I’ve had a cold for about a week now. I’m cranky. I’m sore. I’m muddled. I’m always tired.
"Yes," I hear you quip, "But how is that different from the way you’re usually cranky, sore, muddled, and tired?"
To which I reply, wittily, "Shut up." After which I add, "It’s different because now I have a legitimate reason. Plus my nose is runny."
I’ll let you in on a secret (or it would be a secret, if I hadn’t spoiled it by using it as the title of today’s post), though: I know how to get over my cold any time I want.
I go out on a ride. It’s really as simple as that.
I expect to be contacted by the Nobel Peace Prize folks shortly.
Last Friday, I felt miserable — so miserable, in fact, that I didn’t get out and ride at all. However, I had talked with John about going on a Saturday morning ride, and — since it’s not easy to get people to ride with me — I didn’t want to back out.
When I woke Saturday morning, I still had the cold. It might have been worse. I looked out the window; it was raining. I had my out. I called John and said, "It’s raining pretty hard. Do you still want to do this ride?"
(As an aside, you’ll notice that I did not say, "I want to back out of this ride." That’s one of the rules in the Alpha Cyclist’s Handbook: "If you don’t feel like riding, try to get the other guy to cancel.")
John said, cheerily, "Yeah, it doesn’t look bad to me. Let’s go." Not only had John not backed out, he had failed to give me an easy out. Clearly, John had been reading the Alpha Cyclist’s Handbook as well. With my graceful exit blocked, I suited up and drove over to John’s house, ready to suffer through a miserable ride in the rain with my miserable cold.
And then I had a great time. As soon as I had been on my bike for a minute or two, my head cleared up, my body stopped aching, my headache went away, and the skies parted, becoming instantly sunny and blue.
Just kidding about the "skies parted, becoming instantly sunny and blue" part. It rained the whole time, sometimes just a little, sometimes really hard. But I didn’t care, because for the first time in three days, I felt good. I probably wasn’t as fast as usual, probably didn’t climb all that well, but for the two hours I was on my bike, I did not have a cold.
(Also, I learned a new riding tactic I plan to include in the next edition of the Alpha Cyclist’s Handbook: "Don’t use fenders." You see, John did the nice thing and rode his rain bike, which is all set up with fenders and rain flaps. I have no such setup. So, after the first time I took a turn pulling — and thereby spraying a muddy rooster tail up his frontside — John made it clear that I would not pull the rest of the day. Free ride for the Fat Cyclist!)
This is not the only time I have noticed this effect. In fact, any time I have a cold, but manage to somehow overcome inertia and get on my bike, I feel so much better. I’ve talked with other cyclists — two of them, I think, which should be plenty for any scientific paper — and they’ve noticed the same effect. When you’ve got a cold, go out on a ride. You’ll feel better.
Alas, once you get off the bike, it’s likely that you’ll get another cold within a few minutes. Note that I do not say "the symptoms of your current cold will return," because that would fly in the face of the premise that your bike ride cures the cold, and I frankly am not willing to entertain such unscientific jibberjabber.
Today’s Weight: 162.0 lbs.
PS: There was a frog bigger than my fist on my back porch when I got home from that rainy ride last Saturday. Here’s one of the twins (the one who always wears pink), checking it out.
You can tell she’s my daughter by the way she cleverly hid her eyes in the photograph.