All the planning in the world cannot cover all eventualities, including illness. That’s just what happened to me, with just a few weeks before the Velothon, and only a matter of days before I was due to ride the Monmouthshire Iron Mountain 40 mile Sportive, and I was not feeling at all well, not just a little bit ill, very ill!!
I’d already finished the course of antibiotics for the ear infection I had in the week previous, but I was not feeling too special and very lethargic. I also had what I thought was a stubborn burn (one of the hazards of frying tomatoes) on the side of my cheek and nose that refused to heal properly and it was causing nasty facial pain too.
Despite all the symptoms, the diagnosis of Shingles came as a massive shock; I knew I wasn’t well but… Shingles!! That’s an older person disease, yes? Well no, obviously not.
It was two days before the Monmouthshire 40 and under three weeks before the Velothon, and I was facing the fact that I was not going to make it to the starting pen for either of the events.
For a fleeting moment, I considered asking the Doctor if I would be fit enough to cycle in the coming weeks, but after weighing up the options of whether I’d like or listen to the answer, I decided not too. I chose to take the ‘what I don’t know, won’t hurt me’ route instead and try and carry on as planned.
Before I knew it, I was leaving the surgery with a massive dose of anti-viral medication and strict instructions on pain management for the facial and cranial nerve pain that was all part of the Shingles.
Probably against all forms of common sense, I cycled and assisted with the Monmouthshire Breeze ride that evening. While it was not a show-stopping performance of ride stats and segment times, it did help clear my head and helped me make the choice that I would be in the start pen on Sunday morning for the Monmouthshire Iron Mountain 40 mile Sportive come what may. I’d come this far; I was not going to give up now!