Very Sleepy

04.26.2012 | 9:26 am

I blame the cat. And my phone. And probably my bladder. All three really. I think they were working together to ruin my night’s sleep.

Specifically, about 2:00am on Wednesday morning, I was wakened by either my bladder or my phone. Even more specifically, I think my bladder was bringing me out of deep sleep and the vibration of the phone — due to, evidently, the fact that it was my turn in a game of Words With Friends — brought me the rest of the way out.

I went and peed. I shall not bother you with details of this event, because it was more or less uneventful.

By the time I was most of the way back to bed, the cat was scratching at the bedroom door. So I went back and opened the door so she could come in.

The extra time on my feet woke me up, just a little.

So I thought, “Hey, I’ll just take a quick look at the Words With Friends game and see what move someone made at this ridiculous hour.”

It was a pretty good move, in a game I am losing badly (I lose every game of Words With Friends, and do not know why I continue to play).

Then — fatefully — my mind turned to the blog post I wanted to write (this one).

And that was that.

No more sleep.

I was awake, and my mind was fully engaged in mentally outlining and writing the post I wanted to write. The title. Headings. Key phrases. Where the story would end.

I knew — knew! — from long experience that once this mental train leaves the station, it is not returning. My night’s sleep was over.

But for form’s sake, I stayed in bed ’til about 2:30. Pretending it was possible that I’d go back to sleep.

I did not go back to sleep.

So I dressed, went downstairs, and started writing. Knowing full well that the three hours of sleep I had had that night would not be enough.

Magic Cure

Using the tactic (or was it a strategy?) of a more or less continuous consumption of caffeine, I made it through the day. I’m sure my co-workers didn’t notice at all. Ha.

And then, finally, I was back home. So tired that I just wanted to fall into bed, but so excited at the combination of plenty of daylight, perfect weather and ideal trail conditions that I had to get on my mountain bike for a couple hours.

So I did.

And — instantly — the tiredness evaporated. I felt good. Clear-headed. For the first time since about 7:00AM, fully awake.

I tell you, biking cures — temporarily — pretty much everything.

I climbed up Hog Hollow, feeling fine. Feeling totally lucid and clear-headed. Thinking about the fact that I was totally lucid and clear-headed.

“I feel totally lucid and clear-headed,” I said to The Hammer.

“Interesting,” she replied. “Because you’re picking horrible riding lines and you’re slurring like you’re about to fall over on your side.”

So it’s possible, I suppose, that I felt more awake than I seemed.

Even so, it was such a relief to feel good again.

Perhaps Not All Better

And then theĀ  descent began: down Rush, one of the more technical descents in the Corner Canyon riding park.

It twists. It turns. It’s banked and steep and has dozens of places to catch air.

It let me know, almost instantly, that I wasn’t operating at optimal capacity.

I came out of the first hairpin turn fine, butĀ  . . . off. I couldn’t — still can’t — tell exactly what was wrong, but I could tell that I was wobbly in the turn, and came out of it without much momentum and pointing in a strange direction.

“It happens,” I thought. And I was right, because it happened again, almost immediately.

And again.

And that’s when I made the connection. I might feel awake, but my brain was still not working at top speed. (Here’s the place where you can make a comment to yourself along the lines of, “Does it ever?”)

I changed my ride plan from “Charge!” to “Take it easy, take no risks, and get home without crashing.”

Which, in fact, I did. I had a great ride, felt fantastic (if even less coordinated than usual), and got a nice little vacation from the deep exhaustion I had felt the whole day. Thanks, biking, for your astonishing wonderfulness.

Then I got home, put away the bike, and immediately felt the crushing sleepiness once again pin me down.

This time, though, I welcomed it. I was in bed by 9:30.

And I have no idea whether the cat, the phone, or anything else tried to wake me last night.


  1. Comment by Ashley | 04.26.2012 | 10:28 am

    Riding really solve a lot of things. It’s also amazing how sometimes you don’t want to ride, you have a million other things to do, you’re too tired, taking the train home would be easier then riding the 17 mile commute home…

    And then you get on the bike and you’re like, oh yeah, this is great.

  2. Comment by GenghisKhan | 04.26.2012 | 10:53 am

    Since you offered…

    Your brain was still not working at top speed, you said.

    Does it ever? ;o)

    Thanks for the motivation to ride!

  3. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.26.2012 | 11:00 am

    but did you pee in your bed?

  4. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 04.26.2012 | 11:07 am

    @Clydesteve Touche!

    That may be the topic for another blog.

