We took some time off to tour the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia a little over a week ago. We had no idea what we were getting into. We knew there would be hills, but geez!!! We have only been cycling for about a year now, so we are still learning as we go along.
My leg muscles were so strained that they were swollen for days after the ride and they felt bruised as well. I have heard that there are some things that I should do after a strenuous ride (such as protein drinks) to help heal muscles. Is that true? Any other advice?
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
When I did my first tour a couple of years ago, I was stretching both before and after each day's ride. This is the best way I found to aid recovery. Another thing you need for a tour (even if this is a little late) is conditioning. Before the aforementioned tour, I did an overnighter during which I rode the fully-loaded touring bike up a mountain (and a pretty substantial one).
"I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
"We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers. My blog. My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.
Protein will help build your muscles back bigger and stronger after they have been torn down.I will let other address the swollen and bruised issues as that sounds beyond simple tearing down and rebuilding muscle but rest and nutrition are helpful after(and before) strenuous activity to avoid overexertion/overtraining .
After reading the post by Chris I second the stretching advice.On the 5th day of the Fl tour my legs were shot that morning (too stiff to move)and Mike suggested I do some stretches which at least got me going though I dragged behind somewhat all morning(I was a day ahead of then ridingwise as I had ridden an extra day down to Miami to join them).Surprisingly after a long midday rest I did very well in the afternoon(in spite of a strong headwind) while they dragged somewhat .The advice of improvement with training is also right on.I think I was hitting a wall as I had never ridden hard that many days in a row and I was pleased to overcome it.Look foward to reading about your tour .
Chris, as in all the things that went wrong for this 'tour', the biggest problem was probably that it had rained at home for almost two weeks and I was not properly trained for the trip... but the time was scheduled off from work and it was a now or never situation. We went to the Sunshine Coast... for Sunshine! It turned out to be liquid sunshine. We rode our bikes off the ferry and directly into VERY steep hills... they all went UP and we were forced into a situation where there was no warm up time. A nice LBS owner had stopped us to chat and we were trying to politely move on because it was getting dark. There are no street lights on those roads and we didn't have any lights on our bikes. You are right... next time I will have to make the time, even if it means stretching, then riding in circles in a parking lot before I meet the challenge.
RWTD, no doubt we made a lot of mistakes in this tour. The thing about the tearing down in my muscles in this situation was that I wasn't able to do much resting until we ended the tour. I was wrong in my perception of how steep those hills were going to be and it was too much for my experience and training. Overexertion was definitely the problem. I am thinking that I should keep a protein drink or something like that with me in case this should happen again... or something that would help get my muscles on the mend.
I am also guilty of trying to rush around and do more than I have trained to do because the outdoor season here is much too short!