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Two Excellent Search Topics, Tattoos and Recovery From A Century

August 2012

For my interesting search topics this week I found a couple of winners… First was, “Cycle with a fresh tattoo”.

I will not give actual medical advice on this blog for one reason, and one reason only: There is an @$$hole out there who will get sick, some damned fluke, probably on a medication that weakens the immune system, and then sue me because he got a tattoo, went for a ride and got sick and died. His wife and her attorney will attempt to take everything I own based on the fact that I said it was cool to cycle after you get a tattoo. Much like the bereaved wife who sues a charity that puts on a marathon – hubby drops dead of a heart attack at the race and she sues as if they were somehow responsible.

While there may be a special place reserved in the seventh ring of hell for someone like that, my kids gotta eat in the meantime and someone roasting in hell with my money won’t feed them… So, that said, there are dangers in cycling with a fresh tattoo. You’ve got medicated goop on that tattoo to literally keep the wound from developing a scab. It’s an open wound. Scabs prevent germs, viruses and bacteria from entering a wound… The goop, I would presume, would provide some level of protection, but it may also act like a bacteria “glue” of sorts.  I don’t know, I’m no doctor…

That said, I ran an Olympic Tri five days and twelve hours after getting a Tri tattoo against the strict advice of my tattoo artist. I also cycled and ran the day after (I waited for a rain day to get my tattoo).  For the swim, I globbed on the A&D ointment before and called it good.  Right or wrong I was fine and my tattoo survived in tact.

Now, and I reserve the right to be wrong here, I figure there’s a fudge factor in a tattoo artist’s two-week “no pools or lakes” recommendation because of the possibility of being sued. I assume that they have to double reality to avoid trouble. I may be wrong but that’s the way I see it so I took a chance. That said, I recommend using a hyperbaric chamber at a professional’s recommended length and living the rest of two weeks in a germ free bubble.  Sorry folks, it’s a do as I say, not as I do world.

The second search was, “After completing a century”.  After a century?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out…  Take a nap you overachiever!  Chances are, of course, that you’ll need to relax for a couple of hours afterwards, I don’t know, watch a baseball game, before you can actually fall asleep. After that, go to a tattoo parlor and get a tattoo commemorating the event – in a place that can be covered of course…then see the hyperbaric chamber/germ free bubble advice above.

Or was that how to recover after a century?… Oh! Sorry about the tattoo thing mom.  I’ve done the recovery plan two ways.  A day off followed by recovery ride(s) and I was a little tight afterwards.  Of course, that one was a very intense ride – the first half was really fast.  I’ve also tried recovery ride(s) the next day. I’ve found that a very easy recovery ride the next day, no time off, hurts a lot less.  I can also say that I really wasn’t capable of anything more than a recovery ride – it was work just to get 16 miles in within 55 minutes and I spent a considerable amount of that 55 minutes questioning my judgement in not taking a day off.  That said, however, I felt a lot better after the ride.  So, unforeseeable factors aside, I’ll be sticking to getting back on the horse, no days off, in the future.


  1. funkbunny77 says:

    So interesting you mention tattoos and riding. I had scheduled an appointment when I heard my artist was going to be in reasonable driving distance from my home (she’s usually in San Fran) – but had to give my appointment away to my husband when I realized it was three days before my first century ride. NO WAY was I going to take a chance of going into shock or anything just because I was a bonehead and got inked before strenuous exercise. 🙂

    Still planning to get the tattoo, just a few months later when my vacation bank replenishes and I can fly to San Fran. I’m so pumped about it too. 😀

    • bgddyjim says:

      I’m that bonehead. Didn’t care. Though perhaps I’m a little too boneheaded – I don’t even know how you could go into shock because you got a tattoo and exercised strenuously. How does that work? Can’t be the pain, by the third day it’s gone and you’re starting to itch. It can’t be from blood loss, you’re losing less than a tablespoon… Am I missing something or did my dad mess up when he told my mom to rub some dirt on my road rash?

      • funkbunny77 says:

        Getting inked is violence against your body and it can cause a variety of issues while being inked (that’s why some people pass out, vomit, etc). Everyone is different … plus, it depends on the size of the work being done.

        I noticed when I got my first tattoo that I felt “off” for a few days (it was a hand-sized design) – so for me, it is probably best not to get a quarter-sleeve three days before riding hard all day. 🙂 Maybe not full-on shock but I’d rather be 100% for the ride.

      • bgddyjim says:

        A sleeve (or partial) changes the complexity of the conversation entirely, best to wait. Having a half-dozen myself, including a full wrap armband, I just couldn’t see it. Thanks for ‘splainin’.

      • bgddyjim says:

        By the way, good luck on your century!

        Getting fired up yet?

      • funkbunny77 says:

        Sortof! I think up until recently I was mostly scared that I wouldn’t be able to finish in the time allocated. But these past couple weeks I’ve shifted to seeing it as completely achievable. No time goal – just get done before the 5pm SAG cut-off. There’s over 6000′ of gain over the course!

        It helps that my daughter has started telling everyone “My mom is going on a 100 mile bike ride.” I think she is impressed. The boys haven’t said anything but I have a feeling they might be impressed too … if I can finish it. LOL

      • bgddyjim says:

        6,000 feet?!!! Nothing like swinging for the fences your first time out. Can you say granny gear? Holy smokes.

        Small tip: you will hit a wall on this one. Push through it, you can do it, and once you do, I’m talking about 3-5 minutes max, you’ll feel better. You’ll know how tough you are afterwards.

      • funkbunny77 says:

        Haha … thanks! But it’s not 6000′ UP. My goodness – I’d be begging for a triple crank! It’s actually just shy of 5800′ cumulative gain – we’re never more than 500′ above sea level. Lots of rollers. And five rest/aid stations. The last 13 miles are all downhill too.

        (route map from last year’s, which was rained out, and will probably be the closest to this year’s route is here:

      • bgddyjim says:

        Just checked out your route… I was born in Roxborough and my grandparents lived in Allentown (specifically Fountain Hill). That’s bringing back some memories! My mom and dad would drop us off several times every summer for days on end. Some of my fondest memories as a kid were out that awy. I’ve gotta do that ride! How absolutely cool is that… 🙂 Good luck with your ride, just remember to keep going if you hit a wall – you can ride through it.

      • funkbunny77 says:

        Awesome – and yes, I will push through. Unless they ride me up The Wall in Manayunk. Then I might just cry. 😉 Just kidding – I’d just get low and slow and switch-back it until I got to the top. 🙂

      • bgddyjim says:

        I don’t think they will – if you pause your cursor over a particular spot on the elevation graph it’ll give you the gradient percentage – doesn’t show anything more than 3% – you should be fine.

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