It’s been 30 days since I went over the bars at 25km/hr, crashing head-first into a rock on Ladies Only. I drove home that day thinking how miraculous it was that I didn’t get hurt. The next day I’d end up in the hospital with a splitting headache learning I have a concussion. Recovery has been slow, and filled with ups and downs.
After a small taste of glory in the 2016 BCES North Van Enduro, I started to notice changes in the way I ride. There was an added level of seriousness that wasn’t there before. I was pushing it harder, crashing almost every ride, riding as loose and fast as I could. Chasing KOMs on the descents and PRs on the climbs.
That attitude led me to charge Ladies Only on a solo Friday night lap. What could have been a casual ride, was transformed by my ego as a quest for KOMs and glory, which resulted in an over-the-bars ejection, and a helmet first impact. A mundane section of trail that I’ve ridden countless times caught me so off guard that I didn’t even have time to get my hands out and brace for impact.
It’s been a month since I’ve been able to ride my bike. 2 weeks after the crash, I was able to return to work, but had to limit myself to two hour chunks of screen time. For the first two weeks, I couldn’t do anything – no TV, no books, no phone, no exercise. Just rest. I’m still retraining parts of my brain that used to be precise and able to comprehend large scale problems. Progress is slow, but notable. I haven’t gone 24 hours without symptoms yet, but I know that glorious day is coming. Patience and positivity is key.
The silver lining of this concussion is that it’s provided me with lots of opportunities to learn about myself, and what riding really means to me. Something I’ve come to realize is that the risk vs. reward of trying to be the fastest guy on the trail just doesn’t equate for me. There are too many other things in my life that I love doing to risk them all for a little bit of glory. Had I been able to chill out and keep it casual that Friday night alone in the woods, I’m certain I would have avoided that crash.
So when I get back on the bike, it’ll be with a bit of a different outlook. Don’t get me wrong – I still want to go fast and push my limits, but I’m going to choose those moments a bit more selectively, and live to ride another day.