After the Lord Mayor’s show: the search for serotonin


If ever you’re wondering what’s possible on a bike – and just how crazy some cyclists are – consider the friend of mine currently racing from Belgium to Turkey. He’s doing it unsupported, with the clock never stopping. Sleeping under hedges. Going over the Alps. He did the same last year – a massive event – and talked about, not only the tiredness afterwards, but the mental and emotional “flatness”. The post-Olympic low. Most people are probably familiar with this sensation immediately after a peak of adrenalin or stress; or a major event: if you’ve been focussing on a given moment, or goal, and when it’s gone, normality suddenly seems a bit slow (or empty?) because you’ve become so attuned to being ‘driven’.

I’ve returned from a relaxing family holiday in the beautiful Alps (PS I want to live there now…), but in cycling terms, and in cyclingwithms terms, flatness is where I’ve found myself. The week before the Alps I’d been geeing up my MS-ing body, pretending (both to it and to myself) that cycling in the Alps would be possible. Persuasion through adrenalin (and excitement) got me so far… but, when I rode ‘l’etape’ event, I barely crawled over the line. (See my last couple of blogs), I think I’m still wearing a psychological (and emotional) cycling-scars.

I feel that I stretched (on tip-toes) up to an event – which had been inspiring me to get out of bed every morning – but now, without all that anticipation, I’m now struggling to overcome the MS-lethargy I’m currently suffering. Athletes and cyclists need rest and recovery (yes, I know) – but I feel that this current lassitude, buzzing with pins and needles (and other lower body issues), is more than just physical tiredness.

Earlier this year, I was inspired to train on my bike with a possible entry to the ‘Paris-Brest’ ride on my radar – but, after very careful consideration and discussion with my audaxing ‘wingman’, I’ve decided that this would be a step too far. Despite all those efforts to qualify, I feel as though I’m treading too thin a line with my MS at the moment. I don’t want to fall off the edge. My friend and I are going to try and do something else in its place…. tbc, but something that will hopefully be less nocturnal; more scenic; and less crowded. It’s only 4 years until the next one anyway.

What now? Feels to me like I need a new source of serotonin.



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