I took my brand new, high performance road bike out for a spin with my friend, and Head Coach, Jae. He's a native San Franciscan and really enjoys outdoor cycling and was stoked to have me as his new riding buddy. I was just excited to be riding a bike for the first time since I was like 15!
The plan was to leave from the Cow Hollow district, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, head into Sausalito for brunch, and then head back.
It was a crispy morning, and the fog was just beginning to burn off. As we rode over the Golden Gate Bridge, the sun began to poke through the clouds, warming up the air. It went from dull and dreary, to electric and vibrant!
It was my first time doing this ride and I have to be honest; I'm afraid of bridges. They freak me out. Like... how the hell is this thing stable?! What if I drive off this thing? Ugh, that's so not how I wanna go out.
In spite of that fear, I pedaled on. The bike lane on the GGB is rather narrow; the right lane of it heads away from the city, and the left lane of it leads into the city. I remember looking over at the Pacific Ocean on my left and being grateful to be alive, and then I'd quickly revert my eyes back at the pavement in front of me so I don't die. "Coming up LEFT!" a cyclist warned from behind. That seemed happened a lot near me. Jae was overtaking a lot of people on the bridge, too. I thought he was crazy. Whatever. He's done this ride a bunch. I was content going at my own pace.
Jae got to the end of the bridge first, and I met him at the end shortly after. We pulled over on the side and checked in with each other, and took a couple sips of water. On to the next leg of the journey; a descend into the town of Sausalito. I was looking forward to a brunch break once we arrived. Jae let me take the lead on the first drop, so I took off before him and cleared the first drop.
WOO! What a freaking thrill that was! I'd never ridden down hill on something that steep before. The next drop ahead looked a bit more intense and it had a steeper incline. LET'S F*CKING GO. Jae whizzed in front of me and took the lead and I followed him. He caught a lot of speed and soon he became a little speck in front of me. Shortly after, he was no longer in my sight. It was just me, this hill, and beauty. So much beauty.
I wonder what it'd be like if I stand up right now? I thought to myself. So I stood up as I'm zooming down hill really quickly to take it all in.
Am I serious? Do I really live here? It's so breathtaking! The Bay, the SF skyline looking back at me. Pfft. UH-MAZING!
As I sat back down into my saddle I had this immediate "oh shit" experience.
I'm traveling really fast down this hill and I don't have control.
I went for my brakes. I pressed both front and back brakes at the same time and what I got was a whole lotta front brake. My front wheel stopped completely! That, coupled with the fact that I was just standing, meant that my center of gravity was slightly forward on the bike. You can probably predict what happened next.
Yes. I was ejected from my bike, flying face first onto the pavement beneath me.
Enter my first concussion on record.
I was rushed to the ER, leaving my precious new bike, my sneakers, my left incisor and a ton of blood on Alexander Avenue.
At the time of our session I could not lift my left arm up above 90 degree. I was downright pissed off at the thought of having a long road of recovery ahead of me. This totally foils my plans! We decided to record the session. The clip below captures the first few minutes of my 2nd session with Jae - 1 week after the accident. After doing a few mobility exercises, something incredible happened.....
So there we are, in tears. Moved by what just became possible for me after doing a few drills with my eyes. I could lift my arm! I still had pain, but the fact that I could move my shoulder was enlivening.
In that moment, I began to see my life through a whole new lens...