That day my mood was not at its bests. We left Göteborg wasting a lot of time and being stressed. Usually leaving cities is a little confusing and stressful. Always you find some kind of construction area that blocks the route. The only thing you can do then is finding a second alternative. Göteborg was not an exception, adding that I felt that morning restless and insecure with my bike. The conditions of the bike lanes didn’t help either.
In one big bump at the end of a downhill, I almost lost the control of my bike and I needed to stop and check my back brake. Tim helped me to readjust the wire but I saw that I needed to change it. After the fix, it worked better but not my mood. I was stressed by the route. Narrow roads with very fast cars and so much traffic, while the wind was blowing strong.
My mind started to give relevance to the voice telling me that I was not prepared for this trip. That I never was. That I was not skilled enough. I needed more practice, more training, more knowledge… It was nonstop. I had some breaks to that voice when the beauty of my surroundings caught my attention. Also when my conversation with the wind started. Whispering, praying, asking, complaining, cursing, and finally begging in total surrender.
By surprise, I saw myself trying to straighten my steer from right to left a couple of times without success. Acknowledging the speed, the road, trying to think about what I should do next. Braking? I kept trying when the last movement was so harsh that my bike fell to the left. I fell on my left knee with my hands, elbow, and left hip absorbing the impact. The accident happened.
The asphalt felt hard and everything stopped for a few seconds until an intense pain erupted from the lateral side of my knee. An unstoppable scream came from my mouth. I could grab my knee with both hands, crawling to a side of the road for avoiding the traffic. In a second, Tim was there grabbing the bike and asking what happened. I just could say “I am sorry, I am sorry” and “it hurts, it hurts” like a broken record.
Cars were stopping asking in Swedish if everything was ok after the accident. An elderly couple was making sure if I was ok, if my bike was ok, if I need a ride to a doctor. After the pain slowed down a bit and felt more grounded,
I made sure I could stand and put weight on my foot. Nothing was broken. I thanked them and answered them that I didn’t need any doctor just some rest and ice. They gave some bandage for compressing the area and they left.
Luckily on the other side of the road was a forest and I could get in and lie down for a second. Tim was taking care of both bikes. After a while, we decided to have a break there and rest. We didn’t have lunch yet.
Later I saw that I could barely walk or bike. We decided to camp there. Tim took care of everything. Looking for a spot for the tent and bringing the bikes into the forest. After the tent was pitched he helped me move inside and left for buying some food and things I needed for my injury.
He came with a big vanilla ice cream pot to place on the inflammation, that became wonderful for both my knee and my mind. Two days in that improvised camp, surrounded by young oaks and bushes that protected us from the wind and the people.
Forty-eight hours of recovery after the accident helped me to stand again and be able to bike. My mind was a big deal in what happened but my mind was also a big component in my recovery. I understood that desperate voice in the morning before my accident. It was addressing important issues to be heard and asked me to slow down. I had plenty of time to listen, and I did.
It was true that there were more things I could learn and prepare myself before the trip. It was also true that I did a thousand km in a safe and confident way in different but not ideal conditions. Accidents are accidents. Beyond the esoteric meaning, you feel comfortable to give to, I felt more interested in how the situation made me feel and which narratives were having more relevance. How could I listen without judgment and blame? How could I be a kind friend and listen? Could I grow with it?
The feelings of guilt, irresponsibility, carelessness, stupidity… were there. They were not easy to be listened to and brought memories of a child feeling inadequate and clumsy.
I listened. It was uncomfortable. It was peaceful too. I felt trust. I felt sustained. As many times in my life. Some thoughts of fear showed up. The pain is still in my knee. I don’t feel any pain while I am biking though. Even in these more challenging landscapes of Norway which makes me feel confident. Walking a long distance is still difficult. I can’t kneel and do some of my favorite yoga asanas but slowly I am recovering and I am willing to receive what is coming next.
I keep listening.