Je Suis Fatigué: When You’re Stuck in the Spin Cycle

Possible titles for this post included (the humorless should skip the intro):

  • Biking Is Good for Getting In Shape to Escape the Zombie Hordes
  • Coronavirus; Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Worse (Lily Tomlin)
  • Can My Bicycle Get Coronavirus?
  • Rome Is Burning — Like Literally, People Have Fevers
  • COVID-19 – The Movie: Will Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Finally Portray the President?
  • We’re All Gonna Die, So May As Well Ride Your Bike
  • Anyone Know How “The Walking Dead” Ends?
  • Coronavirus, Some Coronavirus, and Also More Coronavirus

I’ve decided to go in another direction, though, and write about something related, still health-related and less apocalyptic.

I’m talking about bike fatigue, also known as overexercise. If you’re a commuter, weekend warrior, or anyone who just rides a lot, it’s a not uncommon condition. In my case, I’ve biked every single day for five months now. Some days it’s been just a few miles, some days it’s been 30, 40 or 50. But it’s Every. Damn. Day. Most weeks I do 110 miles or more — as many as 175 one week in December — to make my goal of 5,500 miles this year. I’ve compiled this chart, but check my Strava feed if you don’t believe me. GPS isn’t perfect, but it’s close, and Garmin doesn’t lie.

There’s only one answer to this problem: I should stop biking every day and take a damn break! ). Rest is inevitable, and I do get some, often waiting until later in the day to go out. The days where I only do a few miles count as breaks to my mind. But, fitness goes away pretty quickly if it’s not maintained, so I’m loathe tondo nothing. As a fathlete who isn’t fast on a bike and wants to hit my mileage goals without having to do frequent big rides that take half a day, riding daily is the best way to do what I need to do. Except that all that biking leads to fatigue.

DateTitleMilesElevationTime
3/1/202031-Miler on 3/1, 44 for the Day, 114 for the Week31.01889 ft2:51:07
3/1/2020Ride w/ Saurabh and Special Cameo by Bruce4.0766 ft22:39
3/1/2020Relaxed Really Rare Round Rock Ride5.05154 ft30:22:00
3/1/2020Missing 3.9 Miles3.900 ft21:40
3/2/2020Rerouting…11.19348 ft1:03:02
3/2/2020Afternoon Ride3.790 ft21:11
3/2/2020Evening Ride5.28272 ft36:01:00
3/3/2020Missing .50.500 ft2:09
3/3/2020Morning Ride0.700 ft2:37
 3/4/2020Post-Hot Tub Biking Be So Hard Cuz I’m Like Totes Relaxed, Dudes + 1,002 Miles in 2020 So Far7.14335 ft1:00:04
 3/4/2020Staying Dry on Bike Ride to Get Wet Swimming7.2346 ft45:03:00
3/5/2020BAD BOYS FOR LIFE1.0520 ft7:37
3/5/2020Pre-Movie Ride9.09157 ft53:05:00
3/6/2020Afternoon Ride6.28151 ft39:20:00
3/7/2020Pace Bike for Das Boot27.30699 ft2:37:01
3/8/202050-Mile Solo Sunday Semi-Sentury with a Bullet! Big Ass Loop of Austin (B.A.L.A.)50.161,539 ft4:38:36
3/9/2020Evening Ride14.65449 ft1:39:30
3/9/2020Looks Like a T, but 2 the Y3.77108 ft22:59
3/10/2020Afternoon Ride1.1930 ft10:34
3/10/2020Miles After INVISIBLE MAN11.57282 ft1:12:27
3/10/2020Evening Ride3.8620 ft20:47
 3/11/2020Missing Mile1.000 ft6:00
 3/11/2020To the Library, the Only Place with the Truth (+ Free DVDs)12.02341 ft1:14:23
My bike rides so far in March 2020

My daily walking and yoga are gentle, but since I don’t plan to stop my streaks, a complete rest day isn’t likely. (Unless that virus gets me.) The addition of swimming once or twice a week with a hot tub finish, which I’d like to do thrice is relaxing. The real nemesis remains sleep, or rather lack thereof. Like many Americans, I don’t get enough shut-eye. So the muscle and tissue don’t repair as well, digestion of fat is slowed, and reduction in the hunger chemical are not happening at the amount they should. I take naps but sometimes they don’t do much, or they make sleep even harder.

Here’s an old but good article on the subject:

7 Signs You’re Overtraining and What to Do About It

Bicycling Magazine
Source: Ibid.

For many Americans, we have a problem of over-scheduling ourselves. Jobs (or searching for a job, which is a job), taking care of kids, shopping, chores, appointments, and exercising all add up. Many people have to work two or more jobs and still don’t get by with the high cost of living, especially rent. Lack of health insurance, affordable health care and medicine, and a secure social safety net is a huge factor for many not in the 1% middle-class and poor. And now this coronavirus pandemic is disrupting society and the economy in major ways, and it’s just getting started.

In the grand scheme of things, exercising too much is a privilege and luxury. Although in another way, it’s not, because I don’t have a car. Transportation is either walking, a slow-ass bus, or biking. Taking a break is easier said than done. So, what’s a Dude to do? Right now, continue trying to not eat too late and not buying candy bars. Turn off the screens and read books. Try the herbal supplements again. Get up at the same time every day and reduce siestas to power naps of 20 minutes. When a job starts up again, I may have to relinquish my goal and even use a car (gasp!) again.

The benefit of biking so much is that at least I’ll have some conditioning to hopefully be immune to the virus. And it’ll give me a better chance to escape the coming zombie hordes. Wash your damn hands, keep calm and bike on, y’all!

Check out my previous posts on rest that are here and also here.

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9 thoughts on “Je Suis Fatigué: When You’re Stuck in the Spin Cycle

      1. I never could do that but maybe now I might. I put my Google Home Mini on White Noise Radio from TuneIn and that helps alot. Sleep more is one of my main goals in life. Maybe we’ll all get more of it for a bit.

        Liked by 1 person

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