Ever have one of those days when you’re riding along in the group ride and you silently pray for more red lights? Or you’re silent expression for a flat tire (a safe flat) so the group has to stop. Yep, me too. In fact, I had one of those days today. So what do you do when you feel like you might be in a cycling slump? Read on…
Having just successfully finished the epic and ridiculously challenging Race Across the West (RAW), my body and maybe part of my heart, is screaming at me to stay in bed and take another day off. RAW was 930.4 grueling but beautiful miles of nearly non stop bike racing. Completing it in approximately 86 hours and with much difficulty, I welcomed a break. The start of this race was at the famous Oceanside pier in CA. The time trial style start was on Tuesday afternoon at about 12pm and cyclists were sent off every 60 seconds. I believe I started around 12:30-ish. It wasn’t until Saturday morning around 2-3am I finally arrived in Durango CO. Finishing RAW meant taking nominal rest breaks for a few minutes here or there and staying on the bike for the duration of the event. The cut off time was 92 hours if you wanted to be counted as an official finisher. It was a wild adventure. Unforgettable to say the least and impacted my life forever.
Completing something challenging can “take it out” of you, so “they” say. “They” – whoever they are – are absolutely right! The longer and harder you train for something the more it demanding it can be. Demanding on your time, your job, your family, your body! The price we pay as athletes, professionals, ultra cyclists, basically whatever you want to excel at – can certainly deplete your operating capital. What do I mean by capital? I mean your literal ability to operate effectively and happily. Both your tangible and intangible capital can be over drawn or so heavily taxed that you find yourself in what many modern philosopher types call a slump.
The infamous SLUMP can be found in your cycling, your relationships, your employment, and really just about anywhere you overdraw your bank account of operating capital. You can hit your slump in the days, weeks, or months of dedicated hard work prior to your main event; or it can creep in the immediate days and weeks following your event.
In my case, I had trained for months and months for RAW. I knew that only a handful or two of cyclists finish this race every year. I wanted to be numbered among the few that have completed it. The months of training took a toll. I often woke up between 3am-4am to squeeze the training miles in before the work day started. My focus on RAW was intense and solidly based in my personal aspirations of finishing. I was persistent, dedicated, and determined beyond an average goal. This was once in a life time for me. This was a bucket list experience. I vowed to do whatever it takes to finish, whatever it takes. So in these training months I paid a price. I made daily deposits into my bank account of me ever increasing my mental toughness for this challenge but also making daily withdrawals of my personal operating capital.
Eventually the race was over (race recap coming soon in separate blog post) and the reality of the price I had paid set in. My personal operating capital was depleted, and maybe even overdrawn. My emotional (one of the intangible forms of capital) capital was bouncing from high to low back to high and then low again. On one hand I was ecstatic that I actually finished RAW. I was one of the few that had toughed it out and made it. On the other hand, my physical injuries and damage (a tangible form of capital) sustained from the race taxed my positive outlook. The physical price I had paid, and 6 weeks later I am still paying, was severe and something I had not quite anticipated.
During the race I had developed some significant pulmonary edema and it intensified to where my breathing was so restricted I felt claustrophobic for the first time in my life. I began seeing spots and could hardly gasp a single breath. The intensity of the lack of air came at about 600 miles. But long before that I started paying a much steeper price. The very first night I had started violently throwing up. I mean puking so hard my esophagus declared war on me. Later with the pulmonary edema and the mucus hacking I had wretched so violently in the days leading up to this that I began hacking up blood and my breathing was very very off. In fact, in the couple of days after the race I had passed out 3 times in the shower with complete loss of control over my body. I still remember how scary that felt as each of those episodes crept up and I was defenseless. For the 10 days immediately following the race it hurt to even swallow water. The ER doctors thought I had wretched so badly that I tore my esophagus. Luckily it wasn’t torn, but severely inflamed. Additionally, I lost feeling in my hands after the first 30 hours or so. The rest of the race I couldn’t hardly zip up a zipper let alone grip anything very well. I ended up just resting my hands on the handlebars and hoped for the best. 6 weeks later my hands are still very numb and I have no feeling in my pinky and ring fingers in each of my hands. I can’t even open up a bottle of water at the house without some help from my spouse.
That wasn’t the worst part. I actually lost complete control of my neck muscles right outside of Tuba City Arizona. I had zero ability to hold my head up any longer. This was extremely painful. My faithful crew devised a way to prop my head up with a rolled up blanket jammed under my chin held in place with some medical gauze tied behind my head. This allowed me to continue pedaling and eventually allowed me to finish the race. I rode with this pain for approximately 400+ miles and another 45+ hours. 6 weeks later I still have trouble holding my head for long and I have consistent and daily neck pain. I often go around town or to work with a neck brace. What is my point? My point here is that I paid a heavy and very tangible price. The physical operating capital was very overdrawn. My bank account of me had been depleted, had been overdrawn. I found myself in a cycling slump.
