A Pleasant Sort of Crash

Ink drawing of a mountain biker crashing into a tree

This is not the story of when I broke my collarbone. Spoiler Alert: I don’t get hurt in this story.

Training for the Big Event

This past summer a local bike group dreamed up a virtual event named The Unicorn. During the month of July, riders were challenged to ride the outer edges of our trail system in a clockwise, then counter-clockwise direction as many times as they could in five hours. I had been training for The Unicorn, but all my rides were short. I needed some big mile rides.

Today was the day I was going to ride three laps. I didn’t have time for five hours, but I could try for three laps. I did one lap like a champion. But on the second lap I started feeling sloppy. I was making mistakes. I chose bad lines. I lost traction and had to get off the bike. I was not the same champion that I was on lap one.

A Sign From God

I do this thing, sometimes, where I ask God for a sign. Nothing big. I don’t need bread to rain down from the sky. I ask for simple things like this: “God, I want to go down that road and get in more miles, but maybe I should go home and hang with the fam. If you don’t want me to go down that road, make the next car that passes me, turn down that road.” And then I do whatever he “says.”

When I started making mistakes on lap two, I asked God for a sign. I said, “God, If you want me to cut this workout short and go home, make me tick a tree with my handlebar but not crash.” About 30 seconds later I touched a tree with the very tip of the right side of my handlebar. But I barely touched it. It wasn’t a “tick” as much as it was a “Ssss” — the faintest of brushes.

I said out loud, “Really?” But what I meant was “Really, God? I ask for a tick and you give me that ambiguous brushing? Now I have to discern if that was a message from you or not?”

That very moment I hooked my handlebar on a small tree. My bike turned sharply left. I was thrown through the air and landed on the trail with an audible “Ugh!” I was perfectly unscathed. My bike was unharmed. I got up slowly and got back on my bike.

Now, I am not a prophet, but I believe with all my heart that I received two messages from God that day. One said, “Ssss, go home.” The other said, “Oh you’re unhappy with my soft voice? Let me throw you on the ground so you can more easily judge if your handlebar ticked a tree or not.”

I think it was hilarious. Message received. I rode slowly and carefully out of the woods and headed for home.

I have ridden that section of trail numerous times since then and I cannot find any tree so close to the trail that it would grab someone’s handlebar. Thus, I am convinced even more that my smackdown was of a Devine nature.

God, you are amazing. Thank you for snapping me in half like a toothpick.

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