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12-04-2021 | Luc Nouwen

Dare to go - how the bike help me get rid of a burn out

The corona crisis has led to an unimaginable number of mental problems. Unfortunately, I have had to deal with this myself a while ago. The bike eventually proved to be my salvation.

My employer regularly hangs interesting information in the elevator. A while ago, it was about the characteristics of burnout.

  • Are you irritable? Yep.
  • Do you feel mentally exhausted? Like a squeezed lemon...
  • Are you cynical? Always have been, but I was taking it pretty far.

What's going on?

Getting up in the morning, crawling out of bed. For thirty years I had no problem with that and now I had to drag myself to work against all odds. What the f... is wrong with me? If it weren't for my direct colleagues, I would have just stayed in bed. The motivation was gone, the will was broken, I didn't care anymore. Was I supposed to wait for that wall coming at me to crush me or was I going to do something about it? Is giving up for the weak?

Feelings went back and forth. I attended an info session on burnout; behaved normal but... "I tick all the boxes". Lots of introverted consultation with myself.... I took my seventeen-year-old racing bike out of the cellar: a breath of fresh air and "going deep" would help. Physically I improved, but mentally I was finished. The batteries were empty and wouldn't charge anymore. I had to get out to avoid going down.

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What are you going to do?

I'm just going to be kind to myself and chase my boyhood dream: live like a professional cyclist and participate in the world championships (masters). Time credit without reason, they call it. I could give a hundred reasons. Sabbatical sounded much better in any case.

"Do yourself proud"

The cycling season finished perfectly; lived like a pro; rode very hard; qualified in England and Italy for the World Championships on the road in the masters in Australia and eventually rode a nice World Championship in Perth. Then took the world championships on the track in Manchester. "Do yourself proud," said the mechanic who held me at the start. And so I did: I finished fifth in the scratch. In my age category there were forty competitors from all over the world; in the results there are nine different nationalities in the first ten ; "scratch" is a short intensive race, straightforward; the average speed was over 46 km/hour.

Fresh in the head

I feel good in my head again. Getting up is no problem. Fresh in the head and strong in the legs. The concentration is back, the motivation is back, the will is back. Thank you bike!

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