How to ruin your recovery

So what’s been going on? After TNR, I still haven’t found my mojo to cycle for fun. I managed to ride once a week, building to 100+ km to ride the Rebound 160km in June.

Despite having the best weather possible, the best company and the best route. I mean, the route was phenomenal. We borrowed a route from Wouter Hendriksen ‘Deurdonderen’ and changed it to start from Brummen. It featured so much awesome gravel; it was ridiculous. Sometimes we almost felt like we were in Italy; the scenery differed from our usual grounds.

I felt great until about 105km; I was literally thinking, “Only 55km left. I can do this!”.

And then we had a tiny bit of climbing. It wasn’t bad, actually, but after a little break at 118km, I started to feel worse and worse. We faced a lot of headwinds, and I started to feel tired and empty. When I say empty, I don’t mean hungry. I mean empty, like an empty shell. Like my consciousness was departing, all that was left was a body struggling to push the pedals forward.

I also refused to give up, obviously. We had another short break at 140km, where I took some caffeine, and we rode on to face more wind on our way to the ferry at Bronkhorst. I couldn’t talk or think, only pedal (in a sad tempo) and tried to pull the ferry closer by staring at it fiercely.

When we reached the ferry, I hoped we’d just miss it, so I could rest a bit. But no such luck. After the ferry, there was just 2km left. Just 2km, but I just didn’t have it in me anymore. Marieke saw it and asked if I needed to stop or be picked up. I could only mutter something along the lines that I’d be fine, but I just needed to go slow (which was an understatement). We chatted a bit, and before we knew it, there were just 900 meters left, and luckily after that, it went pretty quick, and we cheered and celebrated this massive milestone.

I was proud to finish, but let’s be honest. This isn’t smart to persist like that, it’s not kind to your body, and possibly it wasn’t the best idea to start in the first place. I rode just once a week for fun, with no structured training. I was fully relying on my willpower and character to endure. The same thing I did in Torino. So basically, I haven’t yet learned to say no and to stop at the right time.

And what’s worse, I am again set back mentally and physically in a state of decline. I hadn’t touched my bike since Rebound and was supposed to ride 20km to Maastricht 2 weeks later. I thought I was smart and decided to make it 95km to Venlo instead. During Rebound, I was good during the first 100ish km, so I figured riding to Venlo would be safe. It would have been okay if I didn’t suffer from some sort of heatstroke. I went slower and slower, getting a headache, and though I tried to drink, it was getting harder.

I left the route around 55km and found a train station near 65km. After just sitting there for a while, drinking a cold soda, my headache calmed, and though I felt bad the rest of the day, it could have been worse had I not taken the shortcut. Of course, I wonder if I should have gone; perhaps I should have stayed home.

My desire to ride is now still completely gone. Any plans I made with friends for later this year are not exciting me anymore. I am concerned I won’t be fit and will struggle more because I have no desire to ride and train.

I could force myself, but perhaps I shouldn’t this time.