Shingles for Jingles – Cross

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

I’m sick. I’ve been feeling pretty weird ever since I left California. When I got to Louisville I was pretty beat and had some issues with my left leg. It sort of felt like I had a bad sunburn on the front of my thigh and my butt. Plus, my butt muscle felt like I’d fallen on it and it was deeply bruised.

I was waking up feeling sick, a headache, a little dizzy, etc. I rode like shit both Saturday and Sunday and didn’t really recover. Driving back on Monday, my butt was so sore when I got home that I could hardly touch it. So, I’d thought I’d give it a couple days, but yesterday enough was enough. The pain was too severe and getting worse hourly.

So, I went to the doctor and he said I had shingles. He’s right, it seems. I don’t have a huge rash yet, but all the other symptoms fit exactly. I was on a downward slope, so I hope to stop that. I’m still thinking about driving up to Iowa for Jinglecross tonight, Saturday and Sunday. I haven’t figured it out exactly, but can’t see not going.

Riding on the road the past couple days, I’ve felt like shit. My lymph nodes in my crouch are huge. Maybe I should leave my bike at home? That would make me not race. I’m not sure standing around in the rain is good for shingles either. I’m really not sure what is good for shingles. Catherine and another guy both had shingles this past summer and it really didn’t seems to slow them down much. I’m not feeling very good though, so I might have to read up a little more on it. I’d never heard much about shingles and now it seems to be coming up everywhere, even in my body.

It is supposed to be dry tonight and then rain the whole weekend. I hate missing a muddy, technical race, which is what this venue will be. Mt. Krumpet, descending, is pretty treacherous when it is wet. The problem is the slog up to the top. It seems to be that way more than not nowadays.

At least I have some explanation why I was riding like crap in Louisville. Other than that, this is a minor disaster. This season, geez.

One of these is 5 times a day.  Wonder what that exactly means?  Wake up at night and eat one?

One of these is 5 times a day. Wonder what that exactly means? Wake up at night and eat one?

37 thoughts on “Shingles for Jingles – Cross

  1. mike crum

    well, if you do go and race, and dont do well, you got all your excuses in the paragraphs above.. 90% of the races you do, you let all know your sick in some way. you been doing this for years.. not classy at all..

  2. Steve Tilford Post author

    Mike – I’m not in a good mood this morning. I don’t view having broken bones and injuries that involve surgery as excuses. As I don’t think having shingles is something not to address on my website. Seems like you are just a rude prick and maybe you should go somewhere else to spend your time and negativity. I’m pretty tired of seeing your annoying comments.

  3. Tad Cheswick

    Someday, in the not too far off future, we’re going to read this entry on Steve’s blog:

    I died today. I had a feeling it was going to happen, but I thought I’d tough it out. Guess I should have listened to the doctor. And it looks like I won’t have time to write anything about that day of Garmin/Sharp testing bullshit I watched Danielson do a couple months back in Colorado. That was a waste. Oh well.

  4. Stephen

    My buddy here in Boulder had shingles a few years back. I think it can be pretty serious for some people. I would not race like that .pretty sure if you’ve had chicken pox as a child you’re immune to shingles?? Anyway , be safe with your health. Love your blog and the haters can hate right! P.s. lance should never race again. You should recant that post!!
    Stephen in colorado

  5. RogerH

    LOL the title. I guess it flares up with stress, injury, and/or a lowered immune system. Given your year, it makes sense. Take it easy one time.

  6. Joe_Beer

    Mike – It’s funny because Steve is the only bike racer ever to juxtapose his injuries with his racing. I’ve never seen that sort of thing before. At the start (and finish) of every race ever.

    We’ve seen him write “I was on a good day and did shitty.” It’s less common, but he’s written it. It’s probably less common because good days are a lot less common than bad days.

    And besides, we read his blog because it’s interesting and sometimes we learn things. It’s fine to call him out when he’s wrong, but calling out a bike racer for bitching about injury is like calling out a human for dropping a deuce.

    Also: dude’s got shingles. Which sucks. A little class today may not be such a bad thing.

