I got the fit nailed on the new bike I got for the tour, and took it out Friday evening for a spin. Yes, it really was perfect. I was really going to do this thing, the (half) cross-country ride I dreamed about all through my teens and twenties, but gave up on when I hit 30 23 years ago. I'd been getting packages delivered at school for a couple of weeks: new panniers, maps, street clothes for an east-coast summer evening.
Last Saturday I set out for one of the last "training" rides, a little 50+ mile, 4000+ foot ride that would probably be harder than any day of the planned trip. I took took the usual route out of town. I remember taking the left turn under the freeway that I take every day on the way to school.
I don't remember anything from the crash, the ambulance ride, or the emergency room. I remember the ICU. I remember the four days while they waited to make sure the cracked vertebral processes weren't going to fracture, before they let me go to the bathroom. I remember falling asleep mid-sentence, and waking up surprised that other people had gone on with the conversation.
I remember sitting in a chair for the first time, while across town my seniors graduated without me.
I came home last night, after 6 nights and seven days in two of the best hospitals in the area, (six nights and seven days ought to go with some different noun than hospital) and almost cried today when I came upstairs and faced the table where I was pre-packing for the trip that was supposed to start this morning.
6 broken ribs (3 in two places), bruised lung, bruised liver, broken clavicle (that's what really hurts), very minor bleeding in the brain (is a brain bleed ever minor?), and enough road rash to be glad I never got into racing. When I look at my helmet, I realize I am very lucky to be here, and that I shouldn't complain about the opportunity to learn about my limits. I'm trying to feel lucky.