Who is the creature who returns home exhausted, depleted? Dry salt caking face, heavy black rings lacing eyes, more aches and pains in legs than your average nursing home. This is the cyclist who has ridden too far, too high. Bitten off more than they can chew. The route too big for their legs.
At the end of each three week training block I ride like a child who has stayed up way beyond their bedtime, pushing my body to its limits, working every last drop of energy from my legs.
Why? I love ‘big’ rides (don’t mention the four letter E-word), I enjoy the physical and mental challenge of pushing body and mind to the next level. And then I rest. No overtraining for me, oh no, I’ve been there.
Problem is, rest actually requires going to work and you know, still functioning with a resemblance to a human. Not sure I manage the latter at the best of times.
Post big ride I’m oh so low. I was actually shocked to see the hollow face staring back at me after a recent ride in the Peak District. The next two days passed in a fugue like state, warning lights flashing on my mental capacity dashboard.
Simple arithmetic is like cracking the enigma code, casual questions akin to interrogation. Did I have a good weekend? I’m unsure. Is this not Sunday?
I exist in an echo chamber. Voices reach me long after lips have stopped moving, my mumbled reply is delivered long after they’ve turned their backs.
I have the reflexes of a hungover sloth. The world moves all around me as if underwater, slow motion, am I seeing through the matrix?
Coffee kicks not this donkey. Food fails me. Sleep cannot come quickly enough and when it does the clock reads noon.
I have no wit, no turn of phrase. I’m certain of nothing. I’m lost in a long tunnel, the distant white dot of normality gets no closer.
I feel nothing. The thought of riding, of doing anything other than lying down, overwhelms me. Never again. Until next time, anyway.