  7. Webhed38


    It’s the other way around. If you Had chicken pox, you have the virus that causes it in your body, and you can get shingles at a later age…

    Please Ignore the haters. Many of us enjoy your posts and are suffering through this season with you. I am in awe of the longevity of your career! Keep it up!

  8. Neil Kopitsky

    I’ll presume this was written with good natured humor intent, because it was certainly good humor!

    Steve is always very factual about his race condition. BEFORE the race, he analyzes his form, his health, his injuries . . . AFTER the race, he CONSISTENTLY praises the winners for their performance and then gauges his results based on his own personal standards. Ultimately, Steve’s competition is with himself.

    What we never read here is Steve coming up with an after the fact excuse about his performance that somehow diminishes the winner’s achievement. By contrast, for years, I was disgusted by the Williams sisters in tennis because EVERY time they lost, it was because of some injury. Champions like Steve know how to win AND lose (and live) with grace.

  9. Bernd Faust

    Steve you are getting older by the second, which means you age 86400 seconds a day. At our age , me myself also 53, everything takes more time these days..recovery, healing, preparing, planning, execution, etc.. More time to chill and relax is required and no long lasting complaining. If you don’t feel right, all you say is I feel like shit, end of story, no need for more explanations. Everybody 53 and older knows what that means and everybody younger than 53 don’t want to know.
    Life is to short to drink cheap beer. Na dann mal ein Prosit der Gemuetlichkeit und eins, zwei, drei Gsuffa…

  10. scott

    several years ago, in my early 60’s, i got shingles – it really sucked, although i continued to ride and race after taking a couple days off. what i realized in retrospect was that i had run myself into the ground and totally compromised my immune system. what’s more, i finally realized i was no longer able to train 20+ hours a week and remain healthy. facing aging doesn’t have to be that scary and the reality is that my performance hasn’t been affected by reducing my riding to 12 hours a week. there’s no escaping it!

  11. H Luce

    Steve, I could always arrange to come over and let the air out of your tires on your van. Probably the last thing you need to do right now is to go outside and get freezing cold and wet. Keep driving yourself like this and your body *will* stop you – it’s trying to right now. Take the time to recover before you wind up in hospital…

  12. Ted


    I had shingles a few years ago on my left hip and glute. Mine was a mild case and I was able to keep riding through it. Some cases are more severe than others, so that may determine your ability to continue riding. The poster above is correct that you can only get shingles if you had chicken pox previously. At your age you can probably also get the shingles vaccine once this clears up. Good luck and keep on keepin on.

  13. Mark Feher


    All season your body has been trying to tell you something. You should listen. Throttle back and recoup. Nothing aids recovery better than rest. Rest, get 100% healthy, and come out firing next season. You’ve got nothing to prove.

    Ignore the haters.

  14. Brian

    I had Shingles early in my 30s. Strange thing because they are lateral,only hitting one side of your body. Depending on the severity/location they can be nasty. I have heard of some getting them in the eye region and internally. Mine personal experience was overall crappy feeling with mild it mid grade headaches. The source of the actual shingle area looked like spider bites in fact that was why I went to the doctor. Anyways, that area would feel like someone was taking a hot needle to all the spots at once. Strange thing because even after they healed (about a month) I still had phantom pains in that region.

  15. Denny Thiel

    Chicken Pox Virus + Stress are precursors to Shingles. I think I was 53 when I got singles. I’d not taken the Dr’s advice and continued to do carpentry instead of getting my shoulder fixed. It hurt like hell. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t do things with out pain, but I tried to be tough and work through it.
    I was trying to finish a bath remodel before the Holidays and started having a terrible pain (itching, burning, cramping) in just one side of my back. It was diagnosed as Shingles. Meds helped the symptoms but years later that spot is still sensitive, especially when stressed or doing something like mowing my yard.
    Later that year I broke my collar bone and after my it healed I consented to the full open surgery to have my shoulder repaired . My Physical Therapist advised that at my age if I continued doing the same things that had led to where I had gotten myself there was a good chance it would happen again. That’s why I’m back in the bike shop.
    I think that all the things that you have experienced are related. You’ll figure out what’s best for you.
    Be the “Old Bull” fuck ’em all.

