The world of cycling is often a masochistic one. The stories of overcoming incredible, super-human suffering on the bike are the very foundation that many of our greatest cycling heros are based on.
There is however a fine line between enduring the suffering longer than your opponents, and causing damage that can have you off the bike for more than just the remainder of one particular ride.Every athlete has to learn this distinction – the subtle difference between lungs burning, mouth taste like blood, just need to push harder to get there, and oh s*&% something is ripped / torn / broken / strained / pulled.
That was my commute today. Actually – it started with a commute a couple of weeks ago. Stood up to take off from a red light and wham… instant stinging sensation in the lower part of my quad. Immediately sat back down in the saddle, but the pain remained. Took it easy on the way to work. Skipped the ride the next day.
Things seemed to be on the mend. I was heading into Labor Day weekend so just basically took the weekend off easy.
Monday morning – things got worse. Took off from a stop light like before. Pain returned in the quad. I was thrown slightly off balance by the surprise of sudden pain – and that resulted in me pulling up odd with the other leg. That calf muscle responded with a stinging sensation of its own.
The rest of that ride resulted in the slowest commute I’ve every done following this route. Ever. Including the times on my somewhat less efficient cargo bike. And I’m OK with that. The rest of this week will be easy spinning. My goal – stay in the saddle the whole time. I’m currently experimenting with a drastic change in lifestyle/diet that may also be playing into this in some fashion. It has definitely changed my “power curve” in the saddle, which may be introducing excess strain on my body that would not have otherwise been there.
A good cyclist is someone that listens to their body and knows the difference between a fuel gauge that is on empty, and the check engine light. A great cyclist knows how to ignore the right signals, and immediately respond to the others.