Be Realistic Ask The... oh sod it. Just be realistic.
Two weeks have passed since my coming out distinctly on the wrong end of a chance encounter with a BMW saloon when out training and as fortunate as I am not to be permanently damaged, with its assorted ramifications physically, financially and mentally, it is hard not to be a bit glum.
The first week was spent largely bed-ridden and concussed, and though the cuts and bruises are now almost faded I'm still being educated as to what the term 'referred pain' means... I'll not go in to it in detail here but trauma to the back and torn ligaments in the stomach is a recipe that is not nice for the family jewels. Generally I'm feeling much better and trotting about, but there is still pain in my back and pelvis combined with a litany of odd after effects that seem to make themselves known independently of each other (such as the pain in my right foot that only happens when I try to touch my toes for instance, which I used to be able to do and quite painlessly) so I'm starting to see what people mean by seeing a doctor regardless of how bad you feel at the time of the incident. With NHS waiting times of at least 5 weeks I'm going to pay to see a specialist physio this week to get a proper evaluation and hopefully I'll be told what the score is and have an explanation for all the strange crunches and clicks now emanating from my body so that I can both get back to work and get back on the bike asap.
Cycling's been my outlet for letting off steam and a main avenue to good mental health for the last few years, so combined with enforced inactivity and the general shock of being in an accident, the last couple of weeks have inspired some pretty bleak moments that have presented as big an obstacle as any physical impairment. From feeling that my training was starting to pay-off I now have nightmarish visions of collapsing in tears half-way up the Galibier totally unprepared. It's taking a lot of self-discipline to marshal my self-belief in the face of not knowing when I can get to serious training.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the driver seems to have escaped rather lightly, as when I finally got a reply from the police (only after sending a recorded letter to the officer concerned) I was told he will be charged with the lesser offence of Careless Driving as opposed to Dangerous. Which of course will be the 3 points and 250 quid fine combined with the devastating, crushing, inconvenience of 3hrs in court.
Now, 'careless' to me means leaving the kitchen window open when you go out, forgetting to zip up your fly, or maybe spilling a cup of tea over the new carpet. It doesn't necessarily invoke accellerating to cut a cyclist moving at speed up whilst safely encased in your one-ton automobile, making an arse of it, smashing into aforementioned cyclist and then blaming him for it whilst he's lying bleeding in the road. But then what do I know, I'm not a professional law enforcement officer and the fine 'specimen' that's dealing with my case (I mean that in medical terms) is clearly a better judge than I.
Such is life... I think the only real legal satisfaction I'll get is with a civil suit, which will also contain a claim for my new and now deceased carbon bike and time off work, but that will have to wait till after the criminal proceedings and will then take at least another 6 months so I'm a bit stuffed in the meantime. It seems pretty emblematic of modern times that they'll pay for a broken bike but the whole concept of principle or proportionality is totally ignored in favour of economic and political expedience.
Training for the Etape-wise it goes without saying that this is all a massive hindrance... I should have done a century ride last weekend, and another 125k sportive the weekend before and instead I have done nothing but feel the form trickle out of my legs. Another major mile-stone in my training is The Etape Caledonia-a week today-and I don't know whether I'll make it or not. I did a tentative hour on the turbo yesterday and felt ok with some minor twinges in my back and knee afterwards, but I'm a bit worried about whether my lower back will be able to stand 5hrs+ in the saddle on the day,not to mention the state I'll end up in if I come off again. I suppose I can only try to keep up the turbo through the week and see what the physio says and make my mind up then, but confidence is at a low ebb which certainly isn't helping.
Optimism is not totally extinct however so I've booked trains, am stockpiling gels and ordering new helmets etc in readiness so fingers crossed... I'd been hoping it was only my wheels that had died in the accident and following some some pretty conclusive advice from fellow road.cc'ers purchased some rather tasty looking and feather-weight Pro-Lite Braccianos, which are heaping on motivation to try them out but they won't fit my old 8 speed Mercian so you'll have to wait a bit for my review of them... wish me luck in the meantime.