  16. Gary

    You are not immune to Shingles if you have had chicken pox. I know this for sure, I had chicken pox twice as a child and then Shingles when I was in my mid 20’s. My doctor said that Shingles usually doesn’t occur until later in your life. Shingles and Chicken Pox are related, and believe me Shingles was very very painful. It makes your feel feverishly and achy, with me it was a dull back and abdomen pain. I’m sure I could have ridden my bike at the time but I sure didn’t feel like it. Like anything symptoms will effect everyone differently, and before anyone claims you can’t have chicken pox more than once go do some research before commenting. It does happen on rare occasions and it depends on how severe you had it the first time.

  17. The Cyclist

    Yes there is. Doctors should prescribe EPO to old cyclists. To level out that playing field… and to make aging more enjoyable, or simply bearable.

  18. Ken

    Mike Crum,

    You’re kind of a douche, and I’m amused at how you breathlessly read the man’s blog and so you can then breathlessly complain about what he writes. You don’t like, don’t read! Free country, Baby!
    I find what he writes interesting, because I presume success in a sport like cycling constantly involves balancing when to push hard and when to back off, and what you can do given limitations and physical challenges, and what you can’t. In my own (very) modest cycling experiences, I’ve tried to gauge one against the other. Every pro athlete certainly does – Peyton Manning comes immediately to mind, dealing with career-threatening neck surgery and this week against the Chiefs he’s running on two ankles that barely work. In your cartoonish version of the world, all pro cyclists roll up to the line feeling 100% and guys with busted shoulders, hands and legs are just making excuses. At least Steve is laying it out there. Look at the famous picture of Fiorenzi Magni, with his separated shoulder, riding with an inner tube clenched between his teeth to be able to pull on the climbs (link below). Big, tough Mike Crum would say, “That guy’s making excuses!”
    By the way: You really come across as a douche.

    Love and kisses,

  19. MV

    Really enjoy your blog.
    I agree withe several posters above:
    Stress is THE major killer of our immune system.
    Rest up and train the rest of the year.
    Win masters nats in january (because you can) and be healthy next year.

  20. Hogie

    Looking forward to your next post,.. But whatever you do, don’t forget to save a little for the Fatbike Birkie.

  21. Tad Cheswick

    ” Rest up and train the rest of the year.”

    There is a difference between resting and training, you know. But Steve doesn’t!

  22. old and slow

    What he said- I’m 56 and Steve sure dusted me a few times back in the day.

    If there is anything good about it’s that when you hit a patch of good fitness you REALLY appreciate it-so much that you don’t even want to talk about it.

    16 Months ago my flimsier knee was so bad from a track skiing mishap that I thought it was all over. I rode back and front of my house in a gorgeous early spring day unable to get that leg up over 12:00 noon. For an hour and fifteen minutes and I never could. I didn’t think that there was one chance in ten thousand that I would end up where I am right now.

    If I could have made it around the block a few times I could have been able to convince myself that this was progress but I never came close to clipping in. That had never happened before I had never gotten all dressed up, and not able to get out of sight of my house. I had been doing ice and heat nearly mainlining glucosomine for six weeks but it sure wasn’t working. People at work were talking about imminent knee replacement based on what they had been seeing.

    Finally I moved the seat up and back, tried again a few weeks later and I could start riding 5-10 miles. Knee surgery averted.

    Make a long story short 2013 was my best year on a bike since Clinton was in the White House. Got on top of an endocrine issue, lost a lot of weight, went over passes that I had stopped even considering long ago. Rode all these Front Range canyons on weekdays once more; some right before they got erased.

    I hadn’t been through Glen Haven in sixteen years at least but after the US Pro Challenge romped up there in the middle of the big ring I caught the same monster tailwind three days later. Sure glad I did that now. Came back down the Big Thompson of course, first time over all the new wide bridges in the upper part on a bike, (may they rest in peace.)

    By the time the floods came I was just plain tired of riding but not all that tired FROM riding any more and it had sure been a long time since I felt that way. From mid May onwards I rode as much as my elbows and wrists were going to let me but never much less than 175 Miles a week.

