Well, unfortunately my number came up on Saturday July 30th ( Happy 56th Birthday To Me!) and I woke up with a Whoop score of 9 percent that day. Usually I would need to train myself into the ground insanely hard to see those kinds of numbers, even riding 23 hours a week at altitude in CO didn’t affect the recovery score that much.I knew something was up and postponed my birthday ride, and then I got an email that someone I had seen the day before just tested positive. I immediately masked and isolated myself, and my family took off on our planned vacation a few days early without me 🙂

Whoop was fascinating to look at through all this, both my resting heart rate and Heart Rate Variability  clearly responded, with my resting HR  moving up 13 beats above normal( making it very hard to sleep, BTW) and my HRV dropping to 13( which is super low for me, HRV is very individual and the trend is more important than the individual number, but still) on the worst day. 

I had another red day on the 31st, mostly just feeling tired, then on the 1st I got a positive PCR test after testing negative on the home antigen tests since Saturday morning.

The Whoop numbers eventually went all the way to 1 percent for a all-time-low ,and then I’ve seen a slow climb back up.. I’ve even had a couple of green days which are by no means real, “green means go” days, I’m still symptomatic with a dry cough and somewhat tired.  I’m also still testing positive with  at- home antigen tests, keeping myself quarantined for the suggested time period.


Kudos to Whoop on such a cool device. Having a fairly reliable method or feedback loop and not just relying on how I feel kept me making good decisions, canceling my birthday party with my 81 year old mother-in-law, and not training in those first couple days where I easily could have written off the fatigue to stress and a busy week back in the studio.

I’m a pretty conservative coach when it comes to returning to full speed anyways, I have  a history of “training through” things early on in my racing career and ending up with some very hard to shake respiratory illnesses, so now I play it safe with the lungs in general.  There are also some aftereffects like myocarditis that I absolutely want to avoid, both in myself and with the athletes I coach. This isn’t just a COVID thing, I do this with athletes that have any type of respiratory illnesses or “sick from the neck down” ,and find that a few days of lost training is nothing compared to a complicated respiratory infection, antibiotics, and a real detraining effect.


I’m a fan of Return To Play protocols for a few things, especially head injuries and serious illnesses like this one. One should always expect a couple of setbacks with a protocol like this, they aren’t hard and fast deadlines, but a  well thought out framework is a great thing to rely on.I’ll be following the one below from the UK Institute Of Sport and continuing to work on home and bike projects as energy allows. Today I was able to do my shoulder/ elbow rehab designed by Run Resiliently and go for a walk with the dogs, so its not long before I’m back on two wheels in the hills.



Lastly- If you had a bike fitting appointment in the last  couple of weeks, thank you for your patience with the rescheduling. I’m excited to catch up with you soon!


Be Well,

Coach Johnny