And So It Begins Again

Four years ago – almost to the day – I had a cycling accident.

I was tired and I tend to make mistakes when I’m tired.  It happened towards the end of a 100 km ride and I was preoccupied with the increasing traffic on the 4-lane road … so I didn’t notice I was about to ride head-on into a concrete boulevard.  Don’t ask – just nod and accept the fact that sometimes I manage remarkable feats that might not otherwise make sense.

I became a human projectile as I flew over my handlebars and broke my fall with my face as I landed on the concrete. To my surprise and dismay, I couldn’t get back up.

The world was spinning at a sickening speed and I lay panting on the ground with the edges of my vision turning black.  I was trying desperately not to pass out.  A motorist had stopped and called an ambulance.  I remember thinking that the ride to the nearest hospital felt like it took hours.

I was lucky that day.  My body took a major rattle, but there were no broken bones and – more importantly – all my teeth were still intact.  Even the scars on my face from the considerable road-rash have since healed to faint shadows that are apparent only to me.

Although it wasn’t the first crash I ever had – it wasn’t even the first crash where I banged up my face – but this one left me afraid.  After almost 10 years as a long distance cyclist, I was afraid of my bike – and afraid to ride outside.

So why am I telling this story now?

Well, an opportunity to go to Thailand on a cycling tour is in the planning stage – it is a potential reunion of the friends who all climbed Kilimanjaro together 6 years ago.  It is a trip on bicycle of over a 1,000 km from Bangkok to Phuket.  I want to go – I really, really want to do this.

Problem is … I haven’t rode a bike for 4 years.  I didn’t intend that to happen.  It just became easier to defend as each day went by.

Coach-Potato-Joanne is horrified at the thought of cycling again.  The fear of the crash hasn’t been forgotten. The training needed to recover that level of cycling fitness again – within the next 17 months – feels insurmountable.  Quite frankly, I was never a great cyclist to begin with and the memories are still fresh of a chronically tender butt, funny tan lines and the tyranny of hours and hours spent on a bike seat.

Joanne-The-Adventurer is having none of this negativity.  She’s cooing soothing and confident words about goals, challenges, and – damn her – facing our fears and doing it anyway.  She can barely contain her excitement.

This morning, Joanne-The-Adventurer dragged out all our cycling gear, dusted off the bike, and – sandwiched between 2 large rain systems – rode outside for an hour.  It was a glorious start.

bicycle

Photo taken with Samsung Galaxy

So now the next steps are to convince Gilles this is a great idea and develop a training plan that will get me ready for this challenge.  It’s not going to be an easy journey – the body is older and not as resilient as it once was.

… and so it begins again with a shiny new goal dangling in front of my face.  Stay tuned – it could get interesting.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Active Lifestyle, Adventure, Outdoor Stuff, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

108 Responses to And So It Begins Again

  1. jannatwrites says:

    Wow, your sense of adventure is inspiring. If I’d had a crash like that, I would have sold the bike (given it away) and said, “what bike?” I hope you are able to get a plan in place and make that trip.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      hahahaha! It did cross my mind 😉
      I seriously wondered if I would ever ride again.
      I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous out on the roads again. It has changed me and made me a LOT more cautious than I was before.
      That’s not necessarily a bad thing though 🙂

      We are keeping an eye on events in Thailand. Obviously we are a bit anxious about the unrest there right now – there are certain risks we will never want to take. In the meantime, I’m trying to become friends with my bike again 🙂

      Like

  2. Jean says:

    As long as the roads are paved, etc. in Thailand?

    I’m recovering from a cycling accident after a cyclist biked fast and crashed on top of me in Vancouver while on bike path on this past New Year’s Day.

    I did have a concussion where I had to be in bed for 2 months….get over dizziness which I have. Also had to relearn walking again..later without someone beside me, etc.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      That sounds so much more serious than my crash. Within a couple of days I was ok except for the road rash.

