It IS about the bike…

Last year, while training for the triathlon season, I was hit by a bike on a shared path and knocked unconscious. I ended up with concussion and a serious tail bone injury that left me unable to do anything apart from hobble around for a few months. I eventually physically recovered with some great chiropractic and massage care, but mentally, I struggled with the concept of getting back on my beautiful road bike. Funnily enough, the accident happened just after a bike ride while I was running. So, even though my bike was not involved, I had this fear of getting back on it. After a while, I got back on my mountain bike, but I just couldn’t get back on my road bike without visualising something terrible happening. I kept re-living the accident and the feeling of getting flung forward and the sound of my head hitting the pavement. I was doing a great job of letting the incident live rent-free in my head. I knew I had to get past it.

So, I started visualising riding my bike down a peaceful, tree-lined street with a wide bike path and no traffic, and the feeling of the wind and sun on my face, and turning the pedals with ease. Not a care in the world. Anytime something negative crept in, I ignored it and imagined my quiet street, with distant sounds and the lovely feeling of being on my bike. I did it over and over until I decided it was time, pumped up the tyres, put my helmet on, and headed off.

It felt awkward at first. The seat is higher than my commuting mountain bike, and I was a little nervous – only 20 minutes before I was figuring out how to put the back wheel back on (did I put it on the right way? Is the whole bike going to fall apart into a million pieces?). Pushing the negative thoughts out of my head (I had been getting pretty good at doing this lately), I pushed on and turned up a quiet street not far from my house. In fact, it was the quiet street from my visualisation. Exactly the same one. Even the distant sounds were the same. And there were no cars. Well, one appeared but was of no consequence. The sun felt warm on my face and the breeze was lovely. It felt easy and effortless. Just like my visualisation.

I am beginning to appreciate even more, how important the quality of my thoughts are. And how critical it is to visualise success. And know what is possible. Anything is possible. I’m so jubilant about a 10 minute bike ride, but I know if I can achieve this, who knows what else I can do?