My road bike. Just sitting there for 3 weeks. My anxiety level redlining after a fellow local cyclist got hit by a car from behind in the bike lane last month. Non-life threatening injuries the report said. A lengthy surgery to put the bones in his wrist back together and a busted ankle that are going to change pretty much everything in his life for a long while now. Damn. Hearing about incidents like this scare the living daylight out of me. Out there, we are so very vulnerable. Especially in this day and age of distracted drivers. In order to survive, I’ve become hyper vigilant while riding. Unapologetically jumping onto sidewalks whenever I don’t feel safe. Using trails whenever possible. Avoiding certain high traffic low shoulder roads altogether. Defensive riding. And I’ve stopped giving the middle finger or mouthing off non-conforming drivers. Instead, I’ve been waving to drivers who give me more than the required 3 feet. Hoping to cultivate good karma. Doing what I can so that we can hopefully all get along and share the road. Instead of fighting it, I’ve also been trying to feel the fear. Lean into it. Accept it. But sometimes it just gets too strong. Like these last few weeks. Eroding anxiety. Slowly killing me. I don’t ride on the road as much as I used to. More gravel. More mountain. My attempt to lean the odds in my favor. Last Friday I paused for a minute after starting my Garmin to taste this fear. Sit with it. Befriend it. A prayer of sorts. My high vis jersey and socks. My powerful blinking front and rear lights. Control what I can. Surrender to what I cannot. Alive. My first road century of this year. But if I’m being completely honest, a part of me was still relieved when I made it back home safely.