Sleep deprivation, dehydration, exhaustion and fatigue were the main concerns I had when deciding to take on this journey. I though I would be more nervous about riding too many miles than not enough.
But one or two days in, and the most challenging part is facing the limitations that my fractured pelvis is causing for me and the rest of the crew. On my first shift, where I could have easily smashed a solid 20 mph clip, at times, my speed was painfully slow. The slightest incline felt like a mountain and the effort was triple what it would be on my road bike. Five miles into my shift, my frustration was building and I called into the support vehicle to demand my time trial bike. Yes, it would be foolish to attempt to ride on the road bike again, but I so desperately wanted to feel powerful again, if only for a few miles. One week ago, my idea of a challenge was cycling a 5,000ft climb. This week? A flight of stairs.
It has been a physical challenge but even more so mental, putting in so much effort and feeling like I’m not making progress. I’m torn between being excited to be a part of this in the only way I know how by handbike and feeling like I’m sitting on the sidelines and watching a dream I’ve played over and over in my mind.
I was a strong rider on my road bike but there is no reason I can’t be that on a handbike, too. Although I’m struggling to accept the disadvantages of riding on a handbike, I know that with the same patience and persistence that got me through my other challenges, will get me to Annapolis. It’s not where we get in life that defines us – it’s what we overcome along the way that truly matters.