01.10.2007 | 11:48 am

I occasionally wonder if anyone in the history of the world has embraced middle age as fully as I have. As a 40-year-old, I observe the following:

  • I have less hair to worry about. Until I was about 30, my hair was so thick it was a nuisance. Barbers remarked they really ought to get out a lawnmower to get the job done. My hair care budget was exorbitant. Now, however, my hair is obligingly simultaneously thinning out and backing off. The day where I shave it off once and for all is not far off.
  • I am mellower. Once upon a time, career stuff freaked me out. So did the future. So did politics. Now, very few things freak me out, and nothing freaks me out for long.
  • I can own a red sports car with impunity. I’ve always loved red sports cars. As a middle-aged man, owning one is now my right.
  • I am entering the prime age for the kind of cycling I like best. Go to any endurance cycling event and you’ll notice: most of the guys are 40-55 years old. Now I’m one of them.

The thing I like best about middle age, though, is my newfound ability to — after an epic ride — take a nap.

I haven’t always been able to take naps, you see. Until about a year ago, no matter how tired I was, I simply couldn’t sleep during the day. I’d go on a big ol’ hundred mile training ride, get home, eat everything that looked even a little bit like food, and then drag around the house all day. Totally useless, but awake.

Or, on the rare occasion when I did fall asleep during the day, I’d wake later with a logy feeling, a low-grade headache, and an unfocused grouchiness.

And then I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night.

All that’s changed now. After a four-hour ride I’ll come home, eat everything in my zip code, go take a shower, and come back downstairs to the family room, still feeling beat.

“I think I’ll lay down here for a few minutes,” I’ll tell my wife, as I stretch out on the couch.

This is not a signal to my wife to keep the kids quiet. It is not a signal to her to do anything out of the ordinary, except maybe not give me the phone if someone calls.

Part of the magic of my new nap-taking-gift, you see, is that I like sleeping with the family around. The kids are still playing, my wife’s still working on jewelry, and I’m close by. While I definitely get wakened a few times during my nap, it doesn’t bother me.

40 minutes — or maybe sometimes an hour — later, I wake up. And I feel good. Not headachy. Not logy. Not grouchy. Good.

Real good.

Better than I usually feel after a full night’s sleep, actually.

And I know that I’ll be able to sleep just fine that night, too. Naps don’t throw me off my sleep cycle at all.

I tell you, a nap after a long ride is pure magic. I’m so glad I can enjoy them now.


  1. Comment by Boz | 01.10.2007 | 12:12 pm

    Yes. I was also never a napper until the last couple of years. It was a strange thing when i fell asleep in the mid-afternoon one day, then woke up refreshed. How come nobody had explained this concept to me long ago? Now, I get more done because I get up earlier and go to bed later. What a concept.

  2. Comment by Argentius | 01.10.2007 | 12:21 pm

    How much of an old man am *I* gonna be in 20 years? I’m 24, and I already think naps are the best thing in the world. I can’t function after a long training ride WITHOUT one… let me tell you though, no power on earth has stopped me from taking naps.

    I can pretty much fall asleep whenever, wherever. I am not sure if this is a gift or not.

    PS — what the heck is “LOGEY” feeling?

  3. Comment by Kevin | 01.10.2007 | 12:23 pm

    I’m still young and can’t take effective naps.

    There was one time I fell asleep in one of my high school classes. I woke up several minutes later feeling completely revived. I have yet to repeat those results.

  4. Comment by Tim D | 01.10.2007 | 12:26 pm

    I am the opposite. In my youth I could sleep anywhere, mostly in lessons, but on the bus, on the train, on a park bench, propped up in a doorway, no problem any of them. Now I can’t sleep anywhere except in my bed. And even then only for about 4 hours. I travel quite a bit with work and am always knackered because I can’t sleep in a hotel bed. I can’t even eat on trains anymore and sleep is way out of the equation. It takes about 3 days away before I am used to a hotel bed sufficiently to get a good nights sleep.

    At home, I have two choices. A bottle of red and off to sleep by 10:30, only to wake up at 3AM for a pee, not able to get back to sleep the rest of the night. Or no drink and lie awake til about 3:30, tossing and turning, to be wakened from the deepest of deep sleeps by the alarm at 7AM.

  5. Comment by Lofgrans | 01.10.2007 | 12:45 pm

    Sleeping is a talent. I know, I have it. I’m sure I’ve shocked my fair share of stewardesses with the strange sleeping positions I’ve occupied in a coach seat. Anytime, anywhere I can fall asleep fast and deep. Not much wakes me up so its a good thing we don’t have kids that need feeding in the middle of the night. I guess The Coach could always get a manory gland. You’d have to see Meet the Fockers, its hilarious.

  6. Comment by fatty | 01.10.2007 | 12:54 pm

    argentius – sorry, misspelled it. it’s actually “logy,” and means “lacking physical or mental energy or vitality; sluggish; dull; lethargic.” check out the definition and pronunciation at:

    it’s a great word: something everyone’s experienced. and it sounds like what it means, too.

