I used to be a contender. I could have taken that KOM. I was quicker goddammit and now look at me. Pathetic.
Slow with a tailwind, the merest incline induces a series of huffing and puffing and effing and blinding. Strava automatically marks my rides as private as a sign of a respect to my former self. Inner chimp has become inner chump. Yep, I’m most definitely outta shape.
Empty legs, head and heart. The unthinkable has happened. I’ve fallen out of love with cycling. Say what now? Surely not? The urge long lost, denial initially fuelled more riding. Perhaps I’ll just blast through it, I thought, kidding nobody. This lasted for two months before THAT ride.
We need a break. It’s over. It’s me, not you. I can commit no longer, I need space, I’m tired. Let’s not get emotional, let’s enjoy the memories we shared, fond moments we’ll never forget. So long bike.
Done. Kaput. Finito. The end of the cycling season comes to an abrupt halt, no warning, just like that, you stop cycling. Mercy. One week you’re loving every ride, no end in sight, not even winter will stop you, and then bang, you’re sat inside on a lovely day, no motivation, no guilt, beer in hand, telly on, belly out.
A guide to what, resting? Are you serious? Yes, very. Knowing when and how to rest is the single most important consideration if you want to become a faster, stronger cyclist. More important than how to train properly, more important than nutrition or aerodynamics or losing weight. More important than the bike you ride. Whaaaa? I know!
Oi you, get off that bike and take a break will you? Without rest all of the above is simply wasted effort because you will be too tired to benefit. I’ve been on a quest dear readers. For two years I’ve searched the farthest recesses of Google, of my body [eugh].
Something is wrong. In the universe? No, just me. I have stopped cycling. For a little bit. Which is a big thing for this serial overtrainer. Rest time. Not that my body is listening…
I fall asleep, my legs spinning. No wonder I’m always tired, I’m logging extra miles in my dreams. Yet Strava registers no such rides. Spinning in my sleep actually happens. True story. And yes, I’ve asked my girlfriend to monitor my cadence.
Stress. What is it good for? True, we ride hard to stress, and ultimately strengthen, our muscles. Riding a bike can also help reduce our mental stress. Yet what impact does mental stress have on our recovery after a cycle ride? If we are too stressed is our physical ability impacted and thus the quality of our ride dips?
Legs dead, they hurt climbing stairs. Pain strikes when standing from a seated position. Time for rest. I’ve been commuting every week and cycling every weekend since November. My legs have given up.
Mentally I’m shot too with 9-5 (more like 8-6 of late) office life taking its wretched toll. Colleagues have been talking at me for weeks now and I’ve somehow satisfied their needs by pretending to understand what the hell they are yakking on about. My incomprehensible grunts seem to answer their questions. Sleeping badly, every inch of me needs rest.
Rest is fitness suicide to the cyclist. To rest is to idle, to degrade. Should Sunday morning arrive and the dear cyclist be found lying on the sofa, you’ll see horror etched on their face, eyes wide and glued to their legs, which they believe are undergoing a Kafkaesque transformation into marshmallow.
Getting a cyclist to rest is like sending a child to bed early. It maybe for our own good yet all we think about is what we’re missing out on. We do not exist if our pedals are not turning.