I know there are people that ride every day- know that there are people that do one hard ride a week and people that never feel any effects in the body from any riding they do and never do any form of gentle exercise to work out the stresses and strains of the riding they are doing- BUT I am not one of those people.
I rarely ride on two consecutive days but do a recovery ride the next day after an exerting ride. Those that do the hard rides- or start to feel aches after a lesser one- are always telling us that a recovery ride where you cut the mileage- cut the effort and spin the legs a bit faster will get the body fit and raring to go for that next ride and assist in healing the body from the exertion you have just put it through. But how true is this?
I am not one for the scientific facts that are available as there will always be two contradictory versions-for and against. I rely on my own facts but also have to say that I do not have any conclusive evidence- for or against. Or never used to. Most of my riding at present is down the gym and I am putting in harder effort on the spinning bikes than I ever do on the bike but it is only for an hour at a time as opposed to the longer times out on the road. My stats at the gym have just started to get to something respectable and that has taken some training and some pushing the brain to allow me to work harder.Thursday and I had the best session I have ever had on stats and I was doing another session on Friday night. Friday night and although I was pushing and did well- there was something not right. Started as a bit of butt ache but it never developed. Still pulled the cadence and the high pressures I had got up to and by the end of the session I was shattered. Perhaps a bit more than usual but not much. Got off the bike and the legs ached a bit- did the stretching exercises afterwards and walked to the car. By the time I had got to the car I could barely walk. Got home and struggled up the stairs for a bath and I was in pain. The back of the thighs and I was beginning to think I had done some damage. Voltarol helped and I had a restless nights sleep and in the morning I could walk but with pain. There was no way I was getting on a bike to recover but plenty of walking round the garden and things eased off a bit.
Sunday morning and spinning again but I still had some stiffness in the thighs. So a recovery spinning ride. Cut out the high cadence- cut the high pressure and for an hour I sweated without feeling any strain on the legs or any part of me. Still got the stats reasonable or at least at a level I was at two weeks ago so it was a bit more than turning the legs. Stretching exercises after wards and had some stiffness in the thighs but no pain at all. Couple of hours later and I realised that not only were my legs in good shape- I did not have any lower back pain- and the resting of the eyelids that afternoon was not going to be necessary.
It is not often I push myself to the extent that I overextend myself- in fact the last time I did that was when I did the Marines physical induction over 45 years ago- but Friday night and I pushed myself too hard. Perhaps it was the two days consecutive that I rarely do that caused the problem. No recovery to ease out any problems that I may be having but I am now convinced that those recovery rides work.
So any of you that feel sore and stiff after the rides you do-Start thinking about recovering. A recovery ride in the accepted sense is a ride the next day with only a few miles necessary- far less speed- far less effort and the legs spinning a bit faster than you normally do. If you start to feel out of breath or feel you are pushing too hard then you are. It is a gentle ride to get the muscles working and moving to work the aches out of them.
Works for me.