  7. Comment by bikemike | 01.10.2007 | 12:58 pm

    ride, eat, sleep. doesn’t get much better than that. htere maybe one other thing to be added in there but i respect fatty’s kids. actually ride, eat, sleep, eat is really good also. pretty much anything involving eating and sleeping is a huge yey, let’s do that, in my book. naps rule beyond measure.

  8. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 01.10.2007 | 12:58 pm

    What about your enlarged prostate? Do you enjoy that part of middle-age?

  9. Comment by Rick S. | 01.10.2007 | 1:02 pm

    Top reasons to shave your head:
    1) Roll out of bed and off you go
    2) After a lunch ride during the work week, simply poor any remaining water from your water bottle over your head and stroll back in to work
    3) It shaves a few ounces off your overall body weight and makes you a faster climber
    4) No more expensive hair cutting fees every month
    5) You are able to cool off 10 x faster after a summer ride

    I’m telling you, it’s the way to go.
    Rick S

  10. Comment by fatty | 01.10.2007 | 1:04 pm

    botched – are you enjoying your inability to breathe?

  11. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 01.10.2007 | 1:08 pm

    Fatty–Yes, the hypoxia is often accompanied by a feeling of euphoria. Right before I pass out.

  12. Comment by fatty | 01.10.2007 | 1:11 pm

    rick s – oh, i’ll definitely shave it at some point, but not until it’s easier to shave it than it is to cut it. see, right now i still have enough hair (barely) that it’d be a hassle to have to shave my head on a frequent basis. once the hair-coverage area has been reduced by another 5-15%, it’s gone.

  13. Comment by fatty | 01.10.2007 | 1:13 pm

    tim d – man, that sucks. i always see those nighttime sleep aid commercials on TV (lots of them in the US; dunno how it is in the UK), and wonder, “who are those for?” turns out they’re for you.

  14. Comment by Tim D | 01.10.2007 | 1:48 pm

    It is what Men & Motors channel was invented for. Except, the second I get out of bed, my wife wakes up and needs holding (in the exact, unchanging position) until she drops off again. Insomnia plus a dead arm. I stand no chance of getting my full 8 hrs.

  15. Comment by the weak link | 01.10.2007 | 1:48 pm

    As I was logging into this site I was contemplating how it must be wonderful to be about 1000 people’s best cyberfriend, and then you go and write another home run. I don’t think they pay you enough.
    The nice thing about being self-employed is that I can take naps with relative impunity. Even the office knows not to call me between 12 and 2PM unless it’s REALLY important.

  16. Comment by Lofgrans | 01.10.2007 | 2:04 pm

    Good heavens. How do so many (I’m assuming) grown men find time to sleep? Don’t you have jobs?

  17. Comment by born4felt | 01.10.2007 | 2:22 pm

    Tim D.–sorry to bring a serious note to this thread, but if you are having that much trouble sleeping you need medical treatment. Insomnia is really hard psychologically and, in the long run, physically (increases risk for all kinds of illnesses, including coronary disease). I know because I’ve worked through these problems. If you want to treat it, don’t just go to your primary doc, but see a sleep specialist.

  18. Comment by Tim K. | 01.10.2007 | 2:54 pm

    viva la siesta.
    What I have noticed – and your wonderful article hints at, is that the ride helps. The long Saturday ride makes the nap possible for me, otherwise I futz around the house and feel like I wasted the day. The nap is the reward – maybe they should bring the nap to the workplace. Maybe I will ask for that in my next interview.
    When I was in Okinawa years ago, the Okinawan construction workers would break for lunch, eat a bit, then all lay out on the lawn and snooze for an hour. The Spaniards did it too.
    Tim D, I agree with the commenter above. Insomnia is something that you should talk to a professional about.

  19. Comment by KatieA978 | 01.10.2007 | 3:52 pm

    I nap after running events, but only usually because I’ve been up since 4am. But I feel all gross and lethargic afterwards. I’ve yet to experience this “waking up refreshed” sensation… Is this a male thing?

    I also feel that I’m wasting my weekend if I have a nap after exercise. I only get two days a week off madness, and sleeping for a couple of hours more than necessary takes away from fun time. Tim K – like the “nap in the workplace” suggestion. As I am banned from asking for payraises, perhaps I might see if I can get a few perks built into my job instead!

    For future reference – shaved head much better than balding, from a girl’s perspective.

    PS – I’m only writing this post so I will avoid going downstairs to the (evil) coffee van that arrives at my work every morning. Bastards – don’t they know I work for a FITNESS company and we’re all on diets?? Bugger off!!

  20. Comment by fatty | 01.10.2007 | 4:01 pm

    katie – if my wife wanted me to shave my head, i already would have. apart from that, girls’ perspective doesn’t much interest me anymore.

