Sigh. Yes, I just let a big fat sigh. This is not a blog post that is easy to write. I guess because I’m so darned frustrated right now. It feels like for every pedal stroke I take forward, I’m forced to take two backwards. If you’ve been reading this site regularly you know that I’ve been having my fair share of health battles. Well, it felt like I’d turned a corner – my energy levels were coming back, my ulcerative colitis had settled down, and I was starting to feel good again. My rides were getting longer and the quality was getting higher and higher.
And then this past week, the man with the hammer arrived. Fatigue. Overwhelming fatigue. Fatigue that makes 120 watts feel like an all-out sprint. In my typical fashion, I tried to ignore this fatigue – assuming it was just a result of a hard ride I had done earlier. Then when Mr. Fatigue kept on hanging around, I got a bit crazy in the head – thought the problem was obviously me and that it was time to think about what I’m doing and aiming for. (Luckily Marc and my coach (Steve Weller) talked some sense into me.)
After a couple of blood tests and some discussions with my doctor – it turns out the medicine (Imuran) that really has been keeping me “healthy” has been making me very sick. Without going into the crazy details – I have anemia again and my white blood cell count has gotten dangerously low. All because of the medicine – we knew this was a potential side effect but up until four weeks ago things were looking good, my doctor reduced my dosage and assumed things would level out. Nope, my numbers have continued to drop. So, I’m off the Imuran now.
I’m really kind of in limbo. I haven’t ridden since Tuesday. Yes, my brand new bike (Stevens SLR Aero) – thanks to Vince at The Cyclery is just sitting there in my garage begging to be ridden. I’ve been told to rest. But for how long? I’m not good at resting. I hate resting. I’m an athlete – I need to feel my body move and to hear my muscles screaming out for me to pedal harder and to go faster. But I can’t.
Rationally I know that rest makes sense. But it is June. The sun is shining the days are warm and long. Cyclo-cross season starts in 14 weeks. And I’m not riding. I’m sitting and hoping and waiting. Everyone says that health is number one. Yes, I know this, but it is still darn hard. I’d give anything right now to get out on my bike and do a long hard ride with lots of intervals, hard climbs and then battle a headwind all the way home – it sure beats sitting.
But all I can do is look down the road. If I want to be racing in Plzen and Tabor in October, I have to rest now. If I want to race in Niel, Namur, Zolder, Overijse, Hasselt, Koksijde, and the World Championships – I have to rest.
So if you can do one thing for me – go out for a ride today. I don’t care if it is pouring down rain and the wind is fierce – get out and ride. Enjoy your bike and relish in the fact that you can get out and do it. Because once this joy is taken from you, it is darn hard.