Sunday, September 06, 2009

You've heard the phrase "white knuckle flyer"? Well today, I was a white knuckle biker. Today was a big step for me, riding on the actual road, rather than a bike trail. This weekend, the Sunday before Labor Day, in 2006, I was hit by a car while on a training ride.
I pretty much realized when the actual anniversary date arrived (9/3/06) and I couldn't remember the actual date, that I was finally able to put that behind me.
I had vowed after my accident to NEVER ride on the road again. While I did a few times in the year following the accident, I was so paranoid, I was a complete wreck. It totally held me back, and I was not able to go on any more rides because of total fear. The few races I did that following year did not go well because of this fear. Yet, there was nothing I could do about it. It was still too fresh. Not that I remembered the pain of the hit--I just remember to this day the explosion in my head when I was hit--I still remembered clearly the weeks and then months of pain and recovery. It was serious. And, while I don't consider myself a superhero, I have to wonder how many people would have recovered and fought back from serious injuries at my age.
Yet, despite this, I was determined to get back my triathlon life. I tried very hard for the next 2 years, with limited success. Then, earlier this year, I decided I was ready to try an Ironman, yet didn't know until recently that my fear was restricting me, holding me back. I knew I had to let it go but was afraid to try. And I didn't want to put my family through this all again.
I was having extreme difficulty and frustration meeting my biking goals, and I knew it was because of being unable to take to the open road and get off the bike trail. Training for Muncie, I barely squeaked by on my biking goals, and after another month, I could see that squeaking by was not going to cut in for Ironman. Not only was the out and back and out and back again on the bike path so incredibly boring I wanted to scream, I could see I was making little to no real progress on my pacing or mileage goals.
So, today, for the first time in many years for me, Don and I set out for a route that he loved and trained on for years, to Spring Lake and back. I have to admit, it was not without some anxiety and apprehension, but I knew I had to do this. This is an incredibly hilly route, and it is not without its share of traffic, yet I did not resist or complain. For one thing, I could see how happy he was to be out on the road again, mentoring me through the biking miles. I could tell when we rode on the trails that while he did it, he was pretty bored too. And he, of course, knew better, having done several Ironmans himself, that I was not going to make it if I didn't get over my fear and get out on the road.
This ride was pretty hard for me, 74 miles of hills, hills, and more hills. Fortunately, most of the roads had been recently resurfaced, making the miles fly by fairly effortlessly, despite the hills. By the end, while I was glad to see the end of hills, I still had enough left to go out and do another 10 miles. I had done what I set out to do.
We also had incredibly perfect weather today, and I know we have limited weeks to get this biking thing accomplished, so I still have some work to do, but am finally feeling more confident of making my goal.


Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Great job - conquering your fear and those hills!!

Lily on the Road said...

Vickie, I can remember talking with you about this face to face one short year ago.

You are doing so well, you are Amazing girlfriend, keep up the GREAT attitude of believing is achieving!!!!

Marlene said...

Big congratulations on facing your fear. I can only imagine what you went through years ago. You are an amazing woman - I hope to have your will, strength and determination at your age. And I don't mean 'when I'm old'! :)


I hate riding roads. I purposely look for four lane roads to try and cut down on the potential of getting hit.
Good luck and BE SAFE!!

WADDLER26.2 said...

Quite the accomplishment!! Great job, Vickie.

Aka Alice said...

Wow Vickie! I had no idea! You are just an amazing woman. You're right, not too many would work that hard to face (and then overcome) those fears! What an inspiration!

jeanne said...

Many congratulations! I can only imagine how terrifying it must be to get back on the road. I'm very afraid of riding in traffic, too. Good for you, you are such an inspiration!

zanne said...

Ironman?! Way to go Vickie! Which one are you doing?

Glad to hear you're back on the road again.

Just_because_today said...

I believe fear stays with us but once we control it, we can store it away. The whole thing is a great acomplishment; surviving and recovering and now finally putting that fear somewhere in a back shelf.
Enjoy the freedom

Anne said...

Congratulations on overcoming your fear of the open road and getting out there, and with a whole lot of hills to look forward to.

Calyx Meredith said...

Wow! Yay you for getting out there - white knuckles and all. I hadn't known about your accident. You are a brave chica! Keep up the great cycling.