Originally this post was going to be on the theoretical topic and postulation of training whilst sick… However, I thought it much more exciting to put it in context via the use of a painful real world example to work with.
To start with… Most athletes are absolutely fucked when it comes to not training when we’re sick. I suspect that cyclists are amongst the worst offenders. Somehow we manage to convince ourselves that its better to train than not when ill. And, even though I am a class A hypercondriac, I am still guilty of ignoring my body, symptoms and signs to keep riding when it should be down time.
I had already lost 4 days (an unheard of time off the bike this year) the week before last totally cunted with the flu when I went out for the usual Tuesday hills session, thinking I was sweeeeet As eh. Apparently not. That one session brought out the worst of the Flu action, a steep deterioration over the previous 4 days. Lesson learnt? You’d think…
But… NO. Now, at this point I blame Strava for fuelling this madness. Much like the ‘Fuckbook effect’ where people sit around getting depressed looking at other peoples “amazing” lives displayed on Fuckbook, cyclists have Strava to assist fucking us up and getting us to make bad decisions. As you sit at home eating cakes and watching pink bike videos, you continually refresh your Strava feed to see how many miles team mates/competitors/cunts are putting in whilst you are losing fitness faster than than a Scotsman can drop a wheel.
So, with this in mind I agreed to lead a ride into Malaysia as my first ride back. A mere 160km’s of hard, high speed and roller filled riding with not a single traffic light in sight. Add to the mix holes in the road that would fit an Airliner in them and you have a recipe for an extremely hard day. Yes, the Kulai loop is out there… Beyond them trees and it was gagging for some virgin sacrifices:
Luckily for me I had 6 virgin offerings to feed to the relentlessness of the HY94 rollers… Which pleased me greatly as I have been fingered more times than I would care to remember on this ride and whilst I hadn’t done it for a year, I knew it would still be waiting to fuck me up with my marginal health status. Still, everyone was excited at the border post heading off Island:
Most likely the smiles related to the fact that we had just escaped the indomitable clutches of the Welsh Assassin, who gave us a ‘friendly’ escort (translation: He rode all the way to the border at 44kph without sweating whilst talking at the Spy who was hunched on the drops eating bar tape) up to the Woodlands check point… Its possible there was a collective sigh of relief when he bid us farewell looking fresher than Catherine Zeta Jones when she was still in the darling buds of May:
The first time riding in Malaysia is a bit like arriving in Afghanistan for your first tour of duty… Except the roads are better there. As such, it was an educational experience for the boys and yes, when someone yells HOLE it fucking really is! We ain’t on East Coast any more… With a few stops to rescue a dropped Powerbar (its a Scottish thing) on a highway of death and a pair of glasses (had I known they were Rudy Projects I would have ordered the boys onward and not mentioned it), it was definitely a recce trip for future assaults:
Yes, never mind all that escaping JB rubbish, the real prize up north is one segment and one segment alone: The Highway 94 rollers. Depending on your perspective, there are two options on what constitutes the rollers:
- If you’re as soft as a wet pussy (i.e. a Tabby caught in a rain storm), then its 23km’s that need to be ridden at more than 40.3kph to take the Strava KOM
- Or, if you really want to harden up, its to the Shell station, 33.4km’s that needs to be ridden at more than 39.5kph to take the KOM off the GOAT
The distance isn’t really an issue… Its more the rollers and the fact that it starts 60km’s into the ride… So time to suck it up and get on the GAS. Ideally its a pace line scenario, but with so many virgins to sacrifice to the rage of the rollers, it was single file turns. I hadn’t foreseen however that V2 would mistake his team mates for London and proceeded to fire bomb them into the Malaysia countryside. I only managed to get a single photo as I tried to hold his wheel:
With V2 terror being rained on the group, it was obvious that the Scotman would be the first to stop, drop and roll to seek cover. There were a few regroupings… The end result was we missed the first and softer KOM by a minute. On reflection, this was actually pretty good considering 6 out of 7 were new to the horrors of a road that pretends its been cluster bombed. Still, missing the KOM by a minute didn’t please everyone. When Snozza found out back at HQ that we had fucked it up, to say he was unpleased was an understatement. Go PRO footage caught his reaction on tape:
Yes, we’re going to pay the price for that one over the coming weeks and I see a painful rematch on the cards. Everyone was pretty happy to see the sweet Shell petrol station after pushing through to the end of the REAL rollers. We quickly took a team shot while Frazzle was doing something you never do in Malaysia Truly Asia, no, not fly on MAS; use the bathroom:
Getting home on the highway from HELL is also quite an experience… Sitting in the 40’s all the way home, heat, traffic and more fuck your face killer pot holes all combine to make it unique. It was also about the time that it became clear to me via cramping that perhaps I wasn’t quite healthy enough for a 160km ride in mid 30 deg heat with an average speed of 35kph… Especially with the boys smashing it to pieces. Which, in a round about way brings me back to my original premise.
Yes, I fucked myself. Oddly enough I then tried to ride again on Sunday and not only was I fucked completely, but to add insult to injury my newly replaced Garmin didn’t save the ride from Sunday, which resulted in me being the only one to cheer when Dan Martin snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in LBL on the last corner. Its now Tuesday and I still can’t recover or rider properly and I’ve handed whatever sinus infection is in control a great excuse to keep fucking up my head.
So, another lesson in why being sick and training don’t mix… Instead of waiting and being 100% I have prolonged the wretchedness through Strava anxiety and an irrational desire to ride. Time to get healthy and head back to Highway 94 for a REAL crack. Speaking of cracking, my stem didn’t enjoy the ride as much as I did it seems: