Be Relentless

          Don’t let adversity keep you down; and as you get back up, be relentless in pursuing your goals and dreams; go after them with more ferocity than ever before.

          Fight and work hard for what you want. Use any anger and frustration as extra fuel for your desire and determination to be the best that you can possibly be…

          This past year has been full of so many ups and downs (most freak-accident related) that I’ve sort of lost count. Ask any of my friends here in the ‘burg and they’ll all agree: I always seem to have some unfortunate thing happen to me every few months. I like to think it’s because I play hard, not because I’m some unlucky freak. Haha.

          Jokes aside though, last week I experienced my first true bike crash. It’s been an interesting experience to learn from.

          It happened last Tuesday night on my 2nd ride with the fast boyz. We were heading for Reddish, and by mile 10 I was working by myself to catch them. I think it was about halfway up the 6 mile summit climb that I finally caught back up. After checking out the gorgeous views and hanging with the rest of the group at the top, I decided to start my descent ahead of them, knowing full well they would catch me before hitting the reservoir.

          I was riding rather nonchalantly – not trying to go as fast as I possibly could, nor drag my brakes the entire way down; just having a fun time.  I never felt the need to get down into the drops.

          That’s the biggest point worth noting. Had I been in the drops, my hands might not have been jumped off the handlebar after hitting the “invisible” pothole (even at 35-40mph). Lesson learned: descend in the drops.

          I remember everything. From trying for a split reflexive millisecond to get my hands back on the bars, to having the whole left side of my body and head smash into the road and hearing the gravel tear at both myself and my bike as we skidded across the road into the dirt.

          I was alone when it happened, but lying on my back, yelling for help, I knew the guys would find me.

          Let me tell you, those guys are my heroes; my knights in shining armor. They stayed with me until help came, kept me calm when it felt like I was gonna lose it, tied my gushing arm up with their clothing… One came with me in the ambulance, while another brought me a snack/goodybag while in the ER. I am forever grateful to them for the help and support they gave me that night.

          The ER was rough, but I found out there that I was a very lucky girl. I came away from that crash with my worst injury being a gash in my elbow that needed 10 stitches; the rest was road rash. No broken bones, no dislocations, no concussion. Though, my helmet did crack.

          The next 2 days were about sleeping (when possible) and moving around as little as I could. After I was finally able to shower without shaking from pain, things began to turn around. Armed with a whole new stash of first aid gear and clothes that fit over/around my bandages, day 4 brought with it a 5 mile townie ride. It felt good! Getting my blood flowing helped reduce the swelling in my arms and hips, and just being able to get out of the apartment helped my mentality become much more positive. I had been determined to get back on the bike ASAP. No time for pity, or fear, or self-doubt. “Just do it,” as both Nike and my boyfriend like to say.

Since then I have been out on 2 more rides, and one run. Each activity feels better than the last and leaves me feeling almost pain free for the rest of the day. And now when I’m out on my bike or running down the road, I tell myself, “Be relentless, Kelly. Be extraordinary. WORK FOR IT.”

I have my dreams and I don’t dare give them up when things get tough. Though adversity has been the little devil accompanying me on my shoulder, I don’t dare listen to the doubt it tries to instill. The crash was bad. I’ve been in pain since then. But I am OK. Recovery isn’t without pain, but that doesn’t mean it’s also without positive experiences. Training is the same way. Some days are harder, they’ll hurt more than others, but that’s what makes you better; stronger. And when you have to learn from mistakes, you walk away smarter, more prepared than you were before for whatever challenges await you in the future.
 

1 week post-crash: Massanutten Overlook

1 week post-crash: Massanutten Overlook