Forgive the boring, whiney post, but today kids, I’m going to talk about touring fatigue. Touring fatigue is a thing, and it happens when you’re on the road, cycling for a long time. It doesn’t have to be the three months I’ve put in so far, it can be weeks or days. Symptoms include sluggish legs, general lack of fucks, and even, in extreme circumstances, desire to return to work.
In a similar way to reading about a footballer suffering from depression, it’s one of those things that might seem counter-intuitive. Here I am on this amazing trip, costing a hell of a lot of money, seeing a fantastic part of the world with beautiful scenery, eating amazing food and meeting lovely people, while wifey toils away at home paying the bills.
But my legs just don’t want to turn anymore and I want to come home.
Googling touring fatigue confirms it’s a thing. Which is good. Not just me being ungrateful or a spoilt millenial (side note: am I young enough to be a millenial – check later).
Solutions include both physical and psychological fixes:
- Eat more often and more calories overall while riding. Some symptoms can be caused by low blood sugar. So 200-300 calories per hour (I’d been eating about 100) seems to be the conventional wisdom.
- Drink more often. When dehydrated, the brain shrinks and can bring on lethargy.
- Mix it up. More/less social airbnbs vs motels, more/less sightseeing, more/less nice food etc etc. So just generally be nicer to Niall.
- New/different distractions on the road – whether it’s music or podcast
So I’ve done that. More eating small and often – I’m not stopping for a big lunch feed so actually about the same in terms of calories consumed. Just means less nice food and more fig rolls or OHMYGODNOTANOTHERSHAGGINGCLIFBAR. I’m drinking more too.
Today is my first non-airbnb/warmshowers for about 2 weeks. As much as I’ve enjoyed meeting lots of people, it’s nice to be able to say nothing to nobody and just switch off. Meeting up with a friend from back in Dublin in a few days as well, which will be great.
Podcasts have been mixed up too as well as my music. I’ve made playlists for each of my favourite 10 or so artists, then big playlists categorised into Irish/folk, UK/britpop or US/college rock – which pretty much encompasses everything I’ve ever listened to. Podcasts are a mix of educational (How stuff works, Freakanomics etc), fun (Adam Buxton, Levar Burton reads sci-fi stories) or comic book/film geekery (Plumbing the deathstar, we hate movies).
So feeling a bit better now. Rolled into Washington DC today, which is somewhere I visit once a year with work – nice to be in familiar surroundings again. Even if my favourite sushi place is now closed. Onwards and upwards.