      I will certainly be so much more cautious during this training … older and wiser 🙂

      Like

  3. You know you HAVE to do this! How could you not? Coach-Potato-Joanne, it’s all going to be okay. It will Be Fun. Would Joanne-The-Adventurer lie to you? Of course not. Trust me.

    (BTW, I have to stop grabbing blog post reading in between gulping breakfast, chasing kids and getting to work. I read this but didn’t even realise I hadn’t commented on it until I opened it thinking I hadn’t read it. Sigh. Ah well, holidays coming soon and some leisurely blog reading is in order. Geez, I might even write one. 🙂 )

    Like

  4. Alex Hurst says:

    Good luck!! That sounds like me and rollerskates. I had a horrible fall down a steep incline that ended with permanent scarring on my left knee. I probably won’t pick them up again, though (there’s nowhere to ride them!)

    Like

  5. I have such admiration for you. I have a bit of a similar story but it involves a horse. No accidents, just health stuff that got in my way. I am pulling for you, you can do this. I hear determination and confidence growing in your comments!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Horses fall into an entirely different category for me. I’m actually a little afraid of them. I’ve been on a horse a couple of times but I can’t say I really enjoyed it.

      Like

  6. treerabold says:

    You’ve got this!! I am slightly jealous of this opportunity…but I am far from prepared for such a long ride. My goal at this point is to ride my first 100 (miles) by next summer. In the future I hope to take a trip like this!
    But I digress….back to you….you’ve got this!! I get the fear. As I was learning to use my clips last month I fell 3 times in 2 days. But once i had a successful ride without falling my confidence soared. Did I mention….you’ve got this!! I look forward to cheering you on!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks! Couch-Potato-Joanne and Joanne-The-Adventurer are still duking it out, but this is the type of opportunity that will be seriously regretted if I don’t seize it.

      I’m very much goal oriented and without a race I don’t train. I just can’t motivate myself. In my head, this is the equivalent of a race and I believe it is doable.
      It’s nice to know I’ve got so much enthusiastic support behind me 🙂

      Good luck in your riding. Do you have a specific event you are training for? There are lots of Centurion events (100-milers) to choose from.

      Like

      • treerabold says:

        The big one around here is the Hotter’n Hell 100. It’s held at the end of August.
        I just don’t see myself being ready this year because I’ll be traveling (to/from Canada) for 2 weeks right before the ride. So I am shooting for next year.

        I believe in The-Adventurer Joanne! She will kick The Couch-Potato Joanne’s butt!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. LB says:

    Ah Joanne, I’m so proud of you for getting back on that bike. Having had my own two wheeled accident, I know the anxiety of getting back on. And the more time that goes by, the more the head gets into the game.
    I’m excited for your new adventure of travel and proud of you for answering the call.
    I’ll be here rooting for you and riding along with you!

    Like

  8. I’m cheering on Joanne-the-Adventurer but holding Couch-Potato-Joanne’s hand and assuring her that if she eases into training gently she is going to be ok. A trip to Thailand to cycle with friends is not something to miss out on. Looking forward to the planning and training. Go go go!!! (Read your post and hung on every word, so glad you are fully recovered).

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Couch-Potato-Joanne doesn’t have a chance with this one. It is unlikely I will get another opportunity to do this and I do not intend to risk regret because I was too intimidated to do the training!!
      Go Big!! 🙂

      Like

  9. stvrsnbrgr says:

    Phuket… or bust! Grab victory from the jaws of defeat! #TeamSisco

    Like

  10. Megz says:

    Way to go getting back on the bike! it’s tough getting up the courage to do that after such a traumatic experience. And i think i’m familiar with those two storm systems of which you speak…

    Like

  11. NancyTex says:

    I think it’s awesome that you are planning this! Ed much prefers cycling to walking, running or hiking. I am the opposite. We all know how much I hate running, so when I say I’d rather run than bike… 🙂 Not sure what it is about cycling. Definitely hate the ass and crotch soreness. More than that though, I think I dislike the feeling of me not being in full control (which is crazy, because you control the bike…). On my feet I know that I only need to stop moving my feet to stop. On a bike, or roller blades, or skis, I can stop moving, but momentum keeps me going forward (i.e. lack of control). I truly think that’s what it is for me.