My cycling slump crept up on me. At first I felt (and still feel) justified in my need and desire to stay off the bike to recover. I have many more races on my calendar this year and I need(ed) to recover before I started riding again or I could risk further damage or even prolong my recovery. So with some reasonable feelings of contentment I stayed away from my bike. After all, I had just finished RAW and felt like I deserved a break. It didn’t take long to notice my eating habits grew grossly out of control. My desire to ride had diminished. My ability to ride had vanished thanks to my overdrawn physical capital account. Eventually I noticed something scary… I was in a slump. “How did this happen” I asked myself. I thought for sure that something like this only happened to other people, not to me. I was wrong.
For me, I just decided to ride and keep riding until I rode right out of my slump. My slump was in the form of not riding, so it made sense to me that I should start riding again to correct it. Other slumps may be in the form of riding too much, so perhaps taking a break would help. Other slumps may manifest as a plateau in your training or cycling goals so maybe the solution is to ramp up your intensity and dedication. I have been through many forms of cycling slumps and the proposed solutions seemed to work for me. I would welcome any comments or ideas on your slumps and how you got out. I bet we all hit different cycling slumps, and the more years we ride the more versions of these slumps we will encounter.
Today I couldn’t hardly keep up with the group.It had been 6 weeks since I went on a “real” ride. My fitness is gone. My neck still hurts. And it even rained on us a bit out there. So what, I loved it. I loved being back out there. I loved the group of friends I was riding with. So even though I was breathing like I had never ridden a bike, I was so happy to be out there again. I was secretly hoping for every red light and maybe even for a flat tire because I am so out of shape… but at the end of the day I rode right out my “cycling slump.”
Arizona bicycle crash and bicycle accident lawyer Ben Dodge
A bicycle crash is not always an accident. If you, or someone you know were injured in a bicycle crash or accident caused by a road hazard or dangerous road condition, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record. Ben Dodge, a licensed bicycle accident lawyer in Arizona, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles. Home based out of the great state of Arizona, Ben can still help cyclists in the entire United States. Ben also founded Bike Accident Attorneys Network, a national network of attorneys who focus on representing cyclists. Ben can find you help anywhere in the country.
Ben Dodge has represented and assisted bicycle accident victims across the entire united states. As an avid and competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Dodge currently participates in national and local cycling events all over the country. It isn’t uncommon to spot him in early morning hours out riding his bike. The day he fell in love with his job was the day he devoted himself completely to bicycle accident cases.
Ben represents cyclists injured in bicycle accidents, at the police station, with insurance companies, and in the courts. He advocates for the rights of all cyclists, not just his clients. He teaches the police about bike laws and bike safety, he educates drivers about the rules of the road, and he trains cyclists and clubs to ride more safely.
A consultation with experienced Arizona bicycle accident attorney Ben Dodge is free
In recent years there has been approximately 700 bicycle fatalities in the united states every single year. Approximately 2,000 bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. approximately 30 fatal bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Bicycle fatalities are terrible and horrific tragedies that affect the lives of too many families and friends to count. Understanding your rights and obligations as a cyclist can bring clarity to your specific accident situation. It will always be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who knows the bicycle laws and has a successful track record of winning bicycle accident cases. The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your bicycle accident case. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in bicycle accident law, local and state bicycle ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and laws. You should hire someone very familiar with negligence and tort law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence as they all relate specifically to bicycle accident cases.
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You can call Arizona bicycle lawyer Ben Dodge of bike accident attorneys, PLC at 1.855.663.3922. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Ben will personally return your call within 24 hours. there is never an obligation for a complimentary consultation with Mr. dodge. His passion is in representing cyclists and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness and patience.
Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC
Call Ben Dodge, the Bicycle Lawyer today at 1.855.663.3922. Reach him by fax at 1.800.958.8902.
Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at email@example.com
His main Arizona offices are located at:
Mesa Arizona (home base office)
4824 E. Baseline Rd., Suite 124
Mesa, Arizona 85206
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2415 e. Camelback rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
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Tucson, Arizona 85701
Mr. Dodge represents cyclists in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to mesa, phoenix, tucson, yuma, gilbert, peoria, glendale, scottsdale, ahwatukee, tempe, chandler, prescott, sedona, flagstaff, surprise, kingman, page, lake havasu city, payson, goodyear, buckeye, queen creek, paradise valley, show low, winslow, maricopa, nogales, globe, avondale, cave creek, fountain hills, apache junction, carefree, wickenburg, pinetop-lakeside, strawberry, anthem, safford, and more. Ben Dodge is currently involved with bicycle accident cases all over the country and can assist in representation in all 50 states.