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Home » Cycling » Tuesday Night Club Ride: The Wheels Fall Off Edition. What the Heck Just Happened!

Tuesday Night Club Ride: The Wheels Fall Off Edition. What the Heck Just Happened!

Sitting in my office yesterday, I was ready to go.  Fired up, in the groove and ready to get my speed on after a relatively easy weekend and a nice spin-up ride on Monday.  Then, while driving home and speaking to my wife through my hands-free blue tooth mobile phone hookup, I my voice switched from clear to gravelly.  At first I was nervous, I know what comes next.  A sore back, a runny nose and a cold.  Sunday standing out in the rain for most of the morning must have done me in.

Much to my surprise, the fall off of the healthy cliff never came.  There was no runny nose, no sharp pain at the small of my back…  I was not getting sick.  I rejoiced!  I was still going to be able to rock my ride (but I took a short nap just in case)!  Some kind of strange anomaly.  I woke up from my nap, rarin’ to go.

I packed up my gear, trued my rear wheel (I hit a bump the last time I rode it that I figured was going to knock it out of true a little bit and I wasn’t mistaken), pumped up my tires, filled my H2O bottles and loaded everything into the car and I was almost out the door when I thought I should grab a Gatorade and a granola bar for the road.  I figured I’d be okay so I didn’t bother.

On arriving at the meeting place, several minutes early, I decided to spin around the parking lot for a minute…and that’s precisely when I noticed that my left hood was about a half-inch (1 cm) lower than it should have been on the handlebar drop.  I went back to my car, found the set screw, adjusted the hood (I got it close at least – eyeballing that stuff is tough).  I guess I’d hit that bump a little harder than I thought.

Mike forgot his shoes so I went out for the warm-up with McMike.  I was feeling fast and awesome for about three miles.  Then I started struggling on the silly, little 20 mph warmup.  I knew then I should have had that granola bar and Gatorade.  I was running on an empty tank.  Well, maybe a quarter tank.  On getting back to the parking lot, rather than spin another mile around the block as I normally do, I stopped and drank a bit of Perpetuem with the hope it’d charge me back up a little bit.

We rolled out and I was second bike, behind my buddy, Mike.  After our first right turn, I took the reigns and promptly fell apart.  I spent the next nine miles struggling to hide at the back.  I don’t know what the hell happened, but I was a mess.  I sat up after eleven miles and let the group go.  Whatever it was, I was going to be better off sorting it out by myself.  I showed some flashes of brilliance on the ride home and even opted for the 24 mile route rather than the 21, but I started to run out of gas with five miles left.  I limped back home, sometimes struggling just to maintain 16 mph up some otherwise easy hills that we climb north of 19.  Something was seriously off and I’ll be darned if I could figure out what it was.

Of course, you know what that means…  I blamed it on the fact that I took Sunday off and I haven’t been riding hard enough over the last four days, of course.  In other words, I was wrong.  Entirely.  One does not entirely lose their fitness in four days because they took a rain day off and rode slow for the other three.

I just had an off day.  Oh well.

Today I’ve got some maintenance to do on the Venge, I want to pull all of the zerts that hold the cable housings for the internal cable routing so I can clean the salt out, reset the brakes and lube the pivot points, and then I’m going to get that hood dialed in a little better and maybe mess around with that rear wheel a little bit.


  1. Kecia says:

    The “off days” make us truly appreciate the awesome days!!

  2. The off days are the days that your body tells you that it has had enough now. They often happen after you have taken one or two days off and the body realizes it needs more recovery time. We so often ignore small signs that at some stage the body has to put its foot down. And we had better listen. Who’d know that better than little Ms Chronically Fatigued here. Mind that body of yours. It may need some maintenance, too every so often.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I appreciate what you’re writing, but I’m not going to buy it for me, not in this case. I know what tired is and that’s not it. There was something off, whether it be hydration, nutrition or even allergies… Or a maybe a combination of those.

      If it was “a tired body trying to tell me something”, I told it something back yesterday and it bucked up.

      • I’m not saying you were tired.Tired is whathappens if you ignore the signs for too long. As you say, there may have been something off and your body needs some coping time. I’m also not saying to sit on your bum for maintenance. That’s definitely a nono. Sometimes, all you need is to reduce the pace and cycle your body more slowly and gently. And then, you don’t need to tell it anything. It’ll just want to work at full throttle again. Your mind does not rule your body. That’s what we all like to believe…t’ain’t so I’m afraid.

      • bgddyjim says:

        I understand what you’re getting at. You and I just look at it a little different. I didn’t need time off. The mind may not rule over the body, but it can sure gum things up. I got back after it yesterday evening and did just fine. I simply don’t subscribe to the “listen to your body” mentality anymore. It’s perfectly fine that it works for you but it doesn’t for me. I think it’s one of those neat little clichés that sound great, but don’t amount to much. If any great athlete listened to their body, there wouldn’t be any great athletes. At that level everyone’s body says, “Are you freaking nuts?!”

  3. Well, each to their own but have you ever taken a look at great athletes after their careers? Their bodies are banjaxed. The great Boris Becker can barely walk anymore because he went hell for leather during his athletic career. Now, he does have the millions for constant doctors visits. I don’t. Hence my listening to my body without letting it get lazy.

  4. Chyrel says:

    I’m really impressed with your posting habit. And you’re right, one does not entirely lose their fitness in just four days. We all have our off days and it’s annoying when it happens on a race day. Happened to me once.

  5. exmaschine says:

    I have had similar experiences Jim. I know something is ‘off’, but it’s difficult to pinpoint, when there is no glaring reason. I.E. significant loss of sleep, illness, injury, etc. But I do think you hit on something when you said ‘a combination’ of factors. I believe that is exactly what happens. The compound effect can wreak havoc on our bodies.

    Seasonal allergies have been kicking my ass this year, unlike any other year prior. Which have been contributing to my slight yo-yo issues. Nutrition becomes even more of a factor when you’re in relatively good shape and participating in a high level of aerobic activities. Just few calories/carbs less can be the difference between being properly fuels and and bonking or close to it. Of course it is dependent on specific physiology too.

    But as we become more finely tuned and fit, nutrition and hydration and sleep become even more critical. Meaning, it is easier to trip ourselves up as we get fitter, which almost seems counter-intuitive. The slightest misstep can throw us off and leave us wondering wtf? I’m still having those moments…but less of them! 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      Absolutely right man, I can’t possibly agree more. A little dehydration, a few hundred calories short and a little bit of the allergy blahs. That’s a good point about being more finely tuned too, I never looked at that part of it. Thanks man!

      • exmaschine says:

        I tell ya, I never thought about it either, until I started to ramp up my fitness level (or at least try! lol) I used to think the obsessive and very regimented routines/pre & post prep for pro athletes was a bit over the top…I see now that there is a very good reason.

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