  5. Comment by KM | 04.26.2012 | 12:13 pm

    Dang! I had the same thing happen Tuesday! Tuesday morning I woke up @ 0230 and couldn’t fall back asleep. So around 0900 Tuesday I went riding, I thought I was riding great only to see after a couple of hours my speed was about 2-3mph slower than I normally ride the same loop, was waaayy off my normal lap times and I was bouncing around like a basketball. But I guess it’s the thought that counts right? I FELT awesome and energetic while riding. I promptly went home and passed out. We must be sympatico somehow this week Fatty. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or indicating something potentially sinister…..

  6. Comment by iRide | 04.26.2012 | 12:35 pm

    I LOVE the energy my bike commute gives me. I feel awesome by the time I get home. But the same trip in a bus puts me to sleep. This time of year I feel it’s a waste of time to sit on a bus for 60 minutes when I can cover the same ground in 75 on a bike and burn a handful of calories while I’m at it.

  7. Comment by a chris | 04.26.2012 | 1:05 pm

    So it’s probably a bad idea for new parents to take up mountain biking, eh? Luckily other factors converge to make it less likely in the first place.

  8. Comment by Daniel.weise | 04.26.2012 | 2:10 pm

    I can so relate to this on so many levels! Waking up and not being able to sleep no matter how hard I try, Felling like I’m wide awake and just killing it, but an objective observer would see that I’m just about killing myself, even getting revitalized from a ride.

    Thanks for Sharing Fatty – now we know you are human. :)

  9. Comment by roan | 04.26.2012 | 4:53 pm

    I’ll echo the above comments. Strange, so tired at work, then just as it’s time to leave work the rain comes calling. Could take the bus, but it’s not cold, within a few miles I’m somewhat wet (feet & gloves) but warm AND REFRESHED. AND a shower at home is the reward for the one on the road. A big fan dries the bike but the road crud is the mine to clean.

  10. Comment by S.A.Nick | 04.26.2012 | 5:32 pm

    BINGO! A little time in the saddle is this world’s greatest cure-all! After many a hard day at school or work or a combination of the two, the bike ride home is always what brings me back to life.

  11. Comment by MattC | 04.26.2012 | 8:24 pm

    Ahhhhh…something about the life-sucking job making you tired the moment you show up (reminds me of a sign I saw LONG ago in a workspace: “If you’ve never seen the dead come back to life, you should be around here at quitting time”).

    I’ve found bikes are a negative-energy conduit, shorting all the bad vibes to earth-ground (where it’s then recycled into Kenny G music, which then gives rise to more negative energy)…it’s mother-nature’s version of perpetual motion.

    And hey…I recall Fatty showing us a video of one of his mt bike rides (long ago?) that had some pretty crazy looking drops if you mess up…well, watch THIS video…sheesh…way above my bravery- level (at their speed anyway)…yee-haw!

  12. Comment by ClydeinKS | 04.26.2012 | 8:53 pm

    @MattC – thanks for the post, I would LOVE to take that ride!! But, that post is exactly is exactly why Mighty Athena will only allow me one (road) bike in the stable!

    Hmmm, maybe if I switched to tubeless…

  13. Comment by sans auto | 04.26.2012 | 11:08 pm

    Let me get this straight… You woke up at 2 am on Tuesday Morning and were unable to get back to sleep because you had on your mind what you did on Tuesday afternoon? I’m suddenly really confused. What did you wake up to write about. I want to hear it.

  14. Comment by sans auto | 04.26.2012 | 11:10 pm

    OK, I figured it out… ‘this one’ was a link, not a reference to this one, the one you are writing. I’m a bit slow this evening. I’m going to bed.

  15. Comment by Gillian | 04.27.2012 | 7:04 am

    Up all night, kids driving me crazy this morning, and I read this post. Kinda makes me want to put my dragging butt on a bike and ride myself awake. Ish.

    (Instead I’ll go study for law school exams! MUCH LESS FUN.)

  16. Comment by Gillian | 04.27.2012 | 7:05 am

    (PS It was also my cat keeping me up. Why do people buy cats, again?)

  17. Comment by Fleg | 04.27.2012 | 7:31 am

    what a great piece to read first thing into the office. A story about going back to sleep! Thank you, I’ll take my coffee black now.

  18. Comment by Jeff Bike | 04.27.2012 | 8:16 am

    People don’t buy cats; they pay for the privileged of being subservient to the higher species.
    Amen, thank you Starbucks!

  19. Comment by T | 04.27.2012 | 8:32 pm

    i’m pretty sure riding tired is half the reason i crashed my bike on easter sunday. long work week, up early for work that day, felt a little weird throughout a good chunk of the ride … really not a surprise that i wiped out badly.

    oh well, mostly healed now and the only bike damage was some scrapes and handlebars that need to be retaped. which can wait – he’s still rideable.


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