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Recovery - What do you do to be able to ride day after day?

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Recovery - What do you do to be able to ride day after day?

Old 05-31-10, 10:38 PM
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BWF
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Recovery - What do you do to be able to ride day after day?

I'm hoping this thread will maybe reveal some helpful tips and tricks for all of us. We all know the body naturally recovers with rest and relaxation, but what do you do to help speed the process to allow you to keep touring day after day? A specific routine? A certain diet? Massage? Go to sleep early? Please share your tried and true recovery secrets.
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Old 05-31-10, 10:45 PM
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Old 05-31-10, 10:48 PM
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I think Endurox recovery drink helps, taken at the end of the day's ride. And since I mostly motel tour, I love a good soak in a warm bath.
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Old 05-31-10, 10:52 PM
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I always spend one to two hours stretching before I go to sleep. For obvious reasons I focus on the muscles from the hips down, but I usually get most major groups in. I also don't eat before heading out in the morning and usually only have a few sweet things like Luna bars before lunch. I just find that I can put in a lot of miles more comfortably when I ride on an empty stomach. I like to average 100-150 miles per day, so I really don't want to take time to cook and cleanup in the morning; I already enjoyed the campsite the night before and I want to be riding within an hour of sunrise.

By the way, the first ten miles of the day will always be less comfortable than the rest and day 4 is always the most painful, at least for me.
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Old 05-31-10, 10:56 PM
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I mostly ride a moderate pace, as opposed to my regular road riding at home, where I often ride hard enough that I can't ride hard again the next day. I take a day off every 7-10 days, or when needed. After a while, you'll know when you need a day off.

Really though, I think you just need to practice. You'll build up endurance (and lose speed).
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Old 05-31-10, 11:20 PM
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imi
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
I always spend one to two hours stretching before I go to sleep....
One to two hours is a long time to stretch (professional athlete level). Ten to fifteen minutes stretching the major leg muscles in the evening (or in the middle of the day as well) will make a huge difference in muscle recovery

Nutritious food and a long sleep (when touring I find 9-10 hours optimal) are most important. A beer or glass of wine may help muscles relax, but this may be weighed up by the dehydrating effects of alcohol imo
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Old 05-31-10, 11:22 PM
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I eat but don't stuff myself, usually involving dairy and carbs, and make sure I sleep well. That's all.
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Old 06-01-10, 02:43 AM
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simply do nothing - I doubt many people that cycle huge distances do things like stretching (which I think is completely unnecessary in any case)
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Old 06-01-10, 03:08 AM
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I never used to stretch, but I think I'm going to give it a try this year's tour. It will be interesting to see if it works.
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Old 06-01-10, 05:11 AM
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Professional bike racers ride tons of mileage. Take some tips from them: Eat a lot, rest a lot, stretch a lot.

A daily massage would be nice on tour, but unless you can bring along your own massage therapist it would be tough to do.
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Old 06-01-10, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by BWF View Post
I'm hoping this thread will maybe reveal some helpful tips and tricks for all of us. We all know the body naturally recovers with rest and relaxation, but what do you do to help speed the process to allow you to keep touring day after day?
Before the tour ...... I build up so that I'm used to riding day after day. Before all my tours, I had been riding 5-6 days (and sometimes 7) days a week. During the week I either commuted or rode after work or both, and I rode anywhere from about 20 km to 80 km a day. Then on the weekend, I rode long distances ... brevets, centuries, double centuries, back-to-back centuries, etc.

When you've been riding like that for at least 4 months over the summer makes a 1-month tour seem like simply a continuation of the usual.
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Old 06-01-10, 08:38 AM
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I don't do anything special. I just do everything with an unhurried pace, from riding to cooking to packing up in the morning. I go to bed early and read myself to sleep. Some nights I'm asleep by 8:30; some nights I can't sleep and stay awake. I don't worry either way.

I start my tour with easy days - 25-30 miles. After a few of these I settle into a 50 mile a day average with occasional longer rides thrown in. However, if I ride an 80 mile day on Tuesday, I look for a 35 mile leg on Wednesday. I take lots of breaks off the bike during the day's ride (that helps a lot - especially my rear end.) I take rest days whenever I feel like it - which usually isn't too often, but knowing I can without any worries is comforting. I avoid having any rigid itinerary - "I have to make it to Missoula by next Tuesday!!!!!" Not for me.

