Bad Blow

17Ninety-nine percent of racing is just not being sick.”Andy Hampsten, Pro Cyclist

Time off the bike blows this time of year

It blows in like March winds with its familiar, but unwelcome fatigue, thick throat and beyond-normal farmer blow. Maddening! Cold season is winter, flu season November–February, but a 18cyclist is susceptible during special and a lot of times: after every hard training or race; off-season; cold/wet weather; increases in volume or intensity; around injury or crashes; and stage racing.

So are you sidelined? The old school cycling rule is above the neck, ride easy; below, rest. Is it a cold or is it flu? Flu usually comes on suddenly with high fever and cough, chills, aches, and exhaustion. Colds affect upper respiratory and come on gradually often with a sore throat, milder in fever, headache, fatigue.  Since colds and flu are viruses that can’t be treated by antibiotics, they must run their course (antibiotics can treat infections that result from these viruses.)

Relieve the symptoms. 19The cold virus lives best at 98.6 degrees, so raising the temperature in the throat and nose can help: through hot showers or breathing in steam, camphor-menthol rubs, chicken broth and warm fluids with salt (minimizes replication of virus) and freshly squeezed lemon – a natural expectorant. If necessary, over-the-counter meds bring relief for sore throat, cough, sinus and ear pain, but won’t kill the virus and must be checked against the banned substance list because some of these remedies may contain illicit ingredients.

Consult your doctor if fever persists beyond a few days, or any time you’re concerned about your congestion. Rest is the biggest thing: with the flu, no riding; with a cold, a short ride lightly sweating may ease congestive symptoms, but do not ride hard enough to pull mucous deep into lungs through heavy breathing. Get more sleep. Most importantly, vitamin, mineral and caloric deficiency contribute to compromised immunity. This is not the time to skip your daily multivitamin, have a negative caloric intake, or skimp on fresh foods. 20Most adults endure two to four viral illnesses per year, be encouraged as you await recovery!

Prayer for Treatment for Colds/Flu
“Woe to me because of my injury! My wound is incurable! Yet I said to myself, ‘This is my sickness, and I must endure it.’” 21Jeremiah 10:19 

We are glad that a cure for the common cold is time itself! We are discouraged when the first fresh signs of Spring fitness are rained on by illness. We ask for encouragement as we await recovery.

Ponder Will riding lightly be best? Affirm I make best use of this time through more sleep, heat, and fluid. Watch that as your energy improves, you ramp slowly and carefully back into riding.

17“Sick,” March, 2008 blog posting

18This is my opinion:

Time Frame       My Theories/Research                                                                             

Beginning of Off-Season        Either lacquered from a long, hard season OR Body rested enough to process dormant viruses. Inactivity suppresses immunity, but I think a cold is a small price to pay for muscle/mental rest.

Exposure to Cold                       Cold or Rain do not cause colds! (This is a fact.) Immune suppression due to glycogen depletion by not increasing calories to match energy to stay warm.

Volume/Intensity starts        Immune suppression due to glycogen depletion, inadequate rest.

Injury/Crashes/Stage Racing  Body needs more rest/more calories to recover/heal

19“FAQ Cold Treatment” Dr. Greene Content Alan Greene MD FAAP January 14, 2003 20“Cold & Flu Self Care Station,” Cal Poly Pomona

21The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

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