Sliding Doors

We are all aware of the ‘sliding doors’ scenario. As one opportunity is missed, another one takes its place. Sometimes for better, and other times for the worse. But no matter what choices we make, we will end up where we were meant to be.

This was the case on the day of my cycling accident, it could have ended up much differently had I made other choices on my first 25 kms of the ride.

As I headed towards Safety Beach, I slipped in behind another cyclist who was moving a few kms quicker than my normal pace, but I decided i should try and keep up with him for as long as possible and increase my stamina.

Sitting in his slipstream for 5 or so kms, I thought to myself this could be one of my quicker rides of the year. But as we approached a street heading up towards Arthur’s Seat, he turned into the street and I decided to continue with my original plan and do the hill climb of Arthur’s Seat the next day. Had I followed him, it might have been an entirely different ride, and a possibly a very different outcome to my day.

So I continued on solo for a while before turning back and setting my sights on Point Nepean. 60 kms away with a light headwind and the sun shining in the blue sky. A perfect day for a ride I kept telling myself.


As I looked ahead, I saw the set of lights change to amber, and instead of braking hard, I cruised through and continued on my merry way without a problem.

Looking back at the day, either one of those sliding door moments would have made a huge difference to my unhappy ending. Or would they have made no difference at all?

Would I have been injured on another part of my ride that day? Coming back down Arthur’s Seat at a breakneck speed. Or would have I gotten away without an injury? It’s hard to know which would have been the case, but what happened on that day, happened for a reason.

A reason I’m still unsure about, but one that didn’t leave me lying dead on the side of the road that morning. And for that I’m still very thankful. Even though it’s been a long and tough journey to recovery, I am hoping it will worthwhile in the long run, not just for me, but for my family and friends.

In the end, we will be where we are meant to be, no matter the twists, turns and tumbles we take.

Enjoy the journey with friends, family and loved ones. As the destination has been set. Life is too short for regrets.

The Road Less Traveled

With another ride all planned out for the day, I headed down the peninsula and towards a ride that always makes me wonder why I keep attempting it on a regular basis. Arthur’s Seat is a 4.5 km ride that ensures my legs are screaming for mercy, half way up. It’s at that point I keep asking myself. Why?

The reason I keep pushing myself up the hill is for the views from the top, and they are spectacular. No matter what the weather, rain or shine, the pain from the ride always seems worthwhile. Well, in my mind it seems worth the effort.

 

So on this particular ride, I decided to take an alternate route home, one which I had only ridden once, and it was with another rider who knew the area like the back of his hand. With a certain clarity, I headed down the back roads that I thought would eventually take me back to the main road and to some semi flat tracks.

The trip back down should have taken no longer than 15 minutes, so when I was still riding along a road that didn’t look very familiar, I did what most men would do, keep going until a sign post came by to look for further directions.

I knew I was well off the beaten track after another 45 minutes, but the views on both sides of the road were well worth the pedal power, and the roads were all rolling  hills, so I assumed the remainder of the trip home would have similar gradients. How wrong could I have been?

After finally finding a road name that was very familiar, I headed in the direction of home, having already been out on the road for over 90 minutes, so I estimated another 60 minutes on the road. Another bad judgment call.

The next two hours saw me riding through some of the toughest and longest hills I had cycled through in a long while.  With every turn, the road continued to climb higher and my legs screamed for a break. I finally gave my legs a rest after an hour of climbing, and could only wonder how much further I had to ride before I arrived at a section of flat road.

As I rested for a few minutes, I noticed another cyclist coming up the hill, struggling a lot less than I had been. I waved him down and asked how far back to the main road.

About another 20 kms, and some decent climbing still to come he said as he waved goodbye and continued onward.

Feeling my heart sink a little,and with no other option but to go forward, I got back on the bike and peddled for another hour before I finally hit the main road. By that stage, I was tired, sore and cursing my lack of direction.  But, I had been on an adventure for the day, one I would not forget in a hurry, and neither would my aching legs.

The pain stayed with me until the next day when I headed out for a ride on some more familiar and flatter roads. No harm in mixing up my rides.

My feelings on that morning are summed up in the Talking Heads song. 

Road to Nowhere