Missed opportunities 


Some things slip through our fingers when we least expect them. It’s after the event we realise how much of a missed opportunity it really was.


We can’t go back and relive what we missed out on, but we can make amends by having another go at the opportunity which slid past us at a rapid rate of knots.

Some of the missed opportunities we can only blame ourselves for, while others are taken away, leaving us with a longing for what we missed.


This was the case earlier this year for me, a trip to Europe, starting in France and then through to Italy to visit family. But, due to a negligent driver, my trip was cancelled due to injuries incurred, and so were my dreams of sipping coffee and eating freshly made croissants in the very heart of Paris.


Just because I missed out on this opportunity, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future. All that’s needed is some spare time and holiday planning.

So when an opportunity is missed, it’s not the end of the world. Get up and have another shot at it. We only live once and deserve to be happy, and to make the most of every moment.


Don’t wait, enjoy life, it may be taken away in the blink of an eye.

No Promises

There are some promises that are easy to keep, such as, I promise to mow the lawns this weekend, or I promise to fix blocked gutters before it rains again.

Then there are other promises that are more difficult to keep, no matter how hard you try.

One of my promises to my wife was that I would ride safe and be careful every time I went out on the road bike. Rain, blowing winds and sunny days, I would tell her the same thing as she lay in bed and I ventured off for my morning rides.


This was one promise I broke sometime in mid March 2017. My intentions were good and my years on the bike made no difference at all on this bright and sunny Saturday morning along the Melbourne peninsula. My lights were flashing and I was wearing my multicoloured cycling outfit. But still, a broken promise.

Having been on the road for close to an hour, I knew my halfway point for my outing. There was a slight headwind as I headed towards Point Nepean, and I was pushing myself harder than normal. It must have been the fantastic conditions, and I was out on my own and nothing but 80s music streaming through my headphones and a clear mind.

In a split second, my entire life was about to take a tumble for the worse. But it could have been far more serious. So I consider myself extremely lucky. And I was given a lifeline. 

A car coming in the opposite direction performed an illegal turn in front of me. Obviously not having seen me. And I’m not what one would consider a small unit.

With less than a split second to do something. I did the obvious. I hit his front side guard at over 30 kilometres per hour.

The first and only thing that went through my mind was, it’s over. Goodbye!

I flipped over his hood, landing on my arse and then ploughed into his windscreen, shattering it into thousands of pieces with my shoulder. And my journey continued I somersaulted over his car, as I watched my glasses and iPhone fly well ahead of me.

Landing on the ground more than 12 feet away from his car, I later discovered I broke my back. My L4 to be exact. And in thst split second, my life had changed. Forever!


Pain filled every fibre of my body, but for some unknown reason, I was still able to move my arms and legs. A positive sign I thought as I screamed in pain as I was surrounded by some very helpful and concerned bystanders.

The ambulance trip to the Frankston hospital was one without all that much pain, but I would have to say the morphine in my system had a lot to do with that fact.

The next few hours with my wife beside me at the Frankston hospital and then at the Alfred hospital trauma centre were good, bad, anxious, concerning, and the scariest hours of my life.

I was eventually told I had a broken back, but signs were positive because I was able to move my arms and legs. No internal or neauralogical damage, so another positive sign.

After leaving the hospital five days later, and in a very uncomfortable back brace I was to wear for the following 12 weeks. In some desperate hope my back would heal on its own and no surgery would be required.

With all the damage I had suffered, I was extremely lucky not to have injured any of my spinal nerves and no other nerves impacted. I only have God to thank for that. And not having died on the side of the road was something I still look back at and wonder why?

The following 12 weeks were filled with some of the lowest points in my life. Not just the pain, but the not knowing how and if I would fully recover. And at the lowest point, if I really wanted to continue. I knew deep down I had to abandon all fear if I was to make it through.

With the help and support of family and friends, I struggled through and continued to make progress. First getting out of bed without assistance, and eventually able to walk to my letterbox.

I have to admit ut did get a little easier the more I moved. I ended up going on 5 kilometre walks as the weeks dragged by. My only outings were visits to surgeons and physiotherapists.

The long road of rehabilitation lays ahead of me, 6-12 months I’ve been told before I’m back to the condition I was in before the accident.

In the end, what got me through was love and friendship. And lots of pain medication.

My Scott carbon fibre bike was written off, but I still have my Avanti, which is patiently waiting for me to decide on my path forward.


As for the path after rehabilitation, do I go back to the one sport I loved with a passion, or do I take up stamp collecting, as suggested by my brother.


Whatever I decide, I have honestly found that love and friendship conquers all, physical and mental pain.

No Promises – Icehouse

A Lucky Break

As i dropped off my Avanti road bike off to my local bike shop for its six monthly major service, I knew it was going to need a set of new tyres as well as a full service. Not cheap, but very necessary.

And I also knew I would only be off the road for a few days, so i dropped it off early in the week to ensure it would be ready for my weekend rides through the Dandenong hills.

So when I stopped by the bike shop after work on the Friday to pick up my bike, I found Marcus waiting for me to hand it over.

We chatted for a while about the weekend plans and I mentioned the hills I would be descending. And I asked for a new set of brake pads, even though they weren’t worn all the way down. Better safe than sorry I thought when I knew the downhills and corners of the Dandenongs.

He hoisted the bike back onto the rack and slipped my used pads off and was about to replace them with the new set when I heard him say. ‘Damn!’

I walked over to the bike and he pointed out a serious crack in my bike frame. It was well hidden and was only visible when working on the back brakes.

It was then I understood his serious concerns. The next bump I went over with the bike in that condition would have possibly been my last. The frame would have snapped and I would have gone head over heels and caused myself some major injuries.

The bike frame had a 10 year warranty, so it was only a matter of requesting a new frame and waiting for my bike to be re assembled.

So after what seemed an eternity (three weeks) my bike was back together and with a new and updated carbon fiber frame.

The very next weekend I headed up, and back down the Dandenongs without a care in the world.


I do think that was a very lucky break. So sometimes we get lucky, and other times it just doesn’t go out way.

Ride safe.

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

 

 

 

Breaking rules 

There are times you just need to break out of your shell and do something you know isn’t always right. As was the case on my morning ride along the bay and up to Point Nepean.

The road stops about 3 kms short to the most westerly point on the Mornington peninsula and to some sights only seen by a getting there on foot or by shuttle bus. No bikes allowed! As if…

Well, today was the day I would finally see the sights it had offer. A few of the guys I ride with have been down there and recommended the short sharp ride for the views.

The very quick ride down was a little more painful than i anticipated as I mis judged a corner and ended up in a pile of soft sand. No damage to the bike and a cut and bloodied knee for my efforts.

Finally at the bottom, the views were incredible as was the atmosphere of just standing so close to the breaking waves and the feel of the light breeze in a place where I knew I shouldn’t be.

The ride back was harder than I expected, and by the time I reached the top, my legs were burning and felt every downward stroke of my pedals. But the pain was worth the view and the serenity.

Some rules are meant to be bent a little, and not broken.

AC/DC – Breaking the rules

Pushing up Daisies 

Every day brings a new adventure, or at least a change of pace. From the moment you crawl out of your warm and comfortable bed, a full day of life and adventure lays ahead.

Some days you bounce out bed and are ready to face the world, and whatever challenges are thrown your way.

Then there are other days where no matter what you do to try and motivate yourself, you feel as flat as a pancake. On these days, no matter what you do, you just can’t kick that low down funk.

Just remember, it’s better to be down in the dumps for a day or so, and not pushing up daisies.