When two ruts converge on the trails you have a choice, you can either try to jump over the convergence, try to stop, or plant that front tire and go flying. I would not say that I made a choice, I neglected to realize that at some point these two ruts were going to run together. Now I was sitting on one side of the converged rut down the trail about 10 yards (a distance I covered in the air, not on the ground). My leg however was still with the bike, Casey was standing next to it trying to determine the appropriate course of action to take in this circumstance. He chose to bring me my leg, which is probably not something that he thought he would be doing that day. I laughed after I realized that I was not injured,
As I am sitting in my prosthetist’s (say that word out loud, its not as easy as you think) I was contemplating my activity choices. I have snapped my leg playing ultimate frisbee, air soft, hiking, football, softball, and several other sports over the last 20 years. I have never snapped my leg mountain biking that I can recall. This might sound humorous, or nauseating depending on your point of view, but I cannot count the amount of times that I have heard the crackling sound of carbon fibers tell me that my day was done. I remember laying in my hospital room at the age of 16 and thinking that my life would never be the same. I am not one to quote movie’s for blog posts, and especially Harry Potter, but there is a great scene at the end of “The Goblet of Fire” in which Hermione turns to Harry and say’s “nothing is going to be the same anymore is it?” and Harry say’s with a smirk “no, its not”.
I know that I did not quote a great piece of literature there, or even a movie that is considered a classic, but it was the smirk that caught my attention. The acceptance, and almost embrace of a new reality, that made me think of all of the scripture that tells me to not look at trials as life stoppers. I told my prosthetist (have you said it out loud yet) that I thought I might need to just stick to mountain biking. He, like many in the profession told me that I should not limit myself just because I have a prosthetic leg. In my mind I was thinking “if you only knew what I have done and attempted to do with one leg in my life”, but I let that comment go because I knew that he meant well.
I am not a small man, I snap legs partly because I try to be active, and partly because of my weight. Not that I am fat, I am just big. So when I came to the conclusion that maybe I should stick to mountain biking, that did not seem like a consolation as much as a matter of focus. I enjoy mountain biking more than all other activities and contrary to logic I seem to break myself less when I do it.
I still don’t like to be reminded that I have a limitation because of my leg. I am 38 years old and I have tried to help many people in my life realize that they can overcome the trials in their lives. But I still don’t like to be told that I am limited. I would like to think that I have embraced the new reality of my life without the bottom part of my right leg, but I have my moments. There was a moment when I was 18 years old when I realized that I was either going to live beside the road where the motorcycle accident happened for the rest of my life, or I was going to move forward because I still hopefully had most of my life ahead of me. I know too many people that are still sitting beside the road.
The picture that is at the beginning of this post is one of my favorites, that is my bachelor party. No drinking, no strippers, no cigars. My brother asked me what I wanted to do and I told him I wanted to go mountain biking. Thank you to all of my mountain biking partners who over the years have heard me complain about being too out of shape to keep up. Who have tolerated moving a little slower in order to accommodate a guy who loves to bike, but falls apart on the trail from time to time.