Wednesday, October 24, 2012

post trauma loss of courage

Shenandoah St. /Guthrie looking north.
I meant to write this yesterday but will record it today.

I think my accident on Labor Day 2011 may have left me more damaged than I originally thought.  I don't mean physical damage.  It is damage to my courage.  While most of the time I can simply ride my bike around without any problem, I find myself being very timid with rough spots in the road.   Lately it seems to be worse for some reason.  Well, I have nearly lost my balance a couple of times and aggravated an old injury in my foot, so I know I am being cautious because of that.  Any little extra bumpiness in the pavement seems to make me slow down to a crawl, tho.  I don't have the confidence I used to.  My confidence is particularly bad going west on Venice Blvd. between National and the 405.  Going east is not so bad there, but west is fraught with obstacles.  I cannot just comfortably swing out into traffic to move around things in the bike lane despite seeing others do it, and so I am slow in the bike lane.  But it isn't just the bike lane.

Yesterday National just seemed overwhelming to me, so I thought I'd take a back alley to hook up with Regent.  But the moment I hit the back alley, I sort of froze... the road was terribly rough and uneven, and I suddenly lost confidence in my ability to balance... and I froze... unable to move forward for several seconds.  Finally I simply dismounted the bike and walked it to a smoother area.  As it turned out, the alley was a dead end and I had to backtrack to National, but I froze again when I came to that rough part...then I froze again when it was time to move onto National.  I don't know what's wrong with me lately.  Of course I'm terrified of being injured again like I was a year ago.  That pain was so horrific.  I was so happy to get back onto Regent and smoother streets.  I watch those ruts in the street - anything that could catch my tire and flip me off the bike.  And every time I narrowly miss one of those ruts, I feel a surge of adrenelin from fear. 

When I had the crash, I could not get up for several minutes.  I wasn't sure if my kneecap was shattered.  I wasn't sure if my knee would hold my weight.  I didn't know how to get up on one leg, and it wasn't like anyone was helping me up.  When I finally did get up, I had to get back on my bike no matter how severe the injury... I had to pedal, and that was almost impossible.  I gave my left leg all the work and my right leg just was there for the ride, but I was seeing stars as I was riding... so slowly.

I want to ride the PCH, but I keep hearing about cyclists being killed on it, even though cyclists ride it all the time.  But I have a panic when a big city bus goes by me, so how will I ever fair with traffic at 55+ mph?

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