, and the beauty of it penetrated the blossoming pain. After a minute C helped me up and I rode home with one hand on the bars.
The front steps were sun warm, so I sat there for a minute thinking about what I needed to do next. Call the doctor (this is no time for the emergency room), clean myself up, tell my wife. The sun felt nice. I lingered. The dominoes were already tumbling. I didn’t feel a need to rush.
At first the doc was confident of a shoulder separation. He drummed and pressed along my clavicle and only found the focus of pain up high, by the joint. Reading the x-ray he said, “I was wrong. Your intuition was right. Broken collarbone.” Lucky me. Curiously though, no lollipop.
2020 has been a real killjoy so far. I had the flu. Then I had it again (the other strain). Then my brother died. Then I had Covid 19 (mildly). Now this. In between, I’ve thrown myself at running and riding, trying to use the silver lining of this tragic pandemic for something I can feel good about. But how many setbacks is too many setbacks?
A day later my mood is ok. Fall down four times, get up five. My friends have rallied around. They love me, despite myself.
This week’s Group Ride asks, not how sorry I should feel for myself (I’m on it), but rather how do you deal with setbacks? What are the mental secrets? Are you the sort that forces themselves back ahead of schedule, or are you a good patient, following advice and waiting patiently? I have resolved to enjoy the pain, to feel it and swallow it, and let it drive me. I have resolved, actually, not to feel sorry for myself. But I’m eager to hear how you deal with these sorts of things.