Back to the road

August 26, 2012

“You are in.” Coach Michelle texted me. “It’s Mary time.”

Thanks to her help and my inability to be in a wifi zone (as hard as that is to imagine) I am in for Ironman Mont Tremblant 2013. My heart jumped, stopped and then hit zone 5 all at once. I feel this way every time that submit button gets hit for Ironman and I never really understand why. Ironman focuses me like nothing else does. I love and hate it at the same time. I have done 6 or 7 of these races in the past ten years and I have this …..thing… for this distance. At this distance I have been my best, my worst and everything in between.

And with that text, it’s on.

I love the journey to the starting line. It’s a year long journey, let’s face it. And during that year a lot happens. It gets lonely, it gets dark, it gets awesome and it gets amazing. Race day is such a short snippet of that journey, when you hit that finish line you think…. holy cats… it’s all done. Just like that. It’s not necessarily race day but everything that goes into it beforehand.

I am choosing to double the trouble with another go just weeks later at Ironman Florida. So I will (god willing) have an August and November Ironman on the docket. Here at QT2 systems we focus so much on recovery and restoration and I will have to hit that spot on.

On Saturday I got back on the open road. I promised that I would so I did. I did the same thing on Sunday as well. It felt good and it felt horrible. I don’t know if cars knew who I was or recognized what the pink ribbon on the back of my bike was for…. but there was more car courtesy than I have ever experienced before. I appreciated that and I was sure to do my part by riding correctly and responsibly as well.

On the way back a giant pack of motorcycles came by. There must have been 60 of them riding two across. That’s legal of course and they were all driving responsibly and driving the speed limit. The thing about a motorcycle is that they are so loud and you don’t hear them until they are about to pass, and I have to admit, through no one’s fault (they did nothing to scare me, they were all fine) I got absolutely spooked out of my mind. IS this what Heather experienced… did she even hear the guy….. I kept turning around and wondering when it was going to be over (and I can’t emphasize enough that they were being safe, responsible, were doing nothing wrong…. it was 100% my own reaction). I sat up and tried to pull myself together.

I don’t know if they either knew who I was or also recognized the pink ribbon and its significance…. but as they began to pass they moved as far to the left as was safe for them, many of them began waving to me…. friendly waves…. holding up peace signs…..  they gave me space. I don’t know what prompted that, but I was so grateful.

I have to remember that one derelict on a motorcycle doesn’t define who all motorcyclists are.It’s the same as the cyclists riding against traffic, two abreast and without helmets. They don’t define the rest of us.

I was talking to my Dad later that evening and relayed the story. We talked about how another law, another penalty isn’t going to be what makes the biggest change in the habits of drivers. All of the motorists and motorcyclists I encountered over the weekend…. were simply doing their part. As was I.

People want to know what the police are doing about things like drivers who text and use cell phones. I think they do what they can. I mean, you’ve got one officer patrolling a road where thousands drive. They can’t see into every car and to catch someone doing it isn’t as easy as it looks. While I agree that they need to stay on top of this stuff… why don’t we make sure that we do our part? Like all of the people on the road this weekend.

We all did our part.

We have to begin with ourselves. We can’t expect law enforcement to catch everything. We can be advocates for one another, we can set the example. We can do the right thing. In all honesty…. (and if you think I live in a  world where dogs shit rainbows…. trust me while that’d be AWESOME…. I pick up dogshit in my backyard every damn day!) if we be the change we want to see….. we can meet law enforcement half way.

I have been told that law enforcement doesn’t make a difference, That when you tell the police… they don’t care.

The truth of the matter is….. you don’t know if they don’t care.

The way I can relate is this…..

One night when I worked in pediatric emergency an adolescent girl was brought in. CPR was being performed and it was thought to be an attempted suicide. As we worked on her, and good GOD did we work on her….. we were told mid resuscitation that this was not a suicide attempt but a homicide attempt. Imagine the range of emotions that we went through, now that we had her clothes  cut off and thrown on the floor….  now we had potentially destroyed evidence, now we became even more despondent as our efforts were not working.

30 minutes after she arrived she was pronounced dead. I remember standing there with tears rolling down my face feeling like we all got punched in the stomach. Murder. You have to be kidding me. As I closed her eyes I prayed that she wasn’t afraid, that she didn’t know what had happened, and that she was in God’s hands.

I walked out of the trauma bay, took off my bloodied trauma gown, and placed it into the dirty linen hamper. Walking back into peds ED  I slid my trauma glasses to the top of my head and I began washing my hands. I looked up at the board as I was doing so and noticed on the board that a child was waiting to be seen….. and it was always our goal to be in a room within 5 minutes.

remember not even 5 minutes had passed since we declared the adolescent girl dead.

I walked into that room and introduced myself. The mother immediately began to scream at me as she jumped up and straightened out her fancy suit coat and her diamond necklace. She was irate that she had waited for TEN MINUTES and her son had a stomach ache.

I turned around, walked out, and asked my charge nurse to take over.

This mother had no idea what I just walked out of. My emotions were much too high and what I wanted to say was this “Let me apologize, or maybe go ask the mother of the girl we just pronounced dead to come apologize for my being late to assess your son.”

The reason I relay that story is this…. you don’t know what these guys just walked out of. So if they seem tired, if they seem not to care…… it’s because they are human. We are not robots, we are people. Don’t ever and I mean EVER tell someone else what they feel unless you have the ESP power to sit in their soul and feel what they are feeling.

They care. They want to know if you are run off the road. They are just as tired of this as we are. But never EVER tell them they don’t care. Never EVER complain about response time…. you have no idea what they are in the middle of. And trust me…. they are not in this field for the glory.

So… it begins with us. It begins with how we treat one another. It begins with our own behavior as cyclists and as motorists. It begins with how we act towards one another.

Let’s be good to each other. Let’s treat each other with respect and not confrontation with anger. We live in this free country for a reason. At the end of the day we value our freedom and the choices we have in our lives. We can’t expect this all to happen from the top down. There are more of us then there are of them. Let’s begin it from the bottom up.

I am positive we can meet somewhere in the middle.


One comment

  1. Perhaps a Patriot Guard Riders procession? I can tell you, as a athlete and a Frequent Harley passenger, a responsible motorcyclist appreciates all your fears and will do anything to make sure you feel safe.

    Can’t wait to follow your IM journey!

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