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Queen B*tch From Hell Day

It's a generally accepted ALC truism that, during the ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, most folks will have at least one day that we impolitely call the "Queen Bitch From Hell Day." (Men and women are equally susceptible.) Since I just had one such day today on my latest (107-mile, windy, hilly, and even a little wet) training ride (and I've had at least one on every ALC that I've done), this seemed like a good opportunity to write a little bit about this phenomenon. (Did I mention hilly? Damn hilly.)

What are the symptoms? In brief, you hate everyone and everything, and would you please just give me some space already!

What are the causes? Several common culprits are known:
  • Improper nutrition and hydration while riding. This can go hand in hand with bonking, and it can even be an early warning that a bonk might be imminent.
  • Insufficient rest. I did today's 107-mile ride on about four and a half hours of sleep, and I had to drive an hour to the meeting point. Not wise.
  • Other life stressors. Relationship troubles, issues at work, financial matters, family issues ... any or all of these can make you more prone to being easily annoyed. Let's just say that I've had some "other life stressors" as of late.

What can you do about it? That's a tough one. ALC lore (somewhat lost in recent years) was to respond "I'm a kitty, you're a kitty" to the offending party, perhaps even with annoyingly cute paw-like motions. I'm glad nobody ever tried to pull that schtick on me, because it most certainly would not have worked. The good news is that you usually can figure out when you're having Your Day. If you just need your space, it's mostly possible to keep to yourself for a while, even though you can count on roadies and friends to be perpetually perky. (They really are that happy. I don't know how they do it.) Take 10 or 15 minutes, find a quiet grassy corner, and just stretch out with your eyes shut. (Best to do this out of sight so that nobody thinks you're injured!) Most importantly, however, when you realize what's happened to you, be super extra vigilant about not passing your foul mood onto others. Be aloof, quiet, reserved, or anything else, but just don't make your bad day someone else's bad day, too. And if you're becoming downright angry while riding (yelling at other riders or roadies, perhaps), stop and take a break. Cycling while angry is as dangerous as driving while angry, and it's not fair for your anger to put the safety of everyone else at risk. If you can't get out of your funk and it's a really deep one, declare your day over and let yourself be swept into camp -- it's the safest thing for yourself and everyone else.

How did I do today? Not as well as the above paragraph might suggest. I was visibly and demonstrably angry during some of the more difficult parts of the ride, but I was also aware that my anger was directed at me and not anyone else. My salty out-loud language at times would have made a sailor blush, but I was also careful (I hope) to vocalize only when nobody else was around. I made an extra effort to properly eat and drink, and I don't think I ever was in any bonking danger. The other crud going on in my life ... well, I couldn't fully compartmentalize that away for the day, and that hurt my performance. I'd give myself at best a B-minus grade for handling my Queen Bitchiness.

In two weeks, the stakes are higher. When your day goes bad, recognize it, embrace it, deal with it the best you can, and remember your commitment to the safety of everyone around you.

1 comment:

Jazz Collen said...

Thanks for this info..This makes me aware of what's happening ;)