There’s a thing that people on the rally talk about. We call it “The Bike Rally Blues”. It hits you right after the rally – as you find yourself suddenly disconnected from your massive travelling family, as the momentum of the rally falls off, and this huge thing you’ve undertaken is over, and you go back to what now seems like an incredibly isolated, mundane existence. Usually you go back to your job, which is now more or less ON FIRE, because you walked away from it for 10 days while you did this epic thing, and you have a pile of the most disgusting laundry you’ve ever seen, and camping equipment all over your house, and you’d air out and pack up your tent except you’re pretty sure it’s full of spiders. (The spider thing is a big deal for me. I hate them. I woke up one morning on the rally and there was a spider in the tent with me, hanging in its creepy little web right over the door. I was so frightened I tried to text my team to give me some kind of rescue, but I had no mobile service, and in the end I squashed it between the two cups of a dirty sports bra and then threw the bra away. I’m not sure I can handle another spider turning up just yet.)
There’s also the fatigue – everybody sleeps like the dead for a few days afterwords, and it’s impossible to focus, and I think that for me, the exhaustion is the biggest part. I got home on Sunday night, slept for more than 10 hours, have done the same thing every night since, and am still falling asleep over my knitting all the time. It’s taken a fantastic amount of coffee to keep me at my desk the last few days. There’s also whatever healing you have to do. There’s your sore bottom (fine now, thanks for asking) and sore knees and scrapes and bruises and I got off really lightly this year (thank you training rides) except for one really, really big deal. This year I got a pretty wicked case of ulnar neuropathy, which is nicknamed “Handlebar Palsy” or “Cyclist’s Palsy.”
As tickled as I am on one level to have cyclist’s anything (does this make me a cyclist?) it’s been more than a bit of a pain. It comes from pressure having been placed on the ulnar nerve while you’re riding, and from road vibration coming up through the bike. I usually wear gloves to help prevent it, but there were a few days where I didn’t this time (I forgot them in my bins and couldn’t get them out) and the consequences have been numbness and tingling in the last three fingers on each hand, and a fair bit of hand weakness. It’s improving, as I stay off of my bike and the good news about it is that it’s self-limiting – it gets better all by itself. In just five days it’s improved a lot, but it is still making things like typing difficult, and (you better brace yourself for this one) KNITTING is sort of hard.
Now, you can tell, by the way that I am not in prison or a court-mandated anger management program, that this doesn’t mean that I can’t knit at all. I can, and am, thank goodness, but it’s slowed me down a terrific amount.
I have been knitting this one sock for the whole duration of the rally, and since I got back, and usually twelve days of knitting would look more like two pairs than this sorry state of affairs, but I’m trying to relax into it. (I’m also looking at my bike fit, and I’ll always wear gloves from now on, and I’ll be staying right off that bike until this is all better.) Since knitting and typing are both slow right now, and since that’s pretty much all I do with my day – I’m sure things are going to be boring here for another day or two. (Or not, if I eventually wig the hell out) I’m hoping you’ll be patient.
I’m off to try the spinning wheel. Maybe that’s the answer.