Last summer I rode the same mountain bike trail that claimed my four front teeth two years ago. It was the first time that I have done a major mountain bike ride since that eventful day.
Two years ago I was having an awesome day mountain bike riding in Banff National Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the world. Then in a moment, I hit a large root the wrong way and I was catapulted over my handlebars and landed face first on another big root on the trail.
In a moment my two front teeth were gone and I was almost knocked out. There was blood everywhere. When my riding partner, Tom, discovered me, face first on the trail with my bike on top of me, he quickly pulled the bike off me. He then helped me sit down by the side of the trail and put my head down between my legs to recover from my concussion. After my head cleared, Tom and I rode the final thirty km of the trip.
The next day, Sunday, I wasn’t feeling too bad so I led worship at church. (I know.. a little gung-ho!) I hid my missing teeth by hiding my mouth behind the mic. All went well, but it was a bit embarrassing when I proceeded to spit out my third tooth in the middle of a song. The next day I went to the dentist and I was informed that they couldn’t save the fourth tooth. Four teeth gone in three days!
My wife found out about my accident through a pic that Tom took. He posted in on Facebook and my wife, Anna, who was in Italy at the time, heard about it from her Italian relatives. She was not impressed!
Here is what I learned from that accident.
1. Don’t get overconfident
I had ridden that mountain trail a number of times before and this time I was really going for it. I was ‘cranking’! I was riding just above my abilities. I obviously did not take the necessary precautions. I was wearing a helmet but without protection for my face. I paid the price for that.
2. Always ride with a friend
I love being in the wilderness. But accidents can happen! It is always important to have a friend with you. I was sure thankful that Tom was there to pull the bike off of me and support me through the rest of the trip.
3. It cost a lot of money to fix teeth
That accident ended up costing around $4500. Eastside City Church was very generous and gave me $3000 toward my expenses. My wife often reminds me that it would have been cheaper for me to have gone to Italy with her!
4. Accidents put fear into your heart
I am not a fearful person. In fact, I am probably the opposite of that. But, after you have had such a traumatic incident, an element of apprehension comes. I did not get back on my mountain bike for over a year and a half. I bought a full face mask but I really did not start using it till a few months ago.
5. Learn to overcome your fears one step at a time
I started to do some easy mountain bike rides over the last few months. I slowly built up my confidence again. It is wise to do a few easy hills before you take on that mountain.
6. Don’t let fear keep you from something you enjoy.
I love to challenge my fears. I do not want fear to control my life. That ride was partially about challenging the fear that had come into my mind. It was so great to get out there again, to aggressively ride but with the proper precautions. Do not let your fears hold you back from enjoying the great life that God has for you!
‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind!’
Question: What fears have you learned to overcome in your life? What incidents have put fear into your heart?
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