July 10, 2019
Setting out on an adventure to bike across America from coast to coast brought a lot of people here to follow that adventure as it happened. Since it came to a premature end, I know plenty of followers have questions and have been patiently waiting for them to be answered. Hopefully, this post will take care of that.
At the time this entry is published, four weeks have passed since my last day of riding as well as the posting of the previous blog entry. In that time I’ve been struggling with how to put a wrap to this adventure. The delay of taking my thoughts from private reflection to public script is due to a combination of occurrences. This entry has undergone several re-writings and hours of editing all to find the right words. This final draft does a pretty decent job of bringing this to a conclusion. I just have to accept that no amount of re-writing will get it to a point that I’ll be truly content.
Another cause for a delayed posting has been a string of weak excuses, such as having many things on my to-do list and my injuries limiting how quickly I can get them done. Let’s just call it what it is… Simple procrastination.
Figured the best way to begin this wrap up is by addressing the main premise; answering the popular questions I’ve been getting about what happened, how I’m doing, what I intend to do now, etc.
The number one question I’ve been fielding is: How did the ride come to an end? The last blog entry prior to this one tells of that day’s events and how my accident occurred. To keep this entry from getting wordier than it needs to be, I’m going to point you to that blog post for that answer. Day 12
The second most popular question I’ve been getting is how far did I ride? The ride came to an end a few miles shy of traversing the entire state of North Carolina for a total of 528 miles. Made it to day twelve of what was supposed to be a three-month adventure.
The last post ended with me stating that I was sitting in a motel room waiting to hear who was coming to get me. This had a lot of people asking how I got home. My ‘unscheduled appointment with the pavement’ happened Wednesday morning and I was home by Friday afternoon thanks to my Mom and Dad, who drove from Michigan to North Carolina to pick me up.
Thank you to everybody that reached out concerned about how I was getting home. A special thanks to those that made offers to come and get me.
As for questions of how I’m healing after being thrown over the handlebars, here is the laundry list of what was injured and how it’s doing. I’m surprised my right thigh never developed a bruise. The left shoulder stopped reminding a couple of weeks ago that, in a not so delightful way, it met the pavement too. As of this writing, my left wrist is fully functional but still gives me occasional shooting pain if moved wrong and what constitutes a “wrong movement” seems to never be the same. By the way, the bike sustained no damage. Not even a scratch.
If the previously listed injuries had been just those, I’d likely still be riding. The ride ending fracture in my right arm did not require casting. Protocol for the type and level of fracture I sustained is splinting with incremental decreased use of the splint and increasing movement of the arm. Healing time is roughly a total of 6-weeks. Today the arm is still in a fairly constant dull ache but getting much better.
Just a few days after my return I was back into the gym for some weight training. Have been taking the training relatively easy with exercises and resistance that will not put a strain on my right arm. Have invented a couple of exercises variations to work around my injury. Even though my training level is currently at a fraction of what I normally do, it just feels good to be training again. It’s more psychological than physical. Before anybody jumps right to the comment section to tell me to “be careful and take it easy” Please remember I work in Physical Therapy.
Since my right side is my dominant side, the first couple of weeks everyday task took quadruple the time it normally would. With practice and decreased pain, that time has greatly improved. However, I occasionally find entertainment in how inept my left hand is with simple tasks such as using a toothbrush and a fork. When dining with others I apologize up front that my eating style is now akin to that of a toddler.
A popular question I’m getting is; once I heal will I go back to finish the ride? This I can say for sure… Not this year. Even without a 6-week disruption, my original timeline had me reaching Oregon early fall. With my pace and the miles remaining, the time just doesn’t exist to beat the cold weather. As for the question that typically follows the previous; will I go back and finish it next year? All I can say is I’m not thinking about that right now. My number one focus is rehabbing myself back to 100% and figuring out how to generate a source of income with my temporary physical limitations, which leads to the next question.
Since I quit my job, will the company hire me back? The simple answer is yes but very likely not in the same building or at full-time status. I left with a promise that I would reach out to them once I was back. A few weeks ago I contacted the regional manager to inform her of my situation and intentions. The bottom line is, I need to be cleared by my physician, that I’m able to meet the physical requirements of the job before we can talk about positions within the company. As of this writing, I’m at least a couple of weeks away from even be assessed.
This trip sure had its collection of “hapless events“ in the short time I was on the route. To keep the story flowing I’m just going to briefly list those trials below. If you’re not familiar with the details and want to know more, you will have to do some reading, starting with Day One.
– A misunderstanding that had me searching for a ride from Michigan to North Carolina just a couple days prior to departure.
– Fraudulent charges from my bank account.
– A pretty severe thunderstorm while camping on Cape Lookout.
– My GPS Spot locator not working correctly for the first couple of days.
– An issue with my iPad keyboard.
– A large piece of metal puncturing my front tire.
– A daily feeling of nausea that would come and go.
– Four straight days of riding and camping in near record setting rain.
– Road flooding and mudslides resulting in a detour which negated about a days worth of riding.
That’s all the adversity that comes to mind at the moment, but the end effect is my ‘not so smooth’ series of occurrences had me talking to God. Couldn’t help but compare this adventure to my Great Divide Mountain Bike Route adventure, which I completed four years ago. That ride was the force behind wanting to do this one. Sure the Great Divide ride was physically demanding beyond compare, but I was truly blessed with the things I saw and how events of fortune came together those entire sixty-two days. Guess I was expecting all that to continue onto this adventure.
The mounting daily tribulations, had me asking out loud if these trials were placed before me to test my fortitude or were they signs to say; this is not my ride, not at this time.
Got my answer in a very definitive manner… God pushed me off my bike.
Yes, I’m calling my accident divine intervention and feel truly blessed. Reality is the results could have been much worse than a fracture in my arm.
When declaring several months ago that biking across America was my next adventure, this is not the closing blog post I was anticipating. Coming up way short of a goal is not a story I want to tell and, as mentioned at the beginning, it has taken me four weeks to bring it to words for others to read and ponder.
A few people have inquired about my state of mind; “All that preparation and your dream is over”. Not going to lie, when the final verdict was delivered, that my pain is the result of a fracture, the reality that I’m done riding hit me pretty hard.
The support of encouraging friends and a loving family helped me surrender to the understanding that stuff happens and no amount of dwelling on what happened will change it. Mostly I have to thank my girlfriend Julie for her love and support, helping be at peace with my adventure ending prematurely. Since I’ve been back, she’s made this the best summer. Everything happens for a reason.
Being at peace with what happened is one thing, but there is another aspect at play here too. I’m sure most are familiar with the old saying; “You’re only as good as your last ______________” For me, that is blank is filled with the word ‘adventure’, and well…
The Great Divide has been a fond recollection that would enter my consciousness at least once a day ever since it ended, but the past month it has since slipped to being an afterthought, at best. When talking about the Great Divide adventure I now have this feeling of irreverence towards it.
Truth is my adventurous spirit has taken a bit of hit. Along with physical rehab, I am working to restore my passion for adventure and dreaming big.
Thank you to everybody that followed this adventure and provided words of encouragement along the way and prior to my departure. Just wish there would have been much more story to tell and concluding with an ending in Oregon.
I’m very grateful to all of the generous people that sponsored my American Trail Adventure to help kick it off. Although I feel like I let a lot of people down by not completing it. Therefore I’m offering to return anybody’s donation that wishes. Please contact me through this link. Contact me