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Recovery from a Double Century (normally not bad, a virus is no fun)

I felt alert and just fine after finishing the Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge. Finishing body weight was only ~2 pounds less than starting weight, so I did not experience significant dehydration. Slept normally, nothing unusual. Drove 4.5 hours home.

25 hours after finishing, I went for a 90 minute recovery ride and felt fine (other than moderately sore tired legs).

That night (~28 hours after finishing)... first I had severe shivering about 10pm, donning a heavy sweatshirt under my down comforter (also felt the need to breath fast and deeply), then I burned like a hot potato all night long, soaking my sheets with sweat, and losing 7.5 pounds of fluid overnight. I took some Enduroylytes (electrolyte capsules) just in case that was involved.

I’ve never experienced this severe post-ride trauma, and it is strange to see the pronounced onset ~28 hours after finishing, following no apparent ill effects other than some muscle soreness. I wonder what it means.

The sleep helped, but today (Monday, race was Saturday), I’m achy with a sensation of being a bit chilled, and with a mild headache.

Update July 4: the fever broke early July 3rd and I’m on the mend (ironically, leg muscles feel long since recovered).

Update July 6: didn't feel “mended” on the 5th or 6th, with pain that felt like a kidney stone developing on the 5th and continuing heavy night sweating (soaking 4 t-shirts per night) and the sheets. CT scan rules out grows and kidney stones, urine looks infected. Looks like internal infection, perhaps prostratitis. Very uncomfortable to painful. Down the hatch with the first Cipro.

Update July 7: modern antibiotics rock. What a relief to be free of pain after a week. Going for a ride today!

Physician JA writes:

One of my mentors always said, "common things are common".

Getting a virus from aid station workers not washing their hands properly is common. What is the pathophysiology of a virus like syndrome after extreme exercise? You've never suffered it previously after similar exertions. Scientific method suggests cause and effect.

DIGLLOYD: Such is life I suppose. At this point, it’s clear that it’s a virus: I’m running a temp; fever/chills, sleeping on/off all afternoon.

Never before after the prior three double centuries this year have I had any issues with recovery, and I felt just fine the day after (until 10pm where this all started in a sudden onset). All my prior people contact was with family members, none of whom got sick. In short, I almost certainly picked up the virus during the event, somehow.

To be fair, an aid station has a number of vectors for infection; other than aid station workers themselves (relatively few compared to riders), the more numerous riders allowed to self-serve food that puts them in contact with the supplies that other riders might then consume.

Which suggests that event support should ideally disallow self-serve of any food where contamination could occur, if at all possible. Sometimes this isn’t feasible, due to staffing and rider volume and arrival rate. Alta Alpina was very well run, but I self-served in some cases, and I know others did also. On balance, aid-station workers should be reminded to wash hands frequently (maybe not easily possible), and/or wear disposable gloves, just as any food-service personnel would.


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