    Anyhow, I wish you all the best in training and participating in this trip.

    p.s. If you hear of a walking/hiking version of this trip, please let me know. 🙂 I’m all over it!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I have to admit that I like speed … not that I’m a fast cyclist. Like you though, I have serious butt issues on the bike and I’ve tried just about everything known to the cycling world for relieving that pain.

      After cycling 100 km per day for 10 days, I might never want to see a bike again. Having said that, I have to survive the training first and experience has taught me that surviving the training is 80% of the battle!!

      Like

      • NancyTex says:

        It’s actually less my ass and more my crotch. I used to say after doing the 50k ride for heart a couple of years in a row, “my va-jay-jay is broken”.

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          hmmm – then it sounds like your bike might not be properly adjusted for you. That shouldn’t hurt. You might have a relatively easy fix.

          I’ve never done the Ride For Heart … the whole “aversion to crowds” thing. On a bike it would be pretty awful.

          Like

  12. Amazing Joanne, the Bike Chick CAN do it! Go for it. What a challenge. I feel the bike seat pain but I know you’ll find a way. Hope you’ll find photo opportunities to share with us. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

  13. You’re a superstar, Joanne. YOU CAN DO THIS. You’ve done the most difficult thing – get back on your bike. You’ve also done the other most difficult thing- tell the world about it. And you have a goal and a time scale and a reward! You’re practically there! I will be watching this space. Best of luck xx

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you Carol. I really appreciate such wonderfully kind and supportive words ❤
      This is the same kind of opportunity that Kili was. At my age, it is unlikely the opportunity will come around again and I don't want to miss it.
      I have never trained for something like this before … planning the training is the next big hurdle … and getting Gilles on-side of course 😉

      Like

  14. bulldog says:

    I can only admire your tenacity and courage… a brave brave woman…

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks ❤

      Actually, last night the repercussions of writing this post finally occurred to me. What if I failed? What if I don't do the training, etc, etc, etc? For someone like me, sticking my neck out like this is almost a virtual guarantee of success in order to avoid abject humiliation.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Su Leslie says:

    Joanne: I so admire your courage. I’m sure with your determination and meticulous planning it will all come together and be a wonderful experience.

    Like

  16. shoreacres says:

    I’m going to be using a particularly favorite video in a post in a couple of weeks, but I think you might enjoy it now. There’s something about it that always strengthens me: that makes me feel strong and happy. The first lyrics are:

    If all the days that come to pass
    Are behind these walls,
    I’ll be left at the end of things
    In a world kept small.

    Travel far from what I know,
    I’ll be swept away.
    I need to know I can be lost
    And not afraid.

    We’re gonna trip the light,
    We’re gonna break the night,
    And we’ll see with new eyes
    When we trip the light…

    And so on. Here’s the video. (I originally came across it because our town’s fire department — League City — is in it, at 0:57!)

    Like

  17. Joe says:

    I think its great that you got back on a bike again to face your fears Joanne 🙂 I don’t know if I totally agree with having to train for 17 months then entering a long distance ride. I feel that being you faced your fears and got back on a bike you have nothing else to prove, but thats just my humble opinion 🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks for the very kind words. I don’t want to regret not doing this. I’m not a stranger to hard work and I think the experience will be amazing. I suspect it’s going to hurt a lot … but amazing just the same 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Mrs. P says:

    Something tells me that couch potato Joanne doesn’t stand a chance…I still have a hard time picturing you as this mega physical being. WOW! You are like Clarke Kent turning into superman. I am so in awe of your physical ability. I feel pretty confident that you will get through all the hurdles if you really want to do it. I suspect you pretty much get what you want…that’s a compliment. Good for you in having BIG goals!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you so much Mrs P. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a big, audacious goal like this one. It feels really good … and truthfully, rather scary.
      I had to laugh at your description of the ‘mega physical being’. If you knew the reality of this more-than pudgy person, you’d laugh too. I actually don’t have the physical ability – even at my best, I was a poor cyclist, and I’m no where near being at my best right now.
      However I believe that even people without the talent and ability can achieve big goals with effort and determination. That I have a lot of!!

