Falling Together

Falling Together A Story Beyond Getting Back Up

As soon as Steffi and Micayla began telling me stories about broken bones, collapsed lungs and being paralyzed from the waist down, I thought maybe I was making a mistake.

Who am I to write about getting injured? I’ve had long recoveries and ongoing chronic pain, but I’ve never faced multiple surgeries or known the weight of learning to walk again. The truth is, if it was only my story, I probably would have kept it to myself. But this is bigger than me—this is about all of us.

It started with an unexpected invitation. The email said I had less than 24 hours to make it to Portugal for the ride of a lifetime. The thought of racing to board an airplane felt jarring as I sipped coffee from the cozy confines of a friend’s Copenhagen apartment, slowly recovering from a late night of dancing in Berlin. But adventure called, loudly, and I booked a flight leaving at 4 a.m. the next morning to Lisbon.

As hurried trips go, this was already shaping up to be the kind where if everything went just right, there would still be a strong possibility of calamity along the way. And as the type of guy who doesn’t often get invited to ride in far-flung destinations with professional athletes—my nonexistent networking skills and utterly insignificant role in the bike industry don’t exactly make for many beguiling escapades—I had to pinch myself as I sat shotgun in a taxi with a Portuguese stranger named Hugo as we sped off, chasing only the promise of a good time.

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