I’m still a little shaken. Nauseated, and so grateful. I drove my 2002 Chevy Astro Van AWD up to Crested Butte Mountain Resort this morning to assist in giving visitors an amazing experience on Ibis Cycles bikes. Toward the end of the 40 mile drive, I noticed the handling of my vehicle was a little off and there was sort of a grinding noise I hadn’t noticed before. I had gotten a flat tire about a week ago and wondered if the repair hadn’t held. I parked my car at the Outerbike venue, took a look at the newly repaired tire, and saw that it looked just fine. I was just barely on time for the event, so I shrugged and walked away for the day.
Friends and hugs and bikes and laughter and 10 hours later, I got back in the van with significantly less energy than I had upon arrival. I heard the noise getting louder and felt the handling get worse along the journey home. I was tired. I just wanted to get home. I knew the tire was holding air, and I figured I had tweaked the axel or something while driving off road a few days ago (dang, I love my truck-van!). Everything got progressively worse along the drive home. I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to get home, take a shower, make dinner, relax, and hang out with Jefe. I made it to town. Through the first stop light, then the second, and the third. I turned right onto Highway 50, and then I made the left turn into the south side of Gunnison. Another right turn, then another into the alley where I live. KLUNK! THUD! and there is the front driver’s side wheel of my vehicle rolling away. ROLLING. AWAY!!! I got out of the van and chased the wheel. Rolled it back toward the van, and then realized what had happened. At any moment during the last 45 minutes, this could have happened. It could have happened while I was going 70 miles per hour. It could have happened while I was rounding the corner just south of Almont, driving just a few feet away from northbound traffic. It could have happened while I was winding through the bluffs above the East River. If it had happened at almost any other point during the nearly two hours I spent driving today, the consequences would have been far greater then the groove I carved in the asphalt 200 feet from my front door. I’ll need a new wheel and new lug nuts, as all five of mine are somewhere between Mt. Crested Butte and the entrance to my alley. But my recovery has been a bath and a pizza when I could be on life support. The casualties are only a few minutes of a neighbor’s time as he helped me loosen a lug nut from each of my other wheels to put the fallen wheel back on so that I could slowly roll the 200 feet to my driveway.
Someone out there wanted to remind me today of the preciousness of life. It’s been a challenging summer. There have been days when I wondered about the point of it all. There have been moments when life felt so hard, like such a struggle, that I felt like I didn’t want to do it anymore. The suffering felt too great, the pain too real. Right now all I feel is gratitude. I am so thankful to be alive! So unbelievably lucky to feel whatever feelings are coming forward as I reflect on what could have been!! I am recommitting to find the lessons in every struggle and the blessings in every moment. And to checking my lug nuts!