      Like

  19. From a couch potato’s couch potato, I applaud you. I cannot recall where I heard this – it may have been you? Something your brother said? When facing an apparent insurmountable obstacle, just put your head down and focus on the steps immediately before you. Bite off the steps on manageable chunk at a time until you’ve consumed the entire lot. Et voilà!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Step 1 – take bike out on road. Check.
      Step 2 – develop a training plan.
      Step 3 – convince Gilles it’s a good plan.

      I can do all this!!
      Couch-Potato-Joanne is currently curled up in the corner moaning softly sucking on her thumb 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  20. M-R says:

    Enormous courage, my dear – I compliment you very sincerely !

    Like

  21. Norm 2.0 says:

    I so hope you find a way to make it happen, that trip sounds amazing.
    I’ve had a few accidents myself over the years and luckily no broken bones. It’s not always easy but as you accumulate the training miles the accidents slip into the past where they belong.
    Most importantly is to be doing it for the right reasons: to have fun 🙂

    Like

  22. Sammy D. says:

    Joanne – it takes such courage and humility to admit our fears and move forward in spite of them. It sounds like a terrific trip with friends you’ve shared challenging travels with before. But the preparation is a journey in itself. You won’t regrt the miles you ride; only the ones you don’t. I will certainly be in your spirit journey every kilometer!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      That is exactly it, Sammy. I will really regret it if I don’t go. This is a must-do experience … and the training will be worth it – even if it is literally a pain in the butt 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sammy D. says:

        Joanne – I just finished a hilly riding route that used to take me an hour and today took two hours. I have been afraid to ride it ever since my accident two years ago. I rode more slowly; stopped more often to stretch; and yelled out far more ‘BIKER APPROACHING’ around curves than my former warrior self.

        I don’t care. I DID IT. And I thought of you and our inner warriors the whole way.

        PS i, too, have trouble sometimes discerning approahing obstacles and often come ‘this close’ to crashing into something. There is one particular gray metal gate on gray gravel road that, when closed, is impossible for me to see because it blends right in. Hub and others have no problem seeing it. I have to be very mindful not to be admiring the wild grasses and listening to the birds through that stretch and have had too many near misses ( I’m going to take some pink plastic ribbon to tie on it!!)

        All this is a long-winded way of saying “We are Saddle Sisters.” 💖💖 perhaps we no longer Go for The Gusto but we definitely Pedal with Power.

        Like

  23. C.E.Robinson says:

    How about a visual of the course you’re going to ride. Also a visual about the course you’re going to train on. Maybe it would settle your mind about specific obstacles that you’d face, and could avoid. I know a lot of what you’ll experience is in the unknown, however turning your mind into strategy thinking instead of fear thinking could get you back on the road again with some joy, and not trepidation. Happy Trails! I’m in your cheering circle! Christine

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I like that – strategy thinking instead of fear thinking! My Ironman training was so dominated by fear thinking – as in, I don’t know whether I can do this, this is so hard, I’ll never make it, etc.
      I will need to start thinking about ways to make this much more positive and FUN. It’s supposed to be fun, right?!! 🙂

      Like

  24. Wow – this is quite the challenge for anybody but at least you have done serious cycling in the past so you know what is ahead of you! Another option – that even had me, a never cycler, interested in the potential of a cycling holiday – I saw mentioned once by a fellow blogger…an electric bike! You peddle as much as you can manage but if you just can’t anymore you switch over. I’m sure you can do just about anything you put your mind to but there may be alternatives to all or nothing. Just saying.

