When Sam and I decided to take on this challenge last year, the only way I envisioned it happening was by putting one foot in front of the other from one side of the country to the next. But an adventure isn't a true adventure until something "wrong." Something that's not according to plan.
This past Friday was the last big training day until the race. A full day of climbing up and over the Santa Cruz mountains, then back. Welcomed by a little fog after reaching the top, I took the first turn down hill into a decent I've done hundreds of times before.
Bike, check. Body, check. I was pleased that I barely had a bruise or a scratch after a 25 mph fall. But then, I tried to walk. So convinced that I had pulled a muscle, I hitchhiked a ride back home, with a million thoughts racing. Would this fall cost the race that me, my teammate, crew, and sponsors have been planning for months? Mustering up the strength to visit the doctor, I gimped my way to the Stanford Sports Medicine office for my quick fix to ensure that this race would still be on in seven days time. After an initial assessment, and after x-ray after x-ray, the doctors struggled to break the news.
"You shouldn't be walking right now. Your pelvis is fractured in a couple of places." Shocked and in disbelief, I requested that I see the x-rays myself before I can wrap my head around it all. I leave the office with Erma and Earl, my two new friends for the next two months.
Yes, I named my crutches.
One hour later, I have the plan. After months of planning and anticipation, I couldn't imagine not doing this race. Somehow I had to be there at the start.
A blind man has climbed Mount Everest. A girl lost her arm to a shark while surfing, and can still rock the board. And there are countless people out there who can see every challenge as an opportunity in disguise, and I want to be like one of those people.
The focus from the beginning of this journey has been about a few things. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things with the support of their friends and supporters. It's always been about raising as much funds and awareness for clean drinking water. This setback pales in comparison to the struggle one billion people, right now, face without clean water to drink. And whether I log my miles by hands or feet, those reasons that brought us this far don't change.
Then the idea came to me. Hand cycle. There has got to be some kind of bike powered by hand out there. After a frantic 48 hours and support from all over, and chats with the doctor to minimize any potential further injury, I found the bike that I'll be using to make this ride possible. A hero stepped in to find a hand cycle to borrow during the journey (although not quite as cool and fun as the wooden bike I had been planning to use).
Am I taking on more than I can chew? Maybe, but I'm excited to find out. The only arm exercise I've done in the last seven months has been passing the plate around at the dinner table. But it doesn't matter whether I can do 100, 200, or 500 miles. What truly matters is having the courage to get up no matter how hard you fall.
For live updates from the road and to follow our progress, check out bit.ly/Ride4Water and to Tweet your support use #Ride4Water. Also, to donate to our amazing cause, visit http://www.crowdrise.com/shapewhatstocome.