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1,000K: The Physical Fallout

by on July 15, 2014

I fully expected that riding a bike for nearly 630 miles in 3 days would have some physical “complications”.  I’ve heard the stories.  Friends have described to me what to expect.  Still, it is different when it happens to you or people around you.

All told, I got off pretty easy.

There will be swelling:  Some riders describe themselves puffing up so that their face is nearly unrecognizable.  I had some minor swelling in my feet and legs.  I wore compression socks during the sleep times to reduce this effect.  I did not wear them the night after the ride and noticed the next morning that my normally svelte and veiny feet were quite puffy and the skin was stretched tight over the top of them.  As of this morning, 2.5 days after the ride, my feet appear to be back to normal.

There will be pain:  I had different types of pain on the ride.  There was the slight pain from sitting on a smallish saddle for so many hours.  It was really more like the pain one might get sitting too long on any surface.  That pain was the least of my issues.  I had pain in my right knee, that by the time I had ridden 500 miles was quite intense.  This knee pain was likely caused by the fact that I couldn’t shift into my small chain ring, giving me only half the gears I would have liked and none of the gears I really needed for the climbs.  I over taxed my knees on the hills pushing too big a gear too slowly.  That knee pain caused me real trouble the last day and a half of the ride.  I described the pain as a 7 on the scale.  Two and a half days later, that knee pain is down to a 4 or 5.  The worst pain was during the two days immediately after the ride.  There was no cool down, I pressed as quick as I could to the finish of the ride for the last 25 miles.  There was no stretching or massage.  The nutrition after the ride was wrong for mitigating the pain.  The day after the ride there was an 8 hour ride back home in a van.  Walking, climbing and descending stairs, getting out of bed … any movement really caused my legs to scream in agony.  I’m much better now.  I also had a touch of pain in my right shoulder during the ride.  I’m coming to realize that is likely caused by my riding posture.

There will be numbness:  People often talk about hand or finger or toe numbness during a ride, especially a long ride.  I thought I had escaped that.  My hands/fingers started to go numb two days post ride.  I haven’t developed full hand/finger numbness at this point.  It is just “pins and needles” on all fingers except my thumbs.  Strength does not seem to be diminished.  Some people get numbness in other body parts.  I’ve been spared that because of a good bike fit and a very good saddle.

There will be fatigue:  I couldn’t believe the level of fatigue I’ve been feeling since the ride.  I rode easy on Monday and came home and promptly took a nap for an hour and a half (at 9 am).  Today I made it through most of the day before fatigue caught me hard.  I have a drooping eyelid on my right side that Sunday and Monday reflected that fatigue by only opening halfway.

There will be hunger:  I’ve experienced the hunger before on long rides.  During this ride I was eating something every 30 minutes.  Friends are wondering when the 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and 4 snacks end after the ride.  I’ve been able to stick to the 3 meals a day routine that I am normally on.  I’ve not been overly hungry … maybe because I didn’t let myself get too far behind.

There will be weight gain:  Yes, although I burned at least 13,000 calories on this ride, I gained weight.  It is likely mostly fluid weight (see above), but I gained about 6 lbs during the ride.  I fully expect most of that to be gone within the week.

There will be lethargic mental processing:  I’ve been a little slow on the uptake the past few days.  I know I’m not as sharp or quick as I’d like to be.

There may be emotional fatigue:  Not only is there the let down that sometimes comes after a major accomplishment, but I’ve noted that my emotional state isn’t quite as solid or stable as I would like.  I’m frankly a little “down”.  I’m not as sensitive as I was in the few hours after the ride.  I also note that I’m back and forth about whether or not I will ride my bike in the morning.  I’ve ridden the past couple of days, but both of those rides were pretty much “solo”.

I did experience that I felt stronger as the ride progressed.  I think my legs were stronger at the end of the ride than at the beginning.  That seemed odd to me.

I don’t know what else may come of all of this.  I’ll be curious about my heart rate.  I’ve noted before that after long rides, my exercise heart rate is lower than usual.  How long will that effect last?  Only time will tell.



From → Randonneuring

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