Good Ole Bessie has returned from the shop and is feeling good!
Not unlike the human body, I’m always amazed at how one “cause” can lead to multiple “ailments.” After struggling for a number of months, legs exhausted from what felt like pushing uphill the smallest of inclines with irritatingly loud squeaking and crunching rotations demanding my attention, all Bessie needed was a new chain and a brake adjustment. Gliding through space on Friday with that new chain sans noise blew me away…
Now, press that rewind button…
My husband came down with a nasty upper respiratory infection that reared its ugly symptom head last Monday. By mid-week, my germ-phobic brain took over…”Don’t even think about touching me with those cooties! And you can forget about trying to kiss me. Cough into your elbow, not your hand! Have you been washing your hands every time you blow your nose?! Get me sick and you will not escape my wrath!”
See, my daughter and I cannot afford to get sick this week. The kid graduates high school on Wednesday. It’s a day she’s been talking and dreaming about since the second grade (as far as memory will allow me to recall), the last four years being a re-creation of hell on earth…
I, on the other hand (also looking forward to all these years of elementary and secondary education coming to an end and quickly shoving itself way behind us), have My Gump Ride coming up one week from today. For you cyclists out there, you know riding when your lungs and sinuses are full of snot is not a pleasant experience. So imagine you’re riding the farthest you’ve ever ridden before and you’ve been training for over a year to ride for a cause that has deep personal meaning…
Last Thursday I started feeling that lump in the back of my throat…
First stage – denial. Nope, not happening. It’s allergies. If I ignore it, it doesn’t exist.
Second stage – anger. How did this happen?! I’ve been wiping, sanitizing and washing religiously! It’s his fault, that husband of mine! All that coughing in his hand and blowing his nose and not washing and then touching every surface in the house. Why didn’t I buy that can of Lysol when I thought of it on Monday?!
Third stage – bargaining. Listen upper respiratory infection…I’m nipping you in the bud! That’s right, I’m going to CVS and buying every and any kind of over-the-counter drug money can buy and eradicate you from my body before you even have the chance to realize what hit you. Remember dude, Doherty’s don’t do sick! At the very least, could you just come back June 12th?!
Fourth stage – depression. Hanging with “Jeremy” at the bike shop while picking up Bessie, we commiserated about the times we’ve been let down from a ride due to circumstances beyond our control and not allowing us the perfectly planned ride. Feeling like a prom queen as Jeremy lovingly walked Ole Bessie to the car, hitching her to her rack, adjusting straps meticulously before sending me on my way home to ride Bessie after five days of separation, I tell him about my developing illness and fears of Ole Bessie flying off the back of my car on the highway while driving to the most important destination of my life. Jeremy assures me that, “You can do it!” and proceeds to tell me about the time he headed out to a day of mountain biking in the Poconos after a fellow employee neglected to lock the bike into the roof rack. Entering the ramp of Interstate 295 and accelerating speed, poor Jeremy glanced in the rearview mirror as his bike flew off the roof and tumbled down the highway. Gasping, clutching hand to mouth, I asked him, “Oh my god…did you cry?!” Quietly, “Jeremy” admitted, “Yes…like a baby…” This has been my fear over the past few weeks waiting for My Gump Ride…
Fifth stage – acceptance. It is what it is. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. I’m a Doherty dammit! This ride is going to happen no matter what. So, when you have a fever, you sweat it out, right? A bike ride when it’s 80 degrees with 80% humidity is the perfect remedy, right?! I’m going to sweat these cooties out of my body. This is nothing compared to what Michael suffered…I can do this!
And then I thought of something a South African psychologist co-worker with the perfectly schooled British accent once said to a group of friends, “Alice thinks she’s 20-years-old, despite her current situation.” I laughed…because I knew he was right. It was like laughing Death in the face. Yup…I don’t do sick…and I’m not giving up or giving in or allowing this ailing body to decide my fate…
…and this thought process all happened within 48 hours…
In customary (and habitually learned) fashion, my left foot stepped onto the left pedal as I attempted to mount Old Bessie. And, in customary (and habitually learned) fashion, as I swung my right leg over her saddle and pressed the three middle fingers of each hand on the brake levers, I felt a sudden halt, handlebars violently twisting to my right, throwing me backwards onto a concrete driveway…
First thought: “Oh shit!”
Second thought: “Hurt me, not the bike!”
Third thought: “Oh shit…I’m gonna fall!”
Fourth thought: “Remember breaking your left hand?! DON’T put out your left hand dumbass!”
Fifth thought: “You forgot your bike gloves…”
Sixth thought: “Did anyone see that?!”
Seventh thought: “Alice thinks she’s 20-years-old…”
Eigth thought: “DANG! My brakes needed some serious adjustment!”
So what did I do? After a couple of f-bombs, I left all my gear (including my phone, bluetooth and iPod) in the driveway (thank you thieves for not stealing my stuff). I walked into the house clutching my left arm, wiggled my fingers, washed out the wound, asked my husband to bandage it, hopped on my bike and went for a ride to my go-to place…I’m a Doherty dammit!
“Look at me
Look at me
Driving and I won’t stop
And it feels so good to be
Alive and on top”
Handlebars – Flobots
“I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.” – Forrest Gump