I don’t know a suitable title, I don’t even know how to start this. I just thought to write about it to express myself, the main reason I started blogging.
Sometimes you just need to (try) and take a step back. But when that fails, what do you do?
I’ve not been able to enjoy riding a bike for more than 2 months now. I have this constant numbness/emptiness feeling in my legs when riding. Which means when I try and put a bit of effort in I’m greeted with muscular pain in my quads. I can turn the pedals in comfort just about but anything more and I’m spent.
So when there’s any sort of gradient and I’m forced to put effort in, it hurts and when it’s steep, I don’t have that power there to grind up like normal. But my stubbornness to not walk up a hill overcomes it and I’m in a physical and mental battle with myself for no reason.
When spring approached and the miles started to increase it was great. Plus lighter days mean longer rides…great.
At the start of March I had a generic illness, some flu-ey type of thing but I didn’t think much of it and i’ll ride and it will soon pass.
I ended up getting into a bit of a vicious circle. I would ride feeling a bit achy on the weekends and rest in the week, by the time the next weekend came around I would not feel as bad so I would ride and then going back to feeling a bit ill and starting the circle again.
This carried on for a few weeks, but the weekends I was riding were pretty big. One was a century, one was a back to back in Wales and another back to back weekend of riding.
The last weekend was a ride which was 8 loops of the Great Orme when I was feeling bad as it was. This was on the 18th of March and I’ve had nothing on the bike since.
I gave myself 2 weeks rest, but I suck at resting. I still cycled into work a couple of times a week but I did no real riding and I also stopped playing football.
I gave myself another week, no improvement.
I gave myself another week, no improvement.
I was starting to get a bit stressed and fed up with it now. The weekends were looking good and I was stopping myself from riding and then when scrolling through Strava to see people putting good rides in made me feel worse.
Mallorca was probably about two weeks away from now and I haven’t ridden properly for 3 weeks. I started taking all sorts of vitamins, regualr sports massages and also applying ice to my legs when in the house. I didn’t ride up until Mallorca either and if it came down to the worst case scenario. I’ll be drinking beer in Mallorca every day.
Anyway got to Mallorca and my legs felt slightly better, still shit but I wasn’t pedaling in agony. I don’t know if it was the joy being somewhere warm or being in my favourite place to ride but I felt Ok riding and got about 350 miles in for the week.
Shortly after the same thing happened and I was back to feeling the way I was and I don’t know if this is a case of “overdoing” for a week when not doing much previously.
I’ve stayed away from big rides since but there was a ride to the Peak District on the cards and it’s one of my favourite rides so how could I let it pass!
I had a little ride that morning to the shop and I thought I was going to be feeling fine, but it was probably too soon to make that call.
The first few miles into this ride I wasn’t too bad either but it was when the pace started to pick up and the hills my legs went probably 20 miles ish into the ride were I was feeling awful again. Constantly off the back and couldn’t really do much about it.
The others were happy to wait but you still feel under pressure to try and stay with the group.
Onto the first proper hill in the peak district I cracked. Well and truly. My legs went and so did my head. It’s the first time this has ever properly happened – I’d say my mental strength is what gets me through riding but I just gave up.
I was going up a steep hill, 15%+ the others were ahead, it was warm and I was giving it absolutely everything just to stay upright. It didn’t feel right to be in this much pain and I was just beyond frustrated and I just let the waterworks go. I was genuinely crying.
I always keep things bottled up and I don’t really show people my emotions, I think that was something drilled into me from an early age playing sports.
But I was on my own going up a hill and I’d just had enough and the frustration got the better of me to say the least and I’d made the decision then that I wasn’t going to continue the ride.
The cafe was only a couple of miles away so I was going to go there but then head back after that.
It was a 40 mike solo ride back but it was good to be on my own in some ways, just no pressure and I enjoy my own space. The ride back was made up of a couple of pint stops and also some food so it turned out to be a good decision.
To be honest I don’t know – I’m not doing any big rides until I feel 100% again and I’ve no idea when that will be. I’m also taking a step away from cycling. I get worked up when I see Instagram and Strava of people cycling because it’s what I want to be doing so it’s just for my own benefit and not to rush back into it.
It takes as long as it takes I guess and that’s that. A break can be good and it’ll help me enjoy it more when I do start to ride again.