My 40-Mile Bike Ride Gone Bad…

Hilary Topper swimming with a bruise

Athletes have setbacks. There is nothing we can do about it. It’s frustrating and happens when you least expect it to. That’s what happened to me this past weekend.

I was all set to do two major breakthroughs — a 2-mile swim on Sunday and a 40-mile bike on Monday. Sunday came and I completed the swim, no issues. I felt like I could go longer!

The 40-Mile Bike

The 40-mile bike ride scared me. But I kept thinking about a friend who I met through “tri life.” Her name is Staci. I saw Staci a week before riding Tobay. She had the biggest smile on her face. I was noticing that many of the other riders were smiling too. I wondered if they knew something I didn’t know? Whatever the case, her smile stayed with me, and instead of being nervous, I enjoyed that ride. (Unfortunately, later during that week, Stacey had a bad crash. Prayers to her for a speedy recovery!)

Monday came and after getting dressed, having my coffee and my banana mash (that’s for another time), I started to cough. My chest felt tight and my throat felt as if it were closing up. So, I decided not to do the ride and return to bed. It was a long weekend filled with my daughter’s engagement party and the 2-mile swim. It also included me driving her back to the city. Maybe I was just tired?

Getting myself geared up

Monday night, I got myself ready. Two of my water bottles were filled with The Right Stuff and the other was filled with Hydramag. I had a couple of Honey Stinger gels in my back pocket that I got from New York Road Runners. I was set.

Tuesday morning came and I ate my “banana mash” and went out of the door and into the car. My bike had been in the car since the weekend. I was ready. I’m going to do this.

I drove over to cedar creek, unloaded the gear, and instead of standing over my bike overthinking the ride, I just went. I felt good. The wind was against me going out to Tobay. But, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I was happy and knew it would be okay. “You can do this,” I said to myself. I smiled as I thought of Staci with her big smile. I love to ride, it’s an awesome sense of freedom, I thought.

At the end of Cedar Creek

I got to the end of Cedar Creek and saw Jones Beach theatre. Riding around the bend toward the Tobay bike path, I always find tricky and go particularly slow here. As I went up a small incline to the Tobay path that led to the beach, I was feeling confident. As I rode four miles, I noticed two things – 1) the gate where the extension is and 2) there was a barrier that blocked the opening to the beach.

I went thru the barrier with ease and circled the parking lot.

Just as I went up the gate, I caught something or banged into the rail, I’m not quite sure how it happened but I felt myself go down and bang my hip and my wrist.

How did I get home?

With no one around, I had to get back on my bike and ride back to Cedar Creek. It was painful. I had a hard time shifting and a hard time breaking. I just wanted to get back to my car and go to Urgent Care. (I’ve damaged my wrist three times in the last couple of years, I didn’t want to take any chances.)

To make a long story short, I had an X-ray and it was found that I just badly bruised/sprained my wrist. I didn’t even have anyone look at my hip. (The Covid-19 padding helped with the impact!)

Lesson learned: You fall, you are down, and you get back on the saddle! (I keep telling myself, I am stronger than a fall. Some days it works and some days it doesn’t, but I keep on trying!)