Oh, to sleep, to dream, to not hear my dog snoring!

Bad weather has set in on us here in Dallas once again, and usually that’s to my advantage, thanks to the CT’s at the Cycling Center of Dallas. But what would routinely be a good morning, followed by some strong performances in the evening, is turning out to be an exercise in exhaustion, and the main problem is my dog.

My wife and I love our little Shadow, and she’s a fantastic companion, but in the winter, when we add extra layers to our sheets, the dog, who normally burrows underneath (something I think all Bostons do), ends up creeping up and usually ends up on the space between the pillows – claws in one back, and then another. And then, this little 18lb wonder with a head smaller than a tennis ball, has this ROARING SNORE that sounds like a jackhammer in whichever spouse’s ear happens to be closer enough. This leads to a rude awakening, perpetual pushing of the dog down back under the sheets, a repeat of her eventual, slow, crawl back up between the pillows so she can breathe, and us waking up way too many times, not getting the rest that we need, and then watching with disdain as the dog hops up in the morning, goes straight to her perch on the back of the sofa, and promptly falls asleep — noiselessly.

It’s not nearly as big a problem in the other seasons, but man, winter just means more snoring, unstifled.

Now, what does this have to do with riding? Well, if you’re like me, and you actually have to work for a living, while at the same time, you have to try and get SOME riding in outdoors, or even indoors, well, you have to be rested and adequately recovered from the previous day’s thoughts and workouts. Sleep is what allows you to actually get stronger. I love that old Lance ad from Nike, where he answers the questions about “This is my body.” The 1/2 second where it shows him sleeping is absolutely the best shot in the whole ad. He really is sleeping. They must have just put the camera on and left him in there, because he really is asleep. You think about this guy who at the time was just perpetually in motion, and you get this shot of him just completely at rest. It’s pretty cool.

I try to rest throughout the day, but there’s just something about pushing 7 to8 hours of direct sleep that leaves you refreshed. It’s why I like to travel to races the day before, and may even take a knockout pill to help me come down. No, I’m not ashamed to admit that. An old coach of mine (Jerry Davis – whatever happened to that guy? Googling him came up with a fireman in Morgan Hill, CA. Did he really move on to that? Not sure, may never know) once used the mantra “Train Hard, Rest Harder!” And he meant it. As hard as we work on our bodies and our minds, and even our spirits, it’s just as critical to rest the mind, rest the legs, lungs, and heart, and let them adapt so that the next time, the loads, the stress, the push, won’t be as hard as last time. It’s critical to the training process.

And if you have to ban the dog to the closet, or ban yourself to the sofa downstairs, well, ya gotta do what you gotta do, and your body will appreciate that and reward it with better, more consistent performances and gains.

Sleep Well! Or Else! 🙂


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