My post Cyclo-cross season hangover

I wrote previously about my first season of cyclo-cross racing at the “grand old” age of 50. Having never raced a bike in my life before, it was a shock to my system. Life as a MAMIL has always been relatively genteel and not about suffering or giving it your all.

Since the end of the cyclo-cross season, I’ve been suffering from a major cycling hangover. At first I didn’t want to go near a bike and after that passed, I found that my body has been screaming it’s dissatisfaction at being on a bike on every ride and I mean every single ride.

I’ve been massively struggling with a much reduced cycling mojo, plummeting fitness and power and of course that all snowballs on itself a little bit more as each week goes by.

I am trying to get my legs working again …. But they’re not happy and generally not cooperating. Try as I might say “Shut up legs” to them, they’re just giving me the bird in response.

My own assessment as to how I got to here starts from the month I had to take off the bike in July/August last year (Doctors orders, so I needed respect that). This saw a drop in my base fitness as I went into cyclo-cross racing and suddenly needed top end speed for the full-gas nature of ‘cross racing.

I tried to begin building fitness and power again and made some progress, which saw my race results improve but the effort of doing this possibly saw me run down my resistance and the first cold arrived. This saw fitness/power drop again and I had to try to build back up again as I raced. Not easy for a beginner who’s body wasn’t used to this kind of intensity most weekends.

I did my best but as the season got towards the end I caught a bug that made a much bigger impact. It was more than a light cold. So my final two races were terrible, especially the last one where I felt dreadful on the day (and looked dreadful as you can see in the pictures). I spent a full week day in bed after that one, something I’ve not done for years.

Feeling absolutely terrible in the team champs to end the London ‘Cross League Season – probably the worst I’ve ever felt on a bike

That’s when the hangover hit. I couldn’t face riding a bike indoors or outdoors. I had no interest at all.

Weeks went by and it wasn’t budging. Around the beginning of March, I started to get back on the turbo in the garage and I’ve tried going back to what I know …. Training plans. I like to focus on having something to work through and thought I’d start a new Sufferfest strength training plan but I couldn’t get through the week’s preparation plan for the Sufferfest test and I tried 3 times.

I’ve then moved to Zwift training plans but I can’t manage to finish most rides without dialling done the effort levels mid ride, even with a much reduced FTP. My body is screaming “No” at me even with moderate efforts and putting a push in is making me feel slightly nauseous.

I feel like I’m in terrible shape, the worst for several years and I’ve been wondering if this can happen to people after their first effort at racing. I’m really struggling. Aside from exercising I feel ok, it’s just when I put some physical effort in.

I’ll keep chipping away and trying but I’m finding it hugely challenging and it’s a major part of the reason for not so many blog posts recently. I do have some coming up though and you’ll start to see them soon.

If you’ve experienced something similar, please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading

Doing my best in the final race of season but running on empty. Felt so bad I kept my winter jacket on for the race.

P.S. I’m not sure who took the photo above, if you know who took it, please let me know so I can credit them. Thanks!