As a lover of the outdoors, I’ve dabbled in a lot of various mountain activities (and always looking forward to adding more to the list). Not quite like Ron Burgundy dabbles with the “yazz” flute.
If you spend enough time doing a given sport, chances are that you really become in tune with your body. You have a baseline with how you normally feel during that activity, you know how it feels to feel strong and great, and unfortunately, you also know how it feels to be powerless and performing below your baseline.
Cycling is a sport such that when you get really fatigued, it can be the most miserable. It may seem that way to me because I race professionally and know my body for that given sport better than any other. Each pedal stroke to propel yourself forward can be intensely uncomfortable, you move slow, and it’s pure pain. There is a difference between that kind of pain versus the pain you feel in a race. I can’t put my finger on it other than you’re going so slow and your power to the pedals is highly degraded for the former.
It also seems that the exercise burn associated with riding hard on your bike is way worse than say, running. Running is a different type of pain – jarring and extremely cardiovascular. The pushing and pulling on the pedals of a bike seem so much worse. You can come to a complete stop. With running, you are slowed to a fast walk.
Bottom line: my observation is that when I ride my bike, I am way more sensitive to changes in my body (positive or negative) than any other sport. The cause is most likely due to the fact that I ride thousands of miles every year. When I’m having a bad day on my bike, going to yoga or going running makes me feel better because I don’t notice that I’m having a bad day quite as much simply due to the “pain” associated with each sport. I bet runners will get out on a bike and not notice they feel quite as bad as they do when they are having a bad day running.
What about all the other sports you do? Common analogies?