There’s been a bit in the news this week about Man Flu, some (male) scientist somewhere has claimed to prove it exists, which of course was instantly greeted by all women collectively sighing and placing their heads in their hands. Man flu, (or the common cold) as virulent as it is, is nothing though, nothing compared to cyclist’s flu. Man flu may stop you going into work, stop you going to the office party, but cyclist’s flu, that stops you riding your bike, that robs you of your very reason to live. You know it’s coming, bit of a sore throat, runny nose, then you start to feel tired and you ache, then it hits. Throw the training plan out of the window, throw everything out of the window, cancel Christmas, that's ruined, this is going to be BAD.
Day one. You still look and feel like the ‘athlete’ you were the day before so you try to stay positive, maybe it will just blow over, you can have a day off, everything will be fine, it’s not the end of the world.
Day two. You are still ill, it’s the end of the world. You immediately notice the transition to civilian start to take place. Like a butterfly metamorphosing back to a caterpillar you sit and watch your muscles waste and your belly expand.
Day three. By now ALL fitness you had has gone, vanished, all those hours in the saddle, the endless conditioning robbed from you in the blink of an eye, you now begin to re-evaluate your whole life.
Day four. Your family are now stretched to breaking point and ready to disown you. If you moan ONCE more it will mean divorce. You try to explain to your wife the seriousness of the situation but she just doesn’t understand. She tells you you have a cold, she has NO IDEA how bad it is so you call your mum for the third time that day, she hangs up on you, you are now alone.
Day five. Every item of cycling kit you own has now been washed but you have no where to put it because half of it is usually in the wash and it is bulging out of your drawers. You have to take the bus or the car if you are well enough to leave the house then you see other riders out, people who still have their health and the envy eats you up inside.
Day six. You have now forgotten what riding a bike felt like, you sit there looking at it, remembering the good times you had together in what seems like a previous life, the memories, like your fitness fading into history.
Day seven. it’s now been a whole week, your Strava feed is empty, you have nothing to tweet about, and nothing to share on Instagram. You wake up on Sunday morning and by 7am you are bored and lost. I mean, what do ‘normal’ people do on a Sunday morning. You turn the TV on then 30 seconds later you turn it off because you realise that’s why you took up cycling in the first place, to get away from the banality of watching people cook on TV.
Day eight. You’re too scared to use the scales, too much damage has been done, how can a cold, sorry, cyclist’s flu, last this long, has anyone ever had seven days off the bike and recovered? If I can make a comeback how long will it take? Weeks? Months? Will I ever get my old self back?
Day nine. OK, you feel like you’ve turned a corner, you are far from better but there is just a glimmer of positivity. You talk yourself into going on the turbo for half an hour, but then you think what’s the point? There’s too much work to be done, where do I start? Heaven knows I’m miserable now.
Day 10. You venture out, and smash a local KOM, at last you are back, what a nightmare it was. No one will ever understand what you have been through or the effort you put in to get back to fitness, it is a personal struggle they will never comprehend, but you did it because you stayed strong, you didn’t moan and you fought through the worst nine days of your life.
Happy Christmas everyone, stay healthy and stay safe.
Tomorrow is last post day at my shop ;-)