10 years ago I was pretty happy. I had a good job, and a great wife and a good life. I had been riding my bike less and less over the past few years, but I had a career now and a house, etc. That was 2 weeks before I was hit and run over on my motorcycle by a parts delivery van.
I was dragged for a bout 50 yards and my leg and hip were both crushed. Long story short – I have a small drawer of heavy-duty utensils bolted to my left femur. Unfortunately, I broke the first set and had to have the Super Duty set screwed in a year later.
So what? Well, today I don’t remember the fact that I couldn’t walk on my own for a year. I don’t remember the long, slow painful recovery. But most of all, I don’t use it as an excuse anymore. For a few years there, I found myself saying “…I used to…”. As in “I used to be a pretty good mountain biker…” or “I used to do XYZ…”. It was a legit excuse, I mean my quad has a hole the size of a half-dollar in it. I could have just ridden that lame excuse right to my grave. Then something happened. After literally years of relatively little activity, I dusted off my old Fisher and headed out to the Southern Kettles with a friend one Saturday. I hadn’t been there in years, but it all started coming back to me. As corny as it sounds, I kind of felt like I was re-born that day. Or at least shown what I had made the decision to miss out on for the better part of 6 years.
Today I ride whenever I can, which usually means very early on weekday mornings, and I jump into some races when it fits around my family’s schedule. I’m a much better/faster rider than I was back then, but it’s because I truly cherish every second spent on the bike now. I am constantly challenging myself to get better, to get stronger, to turn weaknesses into strengths. I have to report, that after 4 years or so back on the bike, I feel like I have earned the right to ride with guys twice as strong as I would have in my 20’s. This morning’s 23 mph, 33 miler is something I couldn’t have even hung off the back of back then.
What I DON’T do anymore is talk about excuses. I’m not the fastest guy out there, or the smoothest, but I keep getting better. It’s way more rewarding to have other people talk about what you do NOW, than to tell them what you “used to do…” years ago.