The suffering is over. Many hard miles logged, metres climbed. You’re so tired you’re unsure of your own name. After a hard ride there’s only one thing on your mind. It’s not stretching. Or active recovery, or even your ‘nutrition strategy’ otherwise known as eating. No. Get me off this bike, you think. Now.
Minute 1You’re off the bike. For once your precious is far from your thoughts. You’ve abandoned it somewhere, you’re not sure where, you don’t care. Feet on the ground, the earth seems to move, a sailor returning to land after months at sea. Only it’s your legs that are quaking, quivering under the load. You fumble with your door keys like a drunk after a big night out.
Minute 2You fire up the computer. Strava time. Priorities. Ride uploaded you marvel at your conquest, your great adventure. You spend a few seconds looking at some graphs and pretending to understand them. Time for a beer.
Minute 5Ha ha, brilliant you think, having finally come up with a name for the ride on Strava. You check for kudos. Nothing. Disappointed, you hit refresh to no avail whilst opening beer #2.
Minute 6You’ve emptied the food cupboards and your kitchen looks like it’s been burgled, ransacked by wolves. You have no idea what you’ve just eaten. You didn’t chew, just swallowed. Your pet dog trembles in the corner of the room, out of sight, hiding in case it’s next on the menu.
Minute 7You check Strava for kudos again. Nothing. One more refresh. One more beer.
Minute 8You’re lying on the floor in filthy Lycra. Your stretching routine consists of opening and closing your mouth. You’d cry if you had the energy. The ceiling above seems to spin and the dog comes over to see if you’re still breathing. You do not flinch when it licks your salty face.
Minute 15It takes over a minute to pull yourself off the floor and return to the fridge. So hungry. You look for protein but see only salad. Noooo! Thirsty too, all beer drunk, the only cold liquid is the small bottle of fish sauce that’s been in the fridge ever since you tried cooking Thai curry five years ago.
You pick up a scent and gag, something smells like it’s dying. You sniff the fridge for a moment until you realise the smell is you. Must shower. It’s winter and you’re wearing more layers than an onion. Try as you might you cannot pull the sweaty base layer over your head. You imagine being in an emergency room, doctors skilfully cutting your clothes off with scissors.