This past Tuesday I had scheduled a bike ride. We had to do bridge repeats which is part of the off-season training program to get stronger. Plus since we don’t have hills in Miami, we only have the William Powell Bridge in the MacArthur Causeway in Key Biscayne, Fl to do this kind of workouts for strength. After warming up we proceeded to do the bridges. After climbing my 4th bridge I put myself on the aerobars and proceed to have an easy descent when suddenly I just remember ending up in the middle of the street, with sounds of screeching tires and car horns.
I fell from my bike. Certainly it was not my first time, but it was the worst of them all. The first fall from a bike occurred when I was learning how to ride a bike, back when maybe I was 5 or 6 years old (I know, a long time). But this is normal, right? After my dad took the trainer wheels out and push me to learn mounting properly. You fall and you get back up and try again.
Most of my childhood memories revolve around a bike. My friends and I will spent most of our free time and vacations on it (or other wise playing Nintendo or football). We were careless. None of us will wear helmets… back home that’s pretty normal. We would race buses, jumps on lagoons of rain water and try not to fall, race each other, escape for the whole day and try to be home before dinner (or before our parents even noticed!), getting bitten by dogs and try to go down hills with them.
Back to the future. Back to when I learned how to clip in the bike. Those were the other times I kissed the pavement. Maybe 2 or 3 times. Until I finally learned to balance and stop with bike cleats. Those were silly falls, the ones you are standing not even moving and you fall. Maybe a year later I fall while doing a turnaround… the mistake there was that I did it at high speed, instead of slowing down.
That day on the bridge, there were some little rocks. My peeps were trying to avoid them. I finished climbing the bridge after passing my 2 teammates Ricky and Michi, and as I relaxed a bit, I put myself on the aerobars and proceed to have an easy descent. Going down the bridge on the aerobars is probably my favorite thing while riding on Key Biscayne. Most of the time I go easily at 30 mph while going down that bridge. While going down the bridge, my front tire hit a rock and I slide off my aerobars to the left and that was it. Bike in the air, maybe several 360’s, and at the end I was in the middle of the 2 lane causeway. Maybe instinctively I call upon my Kung-Fu Panda powers and I break the fall. I only heard screeching tires and car horns, and when I noticed where I was from and my surroundings I instinctively jumped to the bike path were my bike was and away from harms way. Adrenaline kicking full force where I didn’t feel nothing. Two runners girls who saw the whole thing came quickly and started to ask if was alright. Michi saw the whole thing behind me and together with Ricky they stopped. On the other side of the bridge Javi and Coco stopped to see what happened. I didn’t feel anything, quickly started assessing the damage to my body and luckily was just scrapes. Helmet scratched, but head was ok, I stopped my Garmin, and the runner girl kept asking if I was fine. I think she was going to slap me and start asking if I knew in what year we were in or something. I think she had to do something medical, she check my back and started to ask if I felt pain. I said no.
Ricky said I was shaking, although I didn’t feel I was shaking at all. Put my bike in the walk path of the bridge and told my teammates to proceed with their workout and thanking them for stopping. I just felt really bad for messing the whole group workout session. They called coach and he was on his way to pick me up from the scene. The bike seemed fine but the hydration system in the back was cracked together with my water bottle. Coach picked me up and took me to my car. He helped me to see all the scrapes and clean them up.
For 3 years I haven’t fall. I have close friends that have unfortunately fell and their falls go more that just blood and scrapes. Broken ribs, collar bones, muscles, and even close calls. My fall compared to theirs is nothing. I was very lucky the cars stopped and there were no maniacs speeding in the bridge (which is very common to find). For most of an experienced rider I can be, you never know when you can fall again. Am I afraid of falling again? Maybe a little. But that doesn’t mean that I will stay indoors in a trainer in the safety of my home. No, because I love to be outside… I love to beat the sunrise in the morning and see the coming of the new day with my own eyes, I love the sound of the wind in my hair, I love the rain when it refreshes me in the hot summer days, I love to ride because there are people that can’t and I ride for them in their behalf, I love to ride because it reminds me of my childhood and when everything was just plain fun.
Just like my friend Ricky said, “just shake it off and hit it again!”.