I’ve had a rubbish winter of cycling. My fingers and toes have been wincing at the temperatures. Actually, wincing is massive understatement; I have Raynaud’s Disease and it’s been really bad this year – so bad that I’ve not been able to cycle at all since October and consequently I’ve lost loads of fitness from the hard work I did last summer and I’ve been like a bear with a sore head recently because of it.
Yesterday, the temperature in Notts hit a lovely warm-feeling 11 degrees; the sun was shining and I’d been to a really positive meeting about my cycling club and Go-Ride. I came back buzzing and my hubby had an afternoon off work so we thought we’d venture out together and enjoy the Spring like weather. I layered up in preparation.
All wrapped up
I don’t have any super duper gloves – someone has recommended some amazing sounding ones but they cost £100 and I just don’t have that to spare on a pair of gloves right now – so I wore my Thinsulate woolly winter gloves, two pieces of Buff head wear – one around my neck and over my mouth and one for my head, under my helmet. I can totally recommend these by the way – great for wearing in a whole host of ways and they have some fabulous Tour de France ones available now, which I love! On top I placed a winter cycling jacket with a cosy base layer and my lovely warm Le Col bib tights and topped it all off with some over shoes. 11 degrees outside? I looked ready for crossing the Arctic!
What’s all the fuss about?
For those that have never heard of Raynaud’s Disease it’s a circulatory condition that affects the blood supply to the extremities; in me, it tends to affect the fingers and toes mainly. Regular readers will be aware that I’ve had a lot of lower back surgery in the past and I have some nerve damage to one leg, so perhaps that is why one foot tends to be affected worse than the other. But the fingers on my right hand have been agony this last winter. During an attack (which can affect both hands and often does but my right hand is worse) they become white and dead looking, then blue, then red and burning as the blood supply comes back. I can’t describe the pain to you. Suffice to say it makes me feel sick and it has actually made me cry this year! As a freelance writer, not being able to type because of numbness or pain is not good, I can tell you!
So, back to the ride…we did a quick 20 miles before school pick-up. My body was sweating within a couple of miles but about ten minutes in and the toes on my left foot had lost all feeling and my finger tips on both hands were starting to go. By the end of the ride, both feet were completely numb in all toes and I couldn’t feel six of my ten fingers. It’s official! I hate Raynaud’s!
A little tipple
But I love my bike! So, today, fed up with a GP who I feel isn’t really being very helpful (time for a new one I think), I ventured to the health food shop. I’ve bought some maximum strength Aloe Vera juice – not from the health food shop in the end as I managed to pick it up at a far cheaper price at the local ‘sells everything’ shop’! I’ve no idea if it will work. But I am willing to try anything. I’ve heard it works wonders on all sorts of ailments…and I have a skin condition too, so finger’s crossed (yes, I can cross my fingers… when I can feel them! Ha!) it will be beneficial for both things. Honestly, it can’t hurt can it? Raynaud’s Disease is making me so miserable, and I’m sure my fellow club riders think I’m just making excuses not to go out, but honestly, this condition is soooo painful. It’s Spring! 11 degrees and I still feel like I can’t ride my bike. 🙁
So watch this space….all I can report so far is that it tastes foul!!