I was tempted to title this Laughing in the face of adversity. However, I quickly realised that my opinion is adversity needs to be respected. Adversity is not something to be disrespected by laughing in it’s face, Adversity should be laughed with, but not at.
The first time I went away on a cycling trip by myself, I went into total meltdown only 2 days into the trip, which was in October, so it wasn’t exactly warm or dry. I had managed to lose my rain jacket and rain gloves. When I say lost, I had poorly attached them onto my rear pannier, which they fell off. Total melt down was in reality a panic. The only reason I realised they were lost, was reaching for them upon the heavens opening, it was under than a handful of degrees and I was in the middle of France and wild camping. One of the most dangerous things to a cyclist is to get wet, with little chance to dry off. After a small roadside soul searching, I decided I would retrace the 30miles I’d covered since I last had them, hoping they’d be in a nice neat bundle waiting for me on the side of the road. 4h later I was back where I started, still without rain jacket, now nice and wet.
More recently, having had a bit more experience of facing adversity alone. On my 3 day trip from Italy to Belgium my chain decided to snap. It was a sunday afternoon, I was in the middle of nowhere and half way up a 1st category climb. Clearly without spare chain, or quick links! Further, my hydration bladder had developed a hole that morning, so I also had no water. This time no bother, what can you do but get on and just deal with it. After managing to extract my chain from the drivetrain, my chain tool really wasn’t large enough for me to get the purchase to push out the pins. An hour of slow progress later I’d managed to remove the pins and put the chain back together. All was well and I was eventually back on the road.
On a more humorous note of adversity. On the first day of my recent trip to recce the route for Transcontinental from Geraardsbergen Belgium to the East of Italy I had a slight issue. Having gone to sleep for the first night in my new eVent Bivi bag, I slept reasonably well, waking a few times to find my eye itchy. However upon waking in the morning, I could hardly see out of my left eye. I suffer from bad grass allergies, so either this or something bit me in the eye. Nasty. Anyway, what can you do but just get on. And so for 2 days I rode pretty much one eyed!
Many years ago I had the phrase ‘C’est la vie’ tattooed on my arm (as you do). It translates to, ‘that’s life’. Quite self explanatory, you’ve just got to get on.
In 2013 I suffered a massive crash in April. Just as I was coming into some good form and the season getting under way. I have an open legal case, so won’t go into details. However I broke pretty much everything in the right side of my face, fracture my pelvis, arm and ankle. I suffer from lasting injuries and issues to my right eye still and will for the rest of my life. .
Everyone will face adversity in all walks of life. No one is special or exempt from the tests of life, big or small, so don’t feel you’re alone when the going is tough, everyone is there with you. With experience you can learn to handle situations and even hopefully find the strength to laugh along with the adversity you face. Above all, we all need someone to help us when the going is tough, I’m lucky to have the support of my parents and Isabelle to pick up my pieces when they fall apart.