    Like

  25. mickscogs says:

    Well done! A concrete boulevard? I had to look that up,as we do have boulevards here. I assume bollard. I used to cycle a lot many years ago and had 3 medium level accidents in one month. I really backed off after that and have never recovered. However, I still do ride occasionally; not so much lately. I think you’ll have a ball in Thailand. You’ll be on the left but I assume you’ve done that before. With a group will give you some security. And such great food! Very jealous.

    Like

  26. Heyjude says:

    You’ll do it. Adventurer Joanne sounds so much more assertive than Couch Potato Joanne. I have every faith in you and lots of admiration. Though you had me gasping over that accident – not nice.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I definitely don’t want a repeat of that one.

      I’m always wildly enthusiastic in the beginning and then get a major reality check when the going gets tough. There will dark and gloomy days ahead – I have to keep my eye on the prize 🙂

      Like

      • Heyjude says:

        Well good luck to you. I know I couldn’t do it, not been on a bike since I was in my thirties! Had a moment of terror recently when I climbed up a cliff for a view and then found it very difficult to get back down! My right leg is not as flexible as it used to be and I also hadn’t realised just how steep the cliff was.

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          I can relate to that Jude. I’ve noticed the past few years that I’m having some difficulty with descents – even on a couple of stairs. It’s almost a bit of vertigo.
          I always hike with a pole because it gives more stability on descents – especially on uneven terrain. That ‘3rd leg’ makes a huge difference.

          Like

  27. Corina says:

    Yay for you! It’s not easy to get over something like that, at any age. But you’ve set an amazing goal once again and I know you can accomplish it! Happy training!

    Like

  28. bikerchick57 says:

    Joanne, that is a goal worthy of a cheer. Rah! Rah!

    I give you much credit for getting back on the bike after four years and taking on a goal of this magnitude. You can do it, if you are willing, and it sounds as though you are. I will keep cheering for you on this journey, from the seat of my bike to the seat of yours. Go Joanne, Go!

    Like

  29. David says:

    How courageous! Good luck and looking forward to read more on this trip

    Like

  30. Mara Eastern says:

    That’s a nasty experience, good that you recovered and even are back to cycling now! So, take care.

    Like

  31. pike says:

    Good luck, Joanne!

    Like

  32. Wooo-hooo! I sense a new spreadsheet coming on with this new challenge! You really are something, lady! Admiration coming right across the border right to you! Once you’re built up a little bit….I hear the Falls are pretty magnificent in the summertime too! LOL.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      It’s funny you should mention the Falls … that’s where I crashed. Used to do a fair amount of riding in the Niagara Falls area … haven’t since that day.

      … and I’m laughing about the spreadsheet. How could you know me so well? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Helen C says:

    Yeah! Great positive story. Such a terrible experience (My body hurt when I read the part of you falling off the bike) and you could tell it in a humorous way… I admire you. Can’t wait to reading more.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Helen. I’m glad I can see the humour in it even though for the smallest fraction of a second before I landed I thought I was going to die. It certainly could have ended much, much worse.

      I was quite nervous out riding this morning, but at the same time it felt better than I could have hoped for – even if it was just a short one 🙂

      Like

  34. Lynn says:

    Way to go Joanne! Facing our fears, especially physical ones as we age, is a huge challenge! I am so proud of you for getting back on your bike! Perhaps we could arrange a few rides together over the summer. We have some lovely areas to cycle in & given how out of shape I am these days, I think we would make a great pair!

    Like

  35. lovetotrav says:

    Yay for you for getting back on that bike! The first steps needed to take on this fun and exciting challenge. And all that yummy Thai food and beautiful Thai scenery waiting for you… that is highly motivating… and then the beach at the end of the journey. Sounds like a perfect challenge. Go for it! Your butt will never thank you but your mouth and eyes will!!

    Like

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