Before my injury—a cycling accident that caused a partial tear of the ligament that runs along the outside of my right ankle, that bony ball that seems connected to nothing and yet everything at the same time—I was familiar with physical limitations. I have a chronic kidney disease that dictates my everyday life, but an acute injury was something I somehow managed to avoid in my 14 years of cycling, and in my lifetime of being a tomboy. I’ve had stitches, a minor concussion, a fractured bone in my elbow that healed on its own, been hit by 2 cars, doored by 6 of them, and yet somehow always managed to walk away relatively unscathed. In fact, when I got injured this past February, I again assumed I’d be back on my feet in no time after my X-rays showed there were no fractures and I was diagnosed with “just” an ankle sprain. In hindsight, having only physically recovered more than 4 months later, I can see that I was headed down a serious and intense road to recovery that I was not anticipating.
Awhile ago I (Krista) watched the women’s field at a local cyclocross race, straddling a friend’s cyclocross bike so I could bike from spot to spot along the winding course. At one straight away, in which the women zipped by with speed, an older man who was spectating beside me turned to me, gave me a quick once over and asked, “Hey, how come you’re not in this race?” His big smile pressed down the corners of his eyes with grandfatherly glee and I responded, “Oh, I don’t want to race,” a half-truth that I let hesitantly slip out. I cringed for the ensuing, well-worn conversation that I knew was about to take place.
“C’mon! You scared? You can do it, it’s easy!” he said and chuckled. I let out a little laugh.
“I’ve raced before, I know what it’s like,” I said, a smile gripping my face.
“Well, what’s your excuse then!?” he said, shrugging his shoulders. Continue reading