A leap of life was followed by a breath that was almost not. It had been a day filled with opposites, up a mountain – down a mountain, sweating like crazy whilst climbing – chilly whilst zooming down hill, happy highs – tired lows, full with fruit – empty rumbles, life and death.
Firstly, let me explain the mental state I was in whilst the leap of life occurred. A city called Bucuramanga had been the destination for days, it was the capital city of the state that we had almost ridden the whole of, and also the highest point in the area. We had not been in the mountains for long, so at this stage you tend to still have the wishing for the hard hills to end frame of mind; and not the I thought we were supposed to be in the Andes frame of mind. So eager to reach the highest point and hopefully an end to the all the huge ups and downs, we were riding hard.
The highway had been busy all day, we would snail up switchback hills, mostly blind to what was around the next corner, whilst huge heavy trucks would also struggle through gears on the steep and dangerous road. This gives you a certain energy, because you cant see what is around the corner, and secretly you hope for a not so steep or even flat stretch, you can usually tell when the downhill is coming up. But what happens sometimes, as with this road, with each corner the road was steeper and longer, and after a while you stop hoping and start fighting. I start a mental chant, and sometimes face actions. It was funny one time, boredom struck as I was going up hill, it was not a particularly hard hill, just boring. I started to practice my faces, like ‘oh yea I’m crazy, you cant stop me, I’m a crazy man, you looking at me?’ Just pure sillyness with tongue out and constantly changing through an array of silly im crazy faces, then I turn and see a camouflaged military man standing next to a tree on his cell phone looking right at me, with a look of strong concern, I smiled and changed into my ‘oh yea, this is so tough……. and I’m crazy face.’ And so on roads that are this kind of tough, I start chanting, ‘keep spinning, burn it, push it, I’m doin it, you call this a mountain, along with my faces. All this does is distract the tiredness and lengthen the time I can go without pausing for a break.
On days like this, adrenaline is soaring sky high and then crashing to the gutter all throughout the day. When you give it all, is also when you have the most, you start to feel powerful. Being in the zone for a few hours climbing up hill, dying for food and water, then when you reach the top, sometimes I feel such strength, that I will just continue on and not even stop for water or anything. The body is no doubt wasted, but the mind has grown strong, and with the mind, everything is possible.
So although I was tired nearing the end of the day, I had attained a certain power, and an I can do anything energy, and it was with this mental state that I took to a huge downhill without fear or hesitation. My brakes could fractionally slow me down but no way near stop me at the speed I was travelling. Concentration super high as always, a pebble in the road could mean disaster so super sharp alertness is always maintained at high speed. It was a super fast downhill, with long curves, it was on one of these curves that I ate shit. There were two lorries taking the curve and thus I couldn’t see the road ahead as they blocked the view, and they were going kind of slow. Now at this point I had a choice, it was a thing of instinct and not calculation. The calculated risk thing to do was put on my brakes, slow down, and pass behind or with the truck. My over confident instincts told me to risk it, and overtake the truck, maintaining the maybe 35mph I was going at. It was a split second decision, and seconds later I was squeezing the brakes for dear life as I saw a build up of traffic and two lanes turning into one. If the shoulder was in a good state nothing would have happened, but life is only dreamt in if’s and lived in actualities. It was with this disastrous actuality that the shoulder suddenly changed from a smooth wide space, to a narrow rocky bumpy mess. Foot hung low to the ground, bum off seat, in the shit might hit the fan position.
Next thing I knew I was going over the bad patch way too fast and way too close to the lorry. I haven’t got any brakes! Get out my way! He didn’t hear my cry for help, nor did he hear the crushing of my crate and well needed personal belongings, he just rolled on obliviously whilst I was flying through the air in a leap of life. Without this leap, I would have surely gone under the wheels. I heard a horrible crushing sound as I stood up with my back to the road. One thought crossed my mind – all I have just got demolished, its over. I turned around, bike was in the road, quickly went and grabbed it, picked it up and hauled it off the road, still thinking it had been run over. Slowly I realized that only the back crate was noticeably destroyed and maybe just maybe I could salvage Montreal. It was and still is super mysterious how this even happened, I mean physically, the dynamics do not logically make sense, and rightly so, I have never been so relieved!
My sister once gave me a spoon, and told me it was all that I needed in life. This same spoon has been with me day in day out for the past 19 months, and with heavy pliers I rescued it from its entrapped stove surroundings. Everyday its bent and twisted form reminds me that life is a gift to be treasured and not to be chanced with boredom nor death.
Tags: andes - array - biking accident - boredom - cell phone - crazy man - cycling accident - dangerous road - faces - frame of mind - gears - heavy trucks - high traffic - leap - life and death - lows - mental chant - military man - mountains - panamerican highway - silliness - snail - touring accident - ups - ups and downs