  21. Comment by joliver3 | 01.10.2007 | 7:19 pm

    Didn’t you once write that you have an Acura RSX? That’s not a sports car! Heck, it’s just a glorified Honda Civic. It isn’t even rear-wheel drive.

    On a completely unrelated note, I am extremely jealous of all of you B7 challengers who are posting TT profiles with monumental grades and elevation changes. Here in SE Michigan, the biggest hill I know of within 10 miles of my house is about a 1/2 mile climb with ~100 ft. of elevation gain — 4-ish%.

  22. Comment by Jsun | 01.10.2007 | 8:01 pm

    one … of my favorite sports, napping, …zzz… I’ve even hear… zzzz …sorry, heard that if you work on wall street… zzz …you can hit..zz zz… the napping boutique for ~$15/hour… zzz…

  23. Comment by spbarnes | 01.10.2007 | 8:01 pm


    Don’t be jealous…it f%#@ing HURTS!

  24. Comment by SyracuseStu | 01.10.2007 | 8:30 pm

    Well, naps may be all the sleep I get for a while. New baby just showed up today. Good thing I have already embraced the afternoon nap. I figure, being in my early 30s, that I’m ahead of the game.

  25. Comment by fatty | 01.10.2007 | 11:00 pm

    joliver3 – now you’ve gone and hurt my feelings.

  26. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 01.10.2007 | 11:38 pm

    Fatty, never mind the naysayers. Your car is not a Ferrari, but I’d call it a sports car for sure. I mean it’s not like you’re driving a 1986 honda accord.

  27. Comment by jill | 01.11.2007 | 12:40 am

    I can’t take a nap either, even if I’ve been up for 24 hours straight, without waking up and feeling like a someone surgically implanted a lead weight in my stomach while I was sleeping. Thanks for giving me hope for the future.

  28. Comment by joliver3 | 01.11.2007 | 5:03 am

    Fatty, no hurt feelings intended, I was just trying to jump on the bandwagon of general friendly insults to the Rotund Rider. I should be more respectful of my elders. Oops, I think I may have done it again.

  29. Comment by barry1021 | 01.11.2007 | 6:41 am

    As one in the latter stages of FC’s middle age definitional range, the following observations apply
    1. Napping is hereditary. My old man could fall asleep with a jack hammer in the room. I am not that bad, but I can fall asleep most places–but not on planes, dammit!
    2. Nap times expand from age 40 to 55. Be prepared for the hour nap to extend to up to 2.5 hours as you age.
    3. The boundaries between napping and sleeping will blur. If you come home from work on Friday, lie down for a minute before dinner, awake in your clothes at about Midnight, undress, fall asleeo until 8 AM, is it a nap and a sleep, or a long sleep? Just askin’.

    Hey Syracuse, congrats!!

  30. Comment by DeeperSouth | 01.11.2007 | 6:47 am

    3 months ago I went for the usual saturday morning spin – around 75 miles in American money – and skipped my usual nap in order to spend the afternoon cooking an extremely elaborate dinner (there is no point making veal stock if you don’t start off with at least ten litres of water, and up with less than two).
    The next day a chronic bout of as-yet unexplained, but totally debilitating fatigue set in.
    Now all I can do is nap, and I haven’t turned a pedal in anger (or any other emotion) since October. I am not saying the missed nap was the decisive factor in getting sick, but there is some kind of terrible symmetry here.
    Since I’ve lost my appetite too the memory of that veal stock is pretty much all that’s keeping me going.
    On the plus side, my weight is dropping almost as fast as my power, so the ratio should stay on the level.

  31. Comment by DP Cowboy | 01.11.2007 | 8:18 am

    I’ve been feeling guilty about mid afternoon naps lately. I have been trying to jump up, shake it off, and go out on the property to do something, like dig a hole for a fencepost, or put in more steps up that slope that keeps eroding…That ‘Logy” feeling is fine when doing manual labor that requires zero (0) intellect. Perfect for me. Brainless. Mindless.
    Fatty,…Botched is right…and my advice is to paint the Acura red, with a brush and your kids helping. Perfect.
    Also: as you get older, you will need to stretch well in the shower before collapsing, er…ah…lying down…, on the couch after a long ride. Otherwise, you will wake up with cramps, and that isn’t very good.
    A great way to lose weight after that long ride is to limit the time you have in the pantry and in front of the refrigerator, just prior to the ‘couch visit’. Less time means less calories, usually.

  32. Comment by librarymouse | 01.11.2007 | 11:23 am

    Now, now…in defense of insomnia: I’ve had it since my teens and it has seen me through 2 graduate degrees as well as 20 years of single parenting and teaching special ed, all without coffee. And I suppose you might say it has led me to my current profession. I mean, who knows books better than an insomniac? Just because I crash into things more than most folks and can’t remember names to save my life…hmm.

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