Home

Hello all

I am a convert mountain biker who has added a road bike to my cycling and I have to say I wished I had done it sooner. It has definitely helped my mountain bike fitness and I love the simplicity of riding the roads. Just going out and keeping a steady pace with no bike to clean when I get home is nice. Not that I don't love winter mtbing, it's just a the pain with all the cleaning after. Started reading road.cc once I decided to get a road bike and found the reviews invaluable in purchasing new clothing and my the bike.

As for the health question, this is my first winter on a road bike and I have never had this mountain biking. Soon as it started to get cold I started to come down with a cold the next day after cycling. My doctor thinks it could be allergy related and the exercise in the cold is aggravating it. He gave me some allergy tablets to try which I am not so sure if they have actually helped. I have also read it could be dehydration, which could make sense as I do carry a back pack on the mtb with far more fluid ( clutching straws).

The first time it happened the cold stuck around for a while, once it eased of I got back out on the bike and took it steady, doing 16/17 mile loops, things were going well with no cold/s and my times improving, so last saturday I upped the milage to 27 miles. Sunday morning I start feeling the cold come on.

So have any of you suffered with this or heard of any links. Before I go back to my Dr and waste time I want to look at other possible avenues.

Thanks in advance for any help/tips.

13 comments

Avatar
sm [382 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Welcome Shep. Maybe your immune system is low if you're doing too much exercise. The only advice I can give is what your mother would say! Eat well (especially iron) and rest. I know when I'm overdoing things I'm more prone to illness. Some extra-curricular reading if you fancy it: overtraining and resting

Avatar
Simon E [2723 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Have you any history of allergies? Cold air usually only provokes or exacerbates existing conditions.

You may have also not fully recovered from the cold, so the symptoms return once the body is stressed, though I'm surprised a short-ish ride has this effect if you have been cycling for a few years. The last two cold-type viruses I've had really laid me low with prolonged headaches, not like a normal cold.

Dehydration shouldn't normally make you ill. ~500ml/hour is a good amount to aim for, though less is fine provided you are adequately hydrated before and drink plenty afterwards. Do you ride without mudguards? Spray from roads caked in mud, cowsh*t and whatever else can introduce nasty bacteria to your digestive and bronchial tracts.

I would:
1. eat lots of fresh fruit and veg, particularly soups and stews, and drink plenty of water (not just when you're riding). No sugary foods or alcohol, both suppress the immune system.
2. get plenty of sleep.
3. cut back on the riding for a few days and see if it makes a difference.

If it were me I would also stop taking those tablets, it's pointless if you don't have a real allergy. But I am not a doctor.

Avatar
arfa [747 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

First up, rest until you are fully fit - training with a weakness in your immune system is utter madness ! I know to my detriment having tried to push it with flu and ended up with pleurisy and pneumonia which was really not funny. So get back to 100% first. Keep warm, don't hang around in damp cold gear and eat some brazil nuts as a winter supplement - selenium is in short dietary supply in the dark months and brazil nuts will top you up.

* caveat - not a Dr but have screwed up badly in the past

Avatar
daddyELVIS [655 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I believe in the saying - 'you are what you eat' (& drink). Most illness can be traced back to what you put in your body. Put in good fuel in and the body works correctly, put bad fuel in and it doesn't. So my advice would be to take a look at your diet first. Can you make improvements? Also, are you taking on board enough fuel for the higher levels of energy you are now expending? BTW, the last place I would go for advice on warding off colds is a GP.

Avatar
peterben [64 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Make sure you are eating enough fat. I am no great fan of high carb diets, cholesterol protects against infection.
Fat is a good fuel for your body as long as you have conditioned it to use it, it is a longer lasting source of energy. Take a multi vit and mineral regularly, not needed every day.

Avatar
Shep73 [211 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Lots of good points here so thank you. Diet: I have to watch what I eat due to having Meniere's disease which can be effected by sodium,salt, sugar to name a few. I do drink but very rarely, The last time I had a drink was about 2 months a go. I also watched my diet as I was a strong gym goer pushing weights for strength not mass so I always controlled my food intake, that said I have probably got a little slack as I am not training like I was. Today it was porridge breakfast, chicken breast and fresh vegetable stir fry lunch and a cheese/tomato roll at work tonight along side a banana and some malt loaf but that's just one day and improvements can be made so I'll start here, it's something I have not considered. My weight training got put on hold in May after a bad mtb crash left both my thighs severely bruised and a tendon torn in my right shoulder which is still under going physio.

Thankfully I could still cycle or at least until I fell fail of the colds which in turn effected my Meniere's disease. Which is another issue I have to deal with. I have rested and stayed off the bike for a month then as I said eased back into it and things were going well.

I do work shifts and I am prone when I finish night shifts on friday morning to get up after 3/4 hours sleep and hit the roads.

