Dead Legs - Need Advice! Sickness, bike problems, something else?

Hi everyone!

Trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. I have a severe case of dead legs and trying to figure out how to get going again and I’m really perplexed and frustrated, maybe someone can point something out to me I’m missing.

Quick background:

  • Been riding on the trainer 3-5 days a week January - March
  • Once the weather started to break in March, I started doing 2 trainer rides and 2 mountain bike rides a week, give or take a ride.
  • Once it got even nicer outside I started riding a lot more, any combination each week of trainer rides, mountain bike rides, and road rides. Probably 4-7 rides a week. I felt GREAT, best I’ve felt on the bike in a long time and my numbers were going up and I was really ENJOYING any ride I was on, even if it was beating myself up for two hours on the trainer. Did my first century on a mountain bike and was adding lots of elevation to my rides.

My riding remained constant and enjoyable into mid May. I went on a backpacking trip for a week to Utah. Did some snowshoeing up a mountain and then the standard hiking around + rock climbing the rest of my trip. I suffered no injuries and felt really good fitness-wise while I was out there.

On my last day in Utah (May 22nd), I got a sinus infection. Trouble breathing, coughing, lots of sinus drainage and pressure, etc. Took my medicine and rested when I got home. Started missing the bike so I went on a road ride 5/26 and my legs just didn’t have it. I was having a hell of a time with my breathing / heart rate, but that was to be expected. But my legs…seriously felt like I hadn’t ridden in a year. They just felt super heavy and I had no snap of power if I tried to sprint, and climbs were a slog in granny gear. I decided to take a week off and get rid of the sinus infection and then get back to the bike.

Sinus infection was gone after that week and I was feeling really good. Got back on the road bike and once again, absolutely nothing in my legs. I’ve been on three outdoor rides since getting better and they were all bad. I was hating being on the bike, my legs could just barely push me. I tried doing some cardio / gym exercises (squats/leg press) to see if I could “unlock” my legs but I got nothing out of it. They didn’t feel terrible but wasn’t near any sort of peak performance. I went on a mountain bike ride Monday and didn’t feel too bad. Just jumped on the trainer now to see how my legs felt and tried doing my typical “active recovery ride” which is alternating between 10 minutes @ 170w and 5 minutes @ 125w for 1.5 hours. It was honestly a struggle to get through two 170w intervals, felt like I was riding through sand. Being that I wasn’t having any fun at all and felt terrible, I quit only 40 minutes into the ride and here I am now, typing this up.

Really trying to figure out what’s going on, or if anyone else has experienced this before that could give me some advice. Did this bad sinus infection literally suck the life out of me? Did me being off the bike for 3-4 days before vacation, not riding for a week, then not riding for another week kill my bike fitness?(keep in mind, I’ve take a week or two off before this year and when I got back on the bike each time I’ve felt rested and awesome). Is there something possibly wrong with my bike in some way (my MTB ride my legs felt better than my road bike / trainer rides)? Something else?

Notes about me:

  • 6foot, 165lbs, 28 years old
  • 225w ftp
  • typically ride 3-6 times a week
  • typically take fish oil, turmeric, and CBDdaily
  • I have arthritis in both of my knees but no significant pain recently
  • My diet has not changed at all in the past month

Thanks for any replies or advice!

When did you last take a proper rest. Like a whole week of relaxing?

You don’t go into nutrition, sleep, work, how life treats you etc. but first up I would say where is the rest and recovery time?


Did you happen to take antibiotics for the sinus infection?

Have you been tested for seasonal allergies? I take fluticasone (Flonase) daily during this time of year. Otherwise, I have sinus infections, sore throat, and feel weak and unmotivated when riding.

Admittedly I haven’t been doing much resting. I’ve been sleeping great, but fueling poorly. I did some more research and looked at my nutrition along with my symptoms and everything I’m feeling matched up perfectly with overtraining syndrome. I really think I wasn’t ready for such a heavy load and ran myself into the ground.

This link provided a lot of useful information:

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I did, amoxicillin.

Yeah I take a Zyrtec once a day for probably the past 15 years of life. Nothing really new there on the allergy front.

That could be it…your biome is out of whack. My legs feel dead every time I have to take antibiotics.

That’s very interesting. I just looked up some side effects of amoxicillin and a less common one is excessive fatigue / muscle soreness. It’s quite possible some overtraining / poor fueling + taking that medicine did me in.

How long till you get your legs back when this happens to you?

Its been awhile but I remember it slowly going away over 3-4 weeks.

Here is a good read on the cause…

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