M.E. and me.
In early 2014 I was bitten by the cycling bug.
Over the course of two years I covered over 7500 miles on my road bike!
My weight dropped as fast as my happiness grew. In the October 2015 I found myself in Mallorca on a second annual cycling holiday with a group of cycling buddies. It was a four-day trip and on day one unfortunately I was suffering with flu like symptoms. With only a few days riding planned my stubbornness insisted that I didn’t take time to recover. On the first day was a strenuous ride into the mountains, 85 miles in all, including many thousands of feet of climbing in the Tramuntana mountains along the North Mallorcan coast. If I had listened to my body I would have turned around after the 1st mile. Somehow, I managed to complete the ride, albeit at the back of the group, and by the end of the ride my legs were absolutely exhausted. To this day they have not recovered. 2 1/2 years have passed and still they feel the same. 2 1/2 years of “cafe legs”. My new-found passion had been taken away from me. Three months later I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as M.E.
My beloved Kinesis road bike has now been put away until I am able to ride under my own steam again 😟
Thankfully working in a bike shop I have been able to use an e-bike and after many months of learning my personal thresholds I have finally managed today, to ride around Coniston water, one of my favourite routes. Admittedly I parked at Lowick and it was just an 18 mile ride but without the assistance from that amazing machine I would’ve spent the day on my sofa, feeling sorry for myself.
I feel very lucky to only have a mild case of CFS, (many sufferers are house-bound), but nonetheless I have spent the last 2 1/2 years living in the shadow of my former self. Fatigue, muscle soreness, brain fog, muscle spasms, low mood, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, a feeling of being easily overwhelmed; I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture. All of this while working a full-time job and slowly watching the dial on the weighing scales turn nothing but clockwise due to my inactivity and comfort eating.
I’m not a quitter. I’ve tried to fight it but like wriggling in quicksand, the harder I pushed myself the worse things became. From enjoying rides of up to 100 miles I was now struggling to cope with an occasional commute of 1.5 miles!
New hope now as I’m working alongside a nutritional therapist who has a fresh approach to the problem. I’m confident (or hopeful; not quite sure) that one day I’ll be back to where I was, knocking out hundred mile rides and chasing Strava segments. In the meantime, I’ll continue with the e-bike. It’s given me a reminder of what I could once achieve, and the hope that I’ll be able to do it again.
See you out there 😊