Trust your intuition!

Indeed, we are preparing to travel around the world, we gain new experiences, useful skills, but with such “a panache”… Some experiences would be better not to have.

We have already accelerated so much with the training that after four days another plan appears in our heads. To complete a small section of TET – Trans Euro Trail. It is a 38,000 km off-road route leading through 30 countries in Europe.

Marcin, our experienced friend, goes with us. Great, we’ll get some advice! We choose Brecon Beacons National Park and a part of Wales.

We start on Thursday afternoon and just one and a half hour later, we find the beginning of our trail. There is still an early hour, so without wasting time, we start right away. The first part starts steeply downhill. Of course not for Marcin, who waits for us at the end, and we join him at our own pace. And this happens every time. Until now, I thought that only pedestrians could walk on such narrow paths. Bushes pulling our legs, fallen trees in the way, or hanging branches increase the level of difficulty. In fact, some sections are marked as a footpath, even though TET runs through legal roads.

We start quite late on Friday, but we do not want to rush since we still have a whole day ahead of us. We do not get through such thick bushes anymore. The roads widen, which does not mean that they get easier. Slippery rocks, fallen tree limbs and loose stones appear from nowhere. I do not know anymore what is the most difficult for me. I thought I preferred to ride uphill rather than downhill. After today’s unsuccessful attempt, I have to think it through. Then the ruts become the biggest challenge for me. But after that the part of a trail with loose gravel comes to the front of my list. And so over and over for half of a day, till we take a break. Until then, I stopped counting the number of falls and began to make plans on how to improve my condition. I could control the motorcycle and overcome all obstacles. 😉 Łukasz, despite worse tires, is doing great.

After the break, we modify the plan. We split with Marcin and return to the area known to us from previous weeks – Salisbury. TET runs through it as well.

The next day, completely different views appear in front of us. Instead of closed spaces, bushes and forests, we can see the meadows stretching up to the distant horizon. Terrain difficulties come down to shallow puddles and deep ruts. 😉 While yesterday we moved slowly, today we ride faster and more efficiently. Still focused, of course. In both sceneries, there is fun, though different.

We ride for some time, every now and then I make minor mistakes and intuition shyly begin to persuade me to take a break. I keep it quite justifying that it is caused by exhaustion. Besides, it is more difficult for a beginner and I learn on mistakes. But for the peace of mind, I decided that we will just finish this one and a half kilometre (!) section and we will rest.

I did not have to wait long, the action take place in a flash. We move up towards a small hill, cross the mud and run into ruts which I have become more and more familiarized with. Łukasz is in front of me, advises to avoid the rut in the middle. Damn, I’m already in it. A fraction of a moment later, I feel the handlebar wobbles and tears out of my hands. I manage to hold it, but automatically make a series of errors. I move body weight to the back, the front wheel lose contact with the ground, which results in even greater loss of control. Motorcycle with me still on it, lies down to the left side, we root the ground, then stop, engine stalls. Silence surrounds me. Outside and in my head.

Used to the falls, this time I feel that the fall is more serious, although at first, I assess it is not so bad. My head did not hit the ground and not a lot hurts me. I calmly inform Łukasz about the situation, he runs to me. And I feel that I have to lie for a while. I close my eyes to calm my mind and decrease the adrenaline level. After opening them, I see a beautiful blue sky and three bowed heads with worried faces. In addition to Łukasz, there is a young couple from the 4×4 car, which we overtook a moment earlier. I assure them that they can go as I am fine. I slowly stand up.

As for a real man, Łukasz proceeds to the rescue. 😉 Firmly, though gently unbuckles my helmet,  helps to remove the gloves and I already know that there will be a problem with the right forearm. The rest of my body is a little bruised, but fine. Now, the assessment of motorcycle losses. A mixture of earth and small stones got stuck to the side of the motorcycle, getting into smallest gaps. In addition to minor damage like scratched fork protectors, deep scratch on the alternator’s aluminium cover, or a small dent in engine cover, the handlebar seems to be bent. It turns out that the handlebar support clamp has been damaged at the bottom. Łukasz finds it as a small problem and goes straight to repair it. I give myself a time to rest, after which I check if I can continue to ride. Mind you, the right hand controls the throttle and the front brake lever. And there is no chance to do it in my condition. The wrist swells and its mobility decreases. The other hand and knee also begin to hurt. That is the end of my TET ride for today and perhaps rides this season in total…

After putting the handlebar back together, Łukasz organises a return transport for me and KTM. Fortunately, Marcin agrees to help. Before he arrives, Łukasz assesses the terrain, checking whether an ordinary car with a trailer will be able to reach us. Unfortunately no, so he rides one motorcycle after another to the main road. I walk slowly towards the same spot. I cannot still believe that only one and a half kilometres further and we would stop for the planned break! It also turns out that there is still a problem to ride my bike in a straight line – it will need to be checked thoroughly. While I am waiting for Marcin, Łukasz goes to the campsite to pack our stuff, then shoots back home to be ready to take over my motorcycle from Marcin and me from the hospital. In the meantime, Marcin comes up with a trailer, loads KTM, takes me to the car and delivers to the emergency…

Summary of the training is a broken right wrist, bruised left wrist and knee and compulsory long break. Because it is Saturday evening and there are no specialists on site, they put my hand in a temporary plaster, and on a next day, I get a fibreglass cast.

I always draw conclusions. From this story I think of 2:

  1. Do not underestimate your intuition!
  2. Some women may not really know the laws of physics, because I still get into the head how I broke my right wrist when I fell to the left… 😉
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