Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's all about your attitude - Part II

Eric recounted his accident five years earlier while riding some trails in Gatineau Park by himself one day. He had been pushing the limit of his free-ride bike and took a spill that put him over the ledge of a twenty-one foot drop in which he landed on his head. There he lay for two or three hours late in the day in April (when it still gets cold at night) until a father and his son, who were out for a hike, found him very badly injured. He was very lucky to get found as he was off the trail and hurt pretty bad. A night in the woods, alone and hurt, in April - odds aren't that good.

He spoke about his injuries, down time off the bike, the feelings of depression . . . but he also spoke about the time to heal and the time to put your head down and get-on-with-it. It felt as though he was inside my head and knew my frame of mind. Due to his injury, he rides a road bike now . . . but with the shit eating grin that he had on his face when he spoke about riding, I don't think it matters if he's on the road or trail, Eric is just happy riding.

Funny how sometimes we get to hear what we need to hear (and see), just at the right time.

Oh yeah, here's a photo of Eric and his bike just before he headed off on his way up to Champlain . . . .

This is Eric.

Eric has been a paraplegic for about five years now. He has paralysis of his lower body and due to the head injury he sustained when he broke his neck in his crash, he only has partial hand mobility as well. His accident doesn't seem to have affected his smile though.

He lives about a 45 minute drive from the park, which he does about twice a week to get his 100 or so kms in on his road bike. He rides from Gameline up to Champlain and back. In the off season he plays wheel-chair rugby and is presently in the planning stages of trip on his bike from BC back to his home in Quebec in 2012. This guy is tough as nails.

Eric's hand-road bike.

If you're reading Eric, it was awesome talking to you, thanks for the kick in the ass (which you didn't know that you were giving me) and hope that we can go for a ride together some day.


Kark said...

I remember reading Cannonballs post about that accident on 'Pure' back when it happened and thinking "there, but for the grace.."

I'm so glad to hear that he's still able to enjoy the feel of wheels rolling beneath him!

great post. We can all use a refresher course in thankfulness from time to time.

CB2 said...

Eric's a great example for all. Be thankful for all that you've got.
Thanks for sharing.

My uncle rides a hand cycle. Lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. Talk about gear junkie; his bike is bling!