Posted by: emilybybike | March 4, 2011


Considering the amount of dirt I probably (unintentionally) consumed as a kid, and have  (definitely unintentionally) consumed in my adult life of riding bikes, in theory, I should never get sick. (side note, through a very un-official, non-scientific survey, folks who ‘ate dirt’ as kids rarely get as sick as those who were afraid of playing outside and getting dirty). However, on some occasions there comes along a bug which can break through those natural dirt-eating defenses and proceeds to knock me on my butt. Not fun.

I don’t like being sick. I don’t think anybody does. My problem is I try to keep going at 110% when I’m more or less functioning and feeling at best 50-75%. Take for example yesterday – with the two broken spokes on my bike, I had to get it out to The Bike Lane at Reston Town Center so Loren (who is an AWESOME mechanic btw) could get me back rolling at full speed. So when I woke up feeling like a Mac Truck (or more bike-friendly Surly Pugsley) had run over me at Mach speed, I probably should have either thrown the bike or just even the wheel in my car and driven the 16.6 miles from my place to The Bike Lane.  But no, this was a maintenance errand for my commuter bike, and since it’s my challenge to go by bike for 80% of my trips, there was no way I was going to drive. I was going to go by bike. (It’s only 15.8 miles by bike – shorter than by car!!) It also didn’t cross my  mind that I had picked quite possibly the coldest day of the week to make my trek.

Undeterred by the below 40-degree temperatures and the inability to breathe through my nose properly, I set out towards Reston. I pedaled a little slower as I wasn’t feeling in top shape, and I knew if I ran the electric assist all the way out, I’d have little to get home on, and there were a few uphill sections of the W&OD. The ride itself wasn’t too bad – the sun was out and if it had been 20 degrees warmer, would have been a perfect early-spring afternoon. The one problem was my inability to breathe normally. This then resulted in a much larger volume of snot rockets and at a few points  feeling like my sinuses were going to explode. Not exactly fun, but I survived. Made it to Reston in a bit longer than normal (about an hour twenty) and had my bike fixed and ready to roll in no time. I was glad I had saved some e-power, as by now I was feeling sluggish and a little worn out. My nasal troubles worsened as I headed home, I’ll spare you the details because it’s gross, but I think I had taken on too much trying to ride 30ish miles (even on my e-bike) when battling a nasty cold. By the time I finally got home, I was exhausted, bleary eyed and my nose hated me. I flopped on the couch face down and laid there for a good 5 minutes until my cat jumped on me, reminding me that I still had my backpack and tennis shoes on. I got up and demolished a carton of orange juice while staring vaguely into space. Ugh. I hate being sick. I like to run full throttle, and when I can’t it kills me. But when I can’t and I try, well, I fall and fall pretty hard. I was too wiped to meet up with some friends for dinner and after some chicken soup was snoring before 10. Ouch.

So today, I’m sidelined. Initially I was going to ride in, but when I mentioned it to a friend he ever so bluntly asked me ‘And how much cold medication have you taken?’ Ever so gently telling me it wasn’t the most genius of ideas to push myself and ride when I was already down and out. I tried to explain that I had to ride, especially since my bike was fixed and it was going to be nice(ish) today … however, the voice of reason again prevailed in that it’s better to miss one day and rest up, than to go when you’re already sickly, make it worse (no matter how much dirt you eat) and risk not being able to ride for longer. Begrudgingly, while knowing reason was right, I drove in today. Hoping that a little rest today will let me pedal through the weekend and into next week…keep your fingers crossed!



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