Hold tight. Jen, don’t worry, it’s not that sort of crashing.
“Don’t fall off.”
Is the last thing Jen says to me before I set off on a ride. And with the exception of just once, I have followed her advice. She could equally just as well suggest that I,
“Remember to have eaten enough before you set off, and don’t ride through all your fuel reserves.”
That would prevent the type of crashing I’m going to writing about here. There are loads of technical reasons as to why it happens, but that’s about the long and the short of it. I am, to be fair, not going into why or how it happens. Or, how to prevent it.
From my days of reading MBUK I can remember 2 pieces of advice about managing your energy and fuel levels whilst exercising. Eat and drink little yet often. And if you start to feel hungry, or thirsty, it’s too late. So, do the first, to make sure the second doesn’t happen. And, I suppose, if the second is happening stop whatever you’re doing to rest and refuel.
Crashing is horrible. In my experience at least it has just slowly crept up on me, leaving with me the feeling that I wish I’d eaten more food earlier. I’ve then not rested, well, certainly not for long enough, carried on riding, and then everything has gone wrong. All of a sudden my mouth is too wet, that strange feeling that you get just before vomiting. Any strength I had just disappears, leaving my legs essentially just going through the motions. They will carry on going round and around, but I’m not certain they are actually pedalling anything. I was perilously close to this happening on the first club ride I went one. I stopped, rested, ate, and then dialled back what I was doing. If I hadn’t, I don’t think I would have been able to make is back.
Thankfully, I can count on one hand how many times I have crashed. The worst, and bizarrely the funniest, time it has happened to me however I was no longer on my bike at all. I had just returned home from a 50 odd mile weekday ride, and at that point, even though I felt a little hungry, I didn’t feel bad at all. So I got washed, changed my clothes, and took a walk into town to get some food as after a quick scout around the kitchen we didn’t seem to have anything in. Everything was fine then, nothing to worry about. I’d had a good ride, and on a rare weekday off too, and then I felt all the colour drain from my face. I had the same wet mouth feeling as before, and my legs seemed to get heavier. I was just over halfway into town, and in dire need of food. My legs were going through the motions of walking, and I’m not sure that I had any control over them at all. My functions started to shut down including my brain, as I carried onto where I had set off rather than actually go into to any of the handful of places I could’ve got food sooner. I was definitely running on autopilot. I arrived at the Cornish Pasty shop and ordered my usual, a large traditional. Now at this point I don’t know what was going on with my face, because when the lady had to tell me that they had now sold out of large traditionals for the day she looked scared. I knew I’d been polite when I’d asked for it, but she didn’t appear to be reacting to what was going on that way.
“I, I, I, I can do you two mediums for the, for the, same price…?”
“That’d be amazing, thank you so much.”
“Sorry, I’m really sorry…”
“No, no, that’s fantastic, thank you.”
“Can I… get you anything else…?”
“No thank you, this is great.”
“I’m so sorry…”
I knew I was saying the right thing, but something wasn’t right. I left as quickly as I could, and I’m convinced that I heard the door being closed behind me. It, well, ending up with two pasties, couldn’t of worked out any better as I was able to eat one in town before setting off home. Well, I say eat, I think I pretty much breathed it in. It definitely didn’t touch the sides.
Now I’m no athlete, but I do know that a pasty is not ideal recovery food. It’s not something that you should take as advise. Maybe making sure you have enough of the right food in your house before you exercise however, that’d be good advice. Being prepared, that’d do it. But above all else, “Don’t crash.”