The silence is deadly. Starring at my bike, wondering why. Why is it so quiet? It’s quiet because it’s motionless. It’s motionless because the engine is broken and a bicycle cannot do much without its human engine pushing it along.
I worked to complete a long bike ride more than a week ago (11 days in fact). This involved losing some weight (not as much as I had originally wanted) and it involved getting used to some longer rides, a couple of which I achieved.
But when it came closer to the time, my body stopped me, just like that. A little over a week before the planned ride I had tonsilitis. I’d never suffered with it at any time in my past previously and it was horrible. It started with a bit of a sore throat. That led me to think I was coming down with a spout of man-flu.
The next couple of days I was drained, physically. It sicked the life out of me completely, to the point I was napping in the day. A quick trip to the doctors confirmed it was tonsilitis and some good old penicillin was prescribed. After picking myself up from the price of prescriptions these days, I started the course of anti-biotics. Within a couple of days, I was starting to feel better again.
I was just getting fit enough to get on my bike again. I was looking forward to pedalling and getting in the miles. I did a couple of short stints on Zwift when I didn’t quite have the time for an outdoor ride, but that’s it. I was hit and put back down again. Not by tonsilitis or any illness this time.
I’m sat here, rather uncomfortably, writing this blog knowing my body has beaten me down. For the last two weeks, I’ve been really struggling with pain in my lower back. Pain when leaning or bending down. Pain when sat in a chair. Pain when generally moving. This cancelled my planned ride altogether.
A trapped nerve in my back is causing this pain. Again, something new to me as I’ve never suffered with it before. It’s not always really pain, it just depends if I move too much or if I’ve not moved at all recently. There is no medical cure or tablet I can take for a trapped nerve. My GP (doctor) has informed me of some stretches I can do and has told me to get some physio.
As much as tonsilitis was painful and draining and as much I hate my back right now, nothing is as painful as psyching yourself up for something you thought you’d never be able to achieve. The mental hit that this has brought me has been nasty.
I sit in my office at home and look at my bike, all clean and ready to go. Motionless, silent, lifeless. All because I’m not in a state to make it roll along the road, here the sound of rubber on the tarmac, make it spring to life as I head left and right. It’s the mental impact of wanting to get out on it, but physically not being able to – it’s that which I’m struggling with.
If you’d have asked me about enjoying a form of exercise 18 months ago, I’d have laughed at you. Now when I can’t ride my bike I miss it. I miss it as if I would miss my wife and kids if they were away overnight. I feel like a part of me is burning to go, but I can’t do anything about it.
For now, though, my 50-mile ride is on hold. I will achieve it one day, I just don’t know when. As soon as I see a light at the end of this dark tunnel I will set another date to ride.