The fact about sugar effecting the immune system, I never knew that so I'll bear that in mind. As for the comment about seeing your GP for colds, hence why I am asking people who understand our sport, rest, diet. GP's seem too quick to throw a pill at it. As for the allergy, I have no history of them and I pray it's not the wife's cat…if it is then I'm homeless.

Avatar
Chuck [546 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

The cold coming on could just be coincidence. I've just been off work for nearly 2 weeks and still don't feel I'm ready to be back on the bike. A few weeks ago I noticed riding was feeling much harder than it should and leaving me more tired afterwards. The following week I went out for a long, cold ride and got quite chilled, then bang- off work with flu, and while I'm back riding to work now it's still leaving me much more tired than it should.

In hindsight I'd say there was something lurking around my system that I should have paid more attention to earlier. So in your case, you might already have had something hanging around and the riding has just brought it to the fore. My advice would be listen to your body and don't push it, frustrating as that might be!

Avatar
William Black [193 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

To the general advice of diet and supplements through winter, I would also add wearing a neck warmer, since getting a 'buff' the frequency of sore throats and general sniffles has diminished rapidly.

As soon as it's cold enough to wear long sleeves for running or riding I tend to wear one.

Oh and echinacea tea.

Avatar
Shep73 [211 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Chuck wrote:

The cold coming on could just be coincidence. I've just been off work for nearly 2 weeks and still don't feel I'm ready to be back on the bike. A few weeks ago I noticed riding was feeling much harder than it should and leaving me more tired afterwards. The following week I went out for a long, cold ride and got quite chilled, then bang- off work with flu, and while I'm back riding to work now it's still leaving me much more tired than it should.

In hindsight I'd say there was something lurking around my system that I should have paid more attention to earlier. So in your case, you might already have had something hanging around and the riding has just brought it to the fore. My advice would be listen to your body and don't push it, frustrating as that might be!

My concern is even after resting for a month it came back, although not on the short rides but soon as I upped the miles. It could be that you're right and I wasn't quite 100% ( although I was putting in some good PR's on Strava, hence me upping the miles) It could be that I had just come of nights and not slept as well as i could but this doesn't normally effect me. It's been a few months of this getting colds lark as well.

Avatar
Shep73 [211 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Been taking Echinacea as soon as the cold starts, I have heard though that you shouldn't take it all the time. Will try the neck warmer idea.

Avatar
Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Simple __ don't ride as far, especially in the cold weather. Rides of 30-45 minutes done say 3x times per week, with a couple of minor sprints during each run, is about the optimum for fitness maintenance. Do any more than that and the additional strain on the body and the joints largely negate any further health benefit.

Our Stone-Age bodies are designed to burn fat not carbohydrates as our non-farming forbearers had very little access to them and what they had was mostly seasonal anyway. We are most certainly NOT designed to run marathons for example. Why would we be? It's a colossal waste of energy and a massive strain on the body ... for absolutely no reward or purpose.

I mention the cold because Homo Sapiens are essentially Tropical animals (i.e. we are supposed to live in the Tropics). That's why, when you *are* in the Tropics, you suddenly find you don't need much in the way of clothing.

I'd recommend Mark Sisson's 'Primal Blueprint', amongst others of it's genre, if you want to understand more about how your body was designed to work.

Avatar
Shep73 [211 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Joeinpoole wrote:

Simple __ don't ride as far, especially in the cold weather. Rides of 30-45 minutes done say 3x times per week, with a couple of minor sprints during each run, is about the optimum for fitness maintenance. Do any more than that and the additional strain on the body and the joints largely negate any further health benefit.

Our Stone-Age bodies are designed to burn fat not carbohydrates as our non-farming forbearers had very little access to them and what they had was mostly seasonal anyway. We are most certainly NOT designed to run marathons for example. Why would we be? It's a colossal waste of energy and a massive strain on the body ... for absolutely no reward or purpose.

I mention the cold because Homo Sapiens are essentially Tropical animals (i.e. we are supposed to live in the Tropics). That's why, when you *are* in the Tropics, you suddenly find you don't need much in the way of clothing.

I'd recommend Mark Sisson's 'Primal Blueprint', amongst others of it's genre, if you want to understand more about how your body was designed to work.

Interesting read but I will find it hard to keep my miles down, especially when I do 35 mile mtb rides in the winter and have for years with no health issues in harsher conditions. It's very frustrating but I'm just going to have to rest for about a month and give myself time and watch my diet a lot more. I have no food discipline when I am not training or cycling as I loose the incentive.

Avatar
daddyELVIS [655 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Joeinpoole wrote:

Our Stone-Age bodies are designed to burn fat not carbohydrates

Interesting - Where did our stone-age ancestors get their fatty diets without a KFC on their local retail park? If you're going to tell me they ran down a gazelle with a sharpened stick, I'd have to ask where the first caveman found the energy to do so without some good old carbo-loading first?