There are a couple well known signals that most cyclists know about to let them know if they’re going to be tired for their ride when they wake up in the morning. I employ a couple of these. One that most cycling books talk about is your morning pulse, or heart rate. Supposedly, if your morning heart rate is higher than normal, your body is stressed out/tired. I’m pretty good about checking my HR in the morning. When I’m really rested, it’s 28-30 bpm. When I’m pretty rested, or what it normally is, it’s 32. And sometimes it gets up to 34 or 35 when I’m tired. This particular fatigue measurement method isn’t that accurate though, because sometimes I’ll have a great ride and be super energetic even if it’s 34 or 35. And sometimes just the opposite if it’s 32.
After taking my heart rate, I take all my vitamins and minerals. They’re spread out in about seven different bottles, and if I’m tired I usually drop the one or two of the bottles while trying to open them, and a couple pills, before the process is over with.
Another sign I use to tell if I’m going to be tired is how long it takes me to get breakfast going. On a normal day, once I get into the kitchen I have the oats on the stove within 12 seconds, mushrooms and meat cut up in a pan with eggs within 33 seconds, and fruit being chopped by 40 seconds (estimated time). I get the process going quickly because, most likely, I’ve been thinking about eating food since five minutes after last night’s dinner. If I happen to find myself standing in the middle of the kitchen with a blank stare on my face and not a thought going through my head, that means I’m tired.
But all these things don’t necessarily add up to a bad ride or tired legs. They could, but then again, with the right amount of coffee and the right mix of riding buddies for me to try and drop, my legs could definitely turn around. There’s only one true measure of my fatigue. It’s the number one sign to tell how tired I’ll be on any given day: the number of times I cuss at inanimate objects while getting ready for my ride. I know if it’s going to be a tired day if I’ve sworn at six or seven objects before I’ve gotten breakfast half way down. This morning I’d thoroughly cussed out a bowl that was dirty, a spoon that dropped on the ground, the stove for being crappy, an orange peel that missed the garbage can, the garbage can, a spatula for being in the dishwasher instead of the drawer, the house for being cold and smelling like paint fumes, the paint fumes, and the fridge for being empty—all in the first five minutes of waking up. That’s a lot of things to drop the F bomb on that early in the morning. I mean, I REALLY let these things know how downright useless and terrible they were. How utterly worthless their existence was and how much I despised them and how much they should despise themselves. It’s a good thing none of the objects were alive and were without emotion, because otherwise I’d feel pretty bad about the things I’d said. This morning I knew I was going to be tired all day. And I was.