Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Pharyngitis from cycling? Possibly

Posted by Matt | July 16, 2009 | 9 comments so far

You probably noticed a bit of a hiatus round here. I had plans an’ all this week just, I never got the chance to put them into action.

This week (in fact, Monday, to be precise) was the anniversary of me breaking my collarbone. I was going to be all Woohoo! it wasn’t the disaster I thought it was at the time or least I was going to say it was a disaster but you can get over it given time.

But over the weekend I started to feel a bit rough. Having missed the Sunday ride, by Monday I was feeling bad. I’d gone to bed with a temperature on Sunday night and this reappeared Monday evening, by which time I was starting to think the S-word. Not Shimano or Specialized but Swine Flu. I also had a raging sore throat.

A trip to the docs on Tuesday morning revealed pharyngitis which I’ve never had before and is surprisingly painful. I’ve had fever, fatigue, lots of pain and I’ve spent most of Wednesday and Thursday either in bed or in a state of catatonia; basically the effects of strong painkillers and waiting for things to get better – not too different to last year after all then! Well, things do seem to be getting better but it’s been pretty slow progress even with antibiotics.

I’m looking round for culprits beyond the obvious sources and can only come up with two bike related issues.

First, I’ve been doing a lot of miles and have always claimed that four or more weeks for me of regular hard riding leads me to an inevitable head cold which fits in nicely. Second, Camelbak hoses and bladders. I’m pretty careful about rinsing mine out but confess I haven’t actually sterilised mine for a long time, if ever. I know I’m better than most, I’ve seen riders with dark black sections of something in those familiar translucent blue hoses but even so, could this have been the source of my infection?

When you think about the kind of crap we ride through, including God knows what kind of horse piss and animal faeces at times it does make you wonder. Next time I’m near Millets I’m getting some sterilising tabs just to be on the safe side!

I’m going to stay out of the game for the next few days, riding wise as I really have been knocked for six. But maybe it’s worth checking out the hygiene of your drinking equipment?


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 9 comments on ‘Pharyngitis from cycling? Possibly’

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  1. JR says:

    Hope you are feeling better soon, Matt.

  2. Dave says:

    Matt, I just use Miltons tablets or whatever the supermarket own brand one is but I usually do it every couple of months. When the tube is black though it’s a new bladder in my book. Keeping the bladder in the fridge also helps stop bacteria growth.

  3. Andy says:

    Milton tablets are the same thing, and cheaper (look in the baby care section of your local supermarket). After gathering a fair few bladders I eventually bought the brush for cleaning the tube and use that with Milton tablets to keep things fresh.

  4. Andy C says:

    Spit or swallow? As a regular user of a camelbak with black mould in an inaccessible corner that I can’t shift, and which tastes mildewy if I don’t spit out the first mouthful, I don’t reckon it does you any harm. I’d pin your affliction down to raising the mileage too quickly and shocking your system. Years back, when I would occasionally complete an extreme event (triathlon, mega-ride, etc.) without sufficient training, I would come down with a 24 hour virus about 24 hours after the event.

    Anyway, I keep hoping the black stuff will be like ergot, a sort of natural LSD. That would put a different perspective on the ride!

  5. ian c says:

    sorry to hear that matt – there are a lot of bugs going round at the moment

    (been off work ill myself this week)

    ……not being a fully fledged ‘moler,’ i don’t know who posts the upcoming

    rides when you’ve dropped off the radar – is it Dave?

    Would be good to know if anything is planned for this rainy Sunday?




  6. Toby says:

    I’ve swallowed a few black bits from my water bottles as well as see it in my bladder hose and don’t think it causes any problems. I use denture tablets to clean sometimes and use an old brake cable to pull through some tissue paper in the hose to get out the gunk which works well.

  7. Matt says:

    I have a Camelbak cleaning kit and do use that quite often (every couple of months or so) but haven’t done any sterilising.

    Personally, black bit in the tubes looks and sounds dodgy and I’d be quite ill I’m sure if I swallowed any. Is it because it’s ‘your’ Camelbak that it’s OK?!! How would you feel if it was some one elses?

    Andy, your comment is wrong on so many levels but the phrase

    Anyway, I keep hoping the black stuff will be like ergot, a sort of natural LSD

    just seems so ‘you’ the more I get to know you (don’t take that the wrong way!). I think it’s more likely to be ‘err-grot!’ though.

    Cheers, Matt (still planning on getting me some of those Milton tabs)

  8. Andy C says:

    Matt – Maybe the ergot is the cause of my erratic handling and the tendency to go kamikaze every now and again. Why else would an apparently sane middle-aged chap launch himself off the drop at Numbskull? One theory is that it was ergot (from damp flour used to make the bread) that accounts for the abandonment of the Marie Celeste as the crew jumped overboard on some sort of mass “bad trip”. As Hendrix might have said had he been an mtb’er, “Ride green, maaan”

  9. Paul says:

    Hi – happened to be pasing through via the Alfine review and saw this – I can sympathise as I seem to suffer a lot with sore throats after riding – I put it down to several things:

    Dust – you remember, the dry stuff you get in the summer!

    Swallowing winged protein pills – probably also linked to the dust – I have a bad tendency to breathe through my mouth rather than my nose which doesn’t help – that and being unfit!

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