It’s been an interesting summer for me. I ended May with some of the best fitness in my 15 years of cycling. My mileage was solid and I’d been climbing like crazy. On June 10th, I suddenly found myself ill. After extensive testing, I learned I had parvo-virus. When a teammate first mentioned this was a possibility, I laughed, thinking that parvo was a disease that dogs get. Little did I know that a different strain of the same virus is one of the 5 childhood diseases. 80% of us in the United States get parvo as a child and are then immune for life. I guess I’m just part of the lucky 20%.
Parvo-virus is a pretty nasty virus for adults. When a child gets it, they run a fever, get red, rashy cheeks (it’s called slapped face disease) and quickly recover. When an adult gets it, they get the fever (mine was 103.8 for 2 days) and then severe, debilitating pain in their joints. This temporary arthritis usually lasts 6-8 weeks. I’m now at 6 weeks and 4 days (but who’s counting?) and still have pain in my knees and severe muscle fatigue. Of course, as a cycling coach, this isn’t ideal, and the condition has basically kept me off the bike except for work for the past 6 weeks.
Summer is filled with my favorite cycling opportunities, including The Death Ride, a 125-mile ride with 15,000′ of climbing that summits 5 mountain passes in Markleeville, CA. This year marked my 7th Death Ride, but I wasn’t really able to ride. Instead of attempting the full ride, I met my riding partner at mile 70, after she’d already been on the bike for 7 hours. She’d completed the first 4 of 5 passes, and faced a long, head-wind ride along the Carson River valley and then the final climb up Carson Pass. I figured since I’d be fresh, I could pull her in the headwind and then pace her up the final climb. Our plan worked like clockwork, I was there at the time in the ride when her motivation was rock-bottom, and she was able to complete her very first Death Ride with time to spare!
So, now I’m re-setting my goals. I’m learning that moderation is key. When you’re used to riding crazy, long, hilly, epic rides, it’s hard to justify chamoising up for an hour or two on the bike, but that’s what I need right now. I’m still suffering pain and fatigue, and I’ve lost significant fitness, so now I’m re-building fitness and riding for the mental health and social benefits. I’ve got some goal events on the horizon, including the Arthritis Foundation’s 6-day People’s Coast Classic in Oregon in early September and the Canary Challenge with the Velo Girls team later that month. I don’t typically ride charity events, but I thought these would be good events to keep me motivated and on-track during the challenging re-building period.
I’m learning that life isn’t all or nothing. Sometimes, SOMEthing is the best option!