Falling Slowly

My big ride this week was an 80-miler scheduled for early Saturday morning. Funny how I had planned all week going over route after route and getting advice from all the local experienced bicyclists… and I ended up not doing any of the discussed routes!!! But everything worked out in the end.

Here’s how it went:
3:45 alarm blares. I smash it into snooze oblivion.
3:50 alarm blares again. Ok Ok!!! I’m up! I’m up!
4:10 I’m all dressed, teeth are brushed and hair is braided back. I grab my garmin and the two lights charging in my office. I get my water bottles out of the kitchen. I make my coffee and bagel and say a cuss word when I see that someone ate all the peanut butter!! (I’m not nice in the morning)
4:30 I put air in the tires, attach the lights, pack my chomps, gu and check the brakes. Slip on my clips, take a spin around the block to make sure all is well and zoom off the parking lot to wait for the rest of the gang.
4:45… the gang no shows
5:00 Wheels down. I head North. I had spoken to all the other bicycles gangs in the area and took note of their departure times and routes so within a few minutes, I had already hooked up with a new gang that I had never met around Edinburg. Their pace was a bit slower than mine so it was easy to have that familiar discussion… “Hey, your bike! That’s the orange bike! Are you Myssie?”

It was early and I still had a long ways to go so I did the “click click” after a short while and jumped onto the next group along the familiar 5am Wake up ride route going South on Jackson. While it was surprisingly cooler than expected, it was still quite humid. I was going through water pretty fast.

7:00 I see the 2nd street overpass and tell myself to attack it with all I have. I set my gears in place, I fire up my quads and mash it with all my might. I did it!! One gear and seated!! The runners along the trail whoop and holler and my arm shoots up with proud fists. As I descend the hill, I see the Team in Training group… AND THE WATER STATION!!! I zoom by for a free refill and snap some goofy shots of us together and I’m on my way again.

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Once I hit Military Road, I feel like Switzerland. My mind goes back to a conversation about bicycle gangs and how it was expected to be a part of one or be shunned by all. I smile, relieved that all the groups that had congregated along the road over the next few hours all waved at me and welcomed me to join in with them along their rides. All up and down from Edinburg to Pharr to McAllen to Mission to Granjeno to Penitas and back, every single bike group welcomed me… or was it that they welcomed the “orange bike”??? I have to admit, my bike is quite famous now.

At my midway point, I stop for fuel and to check my stats at the corner convenience store on the corner of Shary Road. It is where most of the cyclists meet for the same reasons. While I’m there, several bikers surround me to check in and see how I’m doing. A few ask about a close friend of mine who also cycles and triathlons (is that a verb?) with me. Maritza had lost her brother just two days before while he was on his bike in a tragic tractor trailer accident shortly after he returned from his tour of duty. The news had begun to spread quickly and left us all with heavy hearts.

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The group made sure I was ok and I was off to meet up with another group at the Butterfly park. However, it was this short little time when I was alone that my worst nightmare came true.

I had traveled the road a hundred times. I knew how to go over rail road tracks correctly and did so each time. But this one time… when I was alone… it all went awry.

In a split second, the tracks seems to catch my tire perfectly. I was thrown, attached to my bike with my clips, into the middle lane and right in front of oncoming traffic. I remember it in slow motion… Falling slowly…I had to have flown at least ten feet into the air and onto the next lane. My head hit the street and then my elbow and then I hear the crash of my bike. “Don’t get up Myssie. Don’t get up. The 18-wheeler is going to run over you right now. You’re going to die. You’re going to die now.”

I turn my head slowly under and to my left. The 18-wheeler had stopped just in time. I was not going to die.

A kind stranger, Joel Sanchez, saw the whole thing unfold before him. He stopped. He drove an Aggie maroon colored hunting truck with camouflage upholstery and picked me up from the street. He swooped up my bike into the bed of his angel guided vehicle. This wonderful man took me to the same corner store to help clean my scrapes and put my chain back onto my bike. And just as he appeared from nowhere… he escaped to nowhere once again.

Just as I was about to throw in the towel and call someone to pick me up… the next group of angels arrived. He was a preacher and he had with him a child, a 15-year old bicycle prodigy trying to escape a life of gangs and drugs via the world of bikes. God speaks to me. Some times quite loudly.

We went on for another 20 plus miles after that. They even escorted me home to make sure I made it safely.

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A few blocks from home I asked myself how I really felt. I was surprised that I felt like I could easily go another 20 more miles… easy. Granted, not FAST… but easy. I could do it. I feel really good about my training. I had a good scare. I am lucky. But I feel my calling now more than ever before. There must be a reason I am here doing what I’m doing. Someone really important is going to benefit from my fundraising. I may never meet this person but I know deep in my heart, this person is just as important as my mom was to me.

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6 Responses to “Falling Slowly”

  1. oscarogomez Says:

    I am glad to know you are okay Myssie. I love your blog!! Ride strong!

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on RunMyssieRun and commented:

    Sometimes a story needs to be told again. The author needed to remember how it felt to ride well, strong and fast even when she fell and after fully expecting to be flattened by that 18-wheeler on that beautiful morning three years ago. I am doing really well on my trainer but I can’t seem to transfer that same ability onto the road again. Call out to other cyclists… how do you deal with the anxiety of road cycling? I have less than 10 weeks to get over this. Your help and advice is appreciated.

    Like

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