I am a firm believer that there is a lesson in everything. In fact, I’ve made it a sort of game with myself to search for the lesson instead of just throwing my hands (one finger in particular) in the air and reaching for a beer. Ok, sometimes in addition to the latter two.
I haven’t been riding mountain bikes all that long, but 5ish years with little more then cuts and bruises is a pretty good run! I don’t like to think that I had it coming, but I guess each time we swing a leg over that top tube the risk is out there. Last Wednesday, June 6, I finally crashed hard enough to break a bone. Bones, actually. I broke the 5th metacarpal in my left hand as well as the coronoid process in my left elbow. As far as fractures go, I feel like I hit the jackpot. No surgery, not even a hard cast. The pain is minimal, at least physically.
June 6th. The high country trails in Crested Butte are just melting out and getting dry enough to ride. While it’s 110 degrees in my hometown, summer is just barely getting started here in Gunny! There is a strange urgency to summer in the mountains. I experienced it last summer too. It feels like as soon as the aspens have all their leaves, I wake up the next morning and they are turning gold and the snow is about to fall. Growing up in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona I never felt rushed to enjoy the warmth. This race to feel the sun on my skin while I can is a new one for me.
Summer in the mountains means riding and playing outside, and this year for me it also meant a new beginning. I had given notice at the insurance company, secured a dream job coaching school-aged girls on mountain bikes with Crested Butte Development, and had set aside just enough time each week to continue developing my pastry business, and live happily ever after. As I toppled from the off-camber rock move on Josho’s trail at Hartman Rocks and onto my outstretched arm, the following occurred, in this order: I heard a crack, I screamed, and I thought about whether or not I’d still be able to coach. In the waiting room of the ER, I played out all the worst case scenarios I could think of, most of which revolved around not coaching, not riding, and not being able to pay the medical bills I was about to incur. The human mind is a twisted author of horror stories.
While I won’t be coaching this summer, my bones will heal. I am still able to bake, my second love (ok, third, no sixth after Jefe, bikes and each of the pups) and develop Pedals and Pastries. Within hours of the injury, several friends had reached out to offer their love, support, and bone broth. Even these last two splinted weekends have taken me places on foot I may never have ventured had the ordinary two-wheeled source of diversion been an option.
So what the hell is the lesson in all of this? Slow down? Friends are the ones who come out of the woodwork in times of struggle? When one door closes another one opens? Sure. Maybe. I’m still looking for the deeper lessons in this one. For now, I’m making the best of each moment, even the fleeting warm ones, resisting the urge to wish I was somewhere else, and battling a heinous case of FOMO (fear of missing out). I have the opportunity to hold myself while I heal. Whether I feel broken, incomplete, not enough, or whatever the daily dose of inadequacy has to offer, I remember that I am healing, growing, learning, and always doing my best.