Rainy Friday Blahg Post: The Value of Sleep and Rest Days for Cyclists

workintexas rain ride.pngI think the title sums it up pretty well.  It rained.  Alot.  I had to go to a job search class and didn’t have the time or patience for the bus.  It was only a mile and a half so I rode, but the rains picked up.  The skies were thundering and lightning, and I almost had to stop.  It is Star Wars Day — May the Fourth Be With You — but gale force winds gusting over 25 mph were against me.  It was a blah day, and I was tired as usual, but I pressed on, as I tend to do, for worse or for better.

Risky Rainy Ride

It was risky, riding in the rain, even for a short distance, but I arrived without drowning, crashing or getting struck by skyfire.  I also didn’t get too wet with my rain pants, Goretex boots and poncho — I call him Poncho Villa.  Hey, it’s almost Cinco de Mayo and I do speak Spanish, so that makes that relevant.  Culturally appropriate, you might even say.

thunderstorm 050418
Source:  KXAN

The class was mostly stuff I’d heard before but the unemployment police required it.  The storm had abated enough to get in my daily walk home. My landlord came by and sealed up some gaps in the subfloor due to a possible rodent incursion that woke me from a deep slumber at 5:30 am the other day.  Finally, I gave in and took a long overdue nap, and was about to head out again when it started to rain some more.  I took that as a sign to call it a day and caught up with my “stories” and then remembered it was blog day.  So here we are.

Sleep, the Final Frontier

I could rationalize that I didn’t ride more because it was unsafe, but the winds had died down and while maybe it would have been a little uncomfortable to put on still-wet gear, I was just not feeling like it.  It goes without saying that rain and skinny bike tires don’t mix well.  Another excuse.  I could be riding my heavier steel Fairdale Weekender Archer that I wrote about winning in a raffle last year if I wanted to.  I’m not riding it since I got it cleaned and tuned-up to put it on Spinlister to make a little income, but then they went out of business.  Leading the car-less life involves a fair bit of hassle or sometimes even suffering, moreso when you’re stubborn and hate waiting in the rain for the bus.  You’re going to get sweaty, dirty, wet, sunburned or worse.  But I digress.img_20180505_020858505_ll1608666041.jpg

The fact remained that I was sleep-deprived and needed to rest.  Not having anywhere else to be, when the nap happened, it was a hard one.   It was one of those long, deep siestas where you wake up and don’t know what country you’re in.  Of course sleeping eight hours on a regular basis might reduce the need to play catch-up on my z’s, but that isn’t usually happening for me.  Sitting at home with the rain falling on the tin roof made me realize there was no one making me suit up and saddle up to go biking in the rain.  So I didn’t.

I got to thinking about rest, why I don’t do it enough, and how many people in the US aren’t getting enough rest either.  The CDC says it’s about a third of the population; that’s not a small number — it’s more like an epidemic.  There are many reasons for not sleeping enough or well.  For my part, it’s due to a variety of things, some choices like staying up too late to write blogs, and others that are not under my control (like the neighbors having a loud domestic squabble) or the possum that I saw is living under the house.   Sleep is truly elusive for many, but like water and air, it’s required to live.

There are many good reasons to take time off the bike, running or whatever activity you may do regularly and to rest instead.   It’s common sense but we still don’t do it.  Some people have noisy neighbors and varmints scratching about, or real sleep disorders, aches and pains, babies and sirens that wail in the night, but the prevalance of blue-light from electronic screens is a major culprit.  If part of my tiredness is by choice, part due to repeated exercise, watching too much of the telly, eating late, etc., it’s also a choice to fix my sleep and let the muscles and tissues heal.  I’ve tried lots of things to help me sleep — tart cherry juice, walnuts, bananas, yogurt or cottage cheese, melatonin, anti-histamine, yoga, walks, baths.  So far a regular schedule eludes me.  That will have to change when I’m done being unemployed, which will have to be soon, sadly.

Articles of Imsleepment

A quick search of this topic leads to a number of other articles, too, so I don’t need to re-invent the wheel (yes, that’s intended, and the Annual O’Henry Pun-Off — www.PunPunPun.com is next weekend).

“10 Reasons to Take a Week Off From Cycling.”   on Bicycling.com

How Much Rest Do Cyclists Really Need? on Active.com

Tips for Effective Rest and Recovery After Cycling on CyclingWeekly.com

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep for a Great Day of Cycling on BikeRadar.com

The conclusion is not rocket surgery, but by resting well, your overall activity progress will improve.   To sleep, perchance to dream!  Dormir talvez sonar!  Sweet dreams!

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12 thoughts on “Rainy Friday Blahg Post: The Value of Sleep and Rest Days for Cyclists

    1. Sorry to hear of your troubles too. A point, is that biking is fun, Interesting, a viable form of transportation, good exercise and good for the planet There are tons of faster, better, skinnier people riding their bikes than I ride mine. That shouldn’t and doesn’t matter. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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