    I think I’ve only been this good physically one other time since I was 42-44? Like I said, feeling so good for an old man that you’re scared to even talk about it…..

    We do bounce back Steve, it just takes that much longer. Reading this blog all this year reminded me of the first part of last year for me.

  23. Ken

    Shingles, at least the blistering part of it, should go away in 1-2 weeks, but if you have lymph node enlargement as bad as you describe I would encourage you to get lots of sleep, do tai chi, maybe yoga, make sure you are eating yogurt, lots of fruits and vegetables, a digestive enzyme supplement, drink lemon-ginger tea (I prefer Stash brand) and don’t go driving all over. Continued stressful living, which would include driving to Iowa and standing around in the cold and/or racing in the cold, is just going to prolong things. I don’t know that it would necessarily increase your risk for post-herpetic neuralgia (chronic nerve pain associated with the sites of blistering), but it’s not going to help. Two weeks of taking care of yourself and you should hopefully be back to normal.

  24. That Kind of Biker

    You come on Steve’s blog and bully him because he tells how he is feeling? Sure it has been a season of this hurts and that hurts and I don’t feel 20 anymore, but did you ever stop to think that some people find this encouraging? Steve may sound negative about his fitness, form, or results at times, but every time he gets knocked down he brushes himself off and gets back on the bike, sometimes quite literally. As someone that would love to have Steve’s results, sometimes even while injured, I find his ability to perform while feeling off and perseverance to finish well to be positive. So Mr. Crum I have to ask, what have you done lately?

  25. Blake Barrilleaux

    Actually, resting is part of training which I feel takes the most discipline, not busting out another crusher workout or race. On a related note I also always assumed in interval training that the rest was the interval, not the work. Steve is getting injured and sick because he won’t back off. He’s just too effing tough for his own good. I’ll keep an eye out for you near the beach again, Steve.
    Lifeguard Blake

  26. Brian Murphy

    You can’t get shingles without having had chicken pox. It is the same virus. Usually senior citizens get it. There is a vaccine.

  27. pjt

    Steve, Really sorry to hear the news. My late father-in-law had shingles, a lot of pain and serious stuff medically speaking. Hope you recovery and are back racing again soon. Mike Crum’s comments rate at best “in poor form” and at worst insulting. But I wish you had posed your response with out the putdowns. You have to be like a duck’s back and let people like that roll off yours. Or like Abe Lincoln, put the letter in the drawer and wait a day to decide to send it or not. One of the posters mentioned being 53, I’m 64 and still trying to be a serious road racer, as in a two feet on the ground racer. I also do plenty of cycling as cross training. Wait until you hit my age, post races, or hard track workouts, I feel like I’ve been in a car wreck for days, and that’s without injuring anything. I must unfortunately report that the injury bug visits more often in my age group. Best to you and as R. Crumb once inked “Keep on Truckin”.

  28. MM1

    In his first book Seb Coe described how he struggled for form in the run up to the 1980 Olympics, which was also his final year at University (College). As soon as his degree finals were over, his form arrived. We only has so much energy to cope with stress, which includes training. Steve, just rest a bit and try to de-stress and de-clutter your life.

    I am currently facing up to redundancy, as well as a break up (I am trying to get my children and myself away from their Mother after having to deal with her alcoholism for 10 years), not surprisingly I have been sick, on and off, for most of this season (no shingles, but a massive cold sore for the last 2 weeks, which is always a sure sign of stress). I know that things will be fine next year, when the current mess is just a memory.

  29. Jan

    Feel better!

    I’ve heard that shingles can be really bad news. So do take care of yourself.

    That said, as someone also in her 50s, I admire what you do on the bike and all, and really enjoy reading about what it takes to be a real athlete.

  30. Brad Carvey

    I had Shingles 3 years ago at age 59. I had a semi serious case on the right side of my head. It was horrible. It was much worse then having the flu and it lasted much longer. I had about a month of agony and 6 months or problems. I know one person that was miserable for a year. The doctors were worried about me losing sight in my right eye. Shingles can be really serious.

    Take it easy and wait to see how bad it is. If you feel better in a week, then you probably have a minor case.

    Brad Carvey


Comments are closed.