One year ago - Sunday, May 4, 2008 - was a crisp sunny day as my friends and I prepared for one of our final ascents of Coal Bank Pass and Molas Pass in our training for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.We started at Chris Park, and by the time we reached the top of Molas, we stopped to refuel, visit with other riders and put on our jackets to prepare for the chilly descent.
I was feeling really strong after training for months for the Memorial Day weekend of events, which would include the ride to Silverton, the 10-mile Narrow Gauge Run and the 1,500-meter Narrow Horse Swim, the first year that I would add the bike ride to the mix.
About two miles down Molas, I hit a large pothole causing my bike to flip and sending me face-first into the pavement.
It was probably a reflex reaction that I immediately got up and jumped to the side of the road before realizing the extent of my injuries.
By then, my friend and the group of bikers we had met at the top arrived at the scene.
The rest, as they say, is history, and I am happy to put that chapter in my life behind me.
Fast forward to the present.
I have spent the last year rebuilding my fitness, and I feel lucky to be alive and in good health. I will participate in the 10-mile run and the swim this year as I have for the last 10 years of the Iron Horse, but I'm not feeling ready to tackle the passes yet.
After the initial healing and then knee surgery for a torn meniscus in October, I have been steadily working up to the level I was at a year ago.
I tested my fitness April 25 with an 11-mile race in Cortez, the first since August. And I feel ready for the upcoming racing season.
Life has a way of surprising and challenging us in many ways, and I marvel at how lucky I am to still be here.
In some ways, it has changed me both positively and negatively. On the positive side, I try to make every day count knowing now that it could be the last.
The negative side is that I am fearful of steep descents, and I have to work through this each time I ride. I am determined to tackle the passes again but understand that I will have to take baby steps to achieve that goal.
Fortunately, running is my passion and takes precedence over all my other athletic pursuits. But as a runner, I know the importance of cross training for injury prevention and general overall fitness. May kicks off a slew of races almost every weekend, beginning with last weekend's Mother's Day Telegraph 10K, the first race in the First National Bank-sponsored Town Series, which includes the Mountain Park Classic on July 11 and the Animas Mug Run on Sept. 20.
The South Rim Duathlon was rescheduled for Sunday. It combines running and mountain biking on one of my favorite routes, the Sale Barn Trail.
In addition to these races, there are numerous 5K's available throughout the season, beginning with the Narrow Gauge runs May 24, which offer a 10-mile and 5K option.
On June 20, the Steamwork's Animas Valley Half Marathon returns, and July 25, the Kennebec Mountain Challenge is back to pit runners against the mountain.
Check out the events calendar on the Durango Motorless Transit Web site at www.go-dmt.org and select an event that suits you.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.