The cycling season has begun. Yesterday was a beautiful day at Ft. De Soto Park. About 50 of us gathered to challenge ourselves and race against the clock, 4 of whom happened to be amputees.
On the first Thursday of each month there is a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) sanctioned 15K cycling time trial. Ft. De Soto is a great place for the event because it is very flat and a fast course. I really like this event because it gives me the opportunity to race with both upright bikes and hand cycles. It also gives me the opportunity to compare my times each week to see my improvement.
Each month there is always a very diverse group of people who gather at about 6:00 am on the north end of the park. There are some (delete people) of us who are training to be the very best we can be in the sport. There are others who are not as concerned with their times but really enjoy being a part of the atmosphere that surrounds these events. Then there is the majority of the group who fall somewhere in the middle.
On this occasion, at about the seven mile point of the 9.62 mile course, I got a flat tire on the front wheel of my bike. At first, I was unsure of what to do — I thought, “should I pull over and have someone come pick me up, or should I keep riding?” I realized I had a really fast time so far in the race, so I decided to down-shift and continue. As I forced my way ahead, and then finally across the finish line riding on the rim of my front wheel, I was filled with happiness — because I had refused to let this obstacle get in the way of completing my goal.
And after all that, when all of the riders’ results were tabulated, I learned that I had missed first place by only ONE second!!! Wow. All things considered, I’m very happy with my ride and with my second place finish.
There are many times in life when the everyday mechanical things we rely on can easily threaten to derail us from reaching our goals. This is when we have to reach deep within ourselves and let our determination help pull us through. It definitely can work!
Thanks to the team at Westcoast Brace & Limb for sponsoring me and for always being behind me.
Bobby Puckett is a bi-lateral, below-knee amputee, a competitive hand cyclist and marathoner, and a Patient Ambassador at Westcoast Brace & Limb.