I think my overriding strategy (and what makes bike touring so great for me) is to take it easy and not worry. I take each day anew and meet the needs I'm feeling. If I need to rest, I rest. If I need a short day, I do it. If I feel good and want to go a long way, I do.

Of course, I always worry about something, especially during the first few days. "Will there be bears? What if the campground is full? What if there are no grocery stores between here and there? What if break a spoke?" After a few days these seem to subside (except the bear thing if I'm in bear country - especially grizzly country. Brrrrrrr!!!!)
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Old 06-01-10, 09:20 AM
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Most of my tours are 2-4 weeks and average 75-85 miles a day for the trip. Some days I will go well over 100, others only 50-60. I usually carry approx. forty lbs. or extra gear. I find that easy stretching before and after each day, eating a good, healthy, balanced diet, drinking frequently, and using the gears rather than pushing too hard, does it for me, and I'm pretty old. Although I don't like to use "over the counter" drugs, my Doctor, an avid cyclist, advises me to take an anti-inflamatory such as "Ibuprofen" at the first sign of knee or achillies swelling.
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Old 06-01-10, 09:33 AM
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Nothing special here, other than riding at a moderate pace and not pushing myself to extremes day after day. I find if I get on the road early that I've got plenty of hours of daylight and can stop mid-afternoon and get to sleep early. I can keep that rhythm up repeatedly without taking extra rest days. Occasionally, I'll have an extra tough day due to winds or not finding that place to stay until late in the day. However, I also try to avoid repeating that too many days in a row.

I've also found it takes just a little more to recover than it did twenty-five years ago. I was in college then and thought nothing of getting up at first light, cycling until early evening and repeating this a week or more. The biggest difference between then and now, is that I'll be stopping earlier in the day.
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Old 06-01-10, 09:41 AM
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Chocolate milk shakes.
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Old 06-01-10, 11:48 AM
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On my last tour, I discovered the "frappe", which is more or less what the Boston area calls a malted milkshake. Yummy!
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Old 06-02-10, 08:48 PM
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+1 for stretching.

Minor stress injuries are very very bad. So if you feel any joint or tendon pain at all, put a coldpack on it at least once a day. (in the Rockies, this may simply mean taking a 20-minute break near a mountain stream) Ibuprofen is your friend. There's an herb out there called Arnica that is made into a gel, which works well when applied topically near inflamed tendons, ligaments, etc.

The other thing that will make your life hell on a tour is saddle sores. I have heard about a million different remedies and preventative measures for these, but the best advice in my experience is basic cleanliness. If you don't have access to a shower, at least clean your butt with a baby wipe at the end of each day.
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Old 06-02-10, 08:53 PM
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Centrum Silver. I don't tour, but my commute is 34 miles round trip, day after day, with a 9-hour pause in the middle.
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Old 06-02-10, 11:05 PM
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A good dose of protein within 45min of stopping. Usually a scoop of vanilla protein powder dissolved in milk. If that's not available then 16oz of chocolate milk. And as mentioned, good prep work (foundation), a good night's sleep, and some stretching.
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Old 06-03-10, 05:45 PM
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+1 gorshkov for the advice on cleanliness. I carry a packet of wet wipes for use after any 'sit-down' visit to the facilities/bushes for just that reason. So far, I have not had any butt-related problems since using them.
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Old 06-03-10, 10:51 PM
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If possible I generally try and get my miles out of the way early in the day and then have the rest of the day to throw my feet up, stretch, down some carbs and fluids and just enjoy relaxing.
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Old 06-07-10, 05:12 PM
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When I've got miles to cover in hot areas, I ride at night to avoid heat stress. I drink mass water and replace electrolytes with every fourth bottle. A simple mix of Norton's Lite Salt in Tang works well. I eat about four parts carbohydrates for one part protein with an emphasis on fresh fruits & veggies, nuts, sprouts, mushrooms, and live cultures like miso, tempeh, kim chi & kombucha, when I can find them.

I share my tent with a masseuse and we help each other to stretch those overworked muscles. It's crucial to have everything on the bike properly adjusted. A good saddle is worth its weight in gold. On long tours we average 80 miles/day and ride five for each rest day. At 54 years old, I'm about as healthy as I've ever been.
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Old 06-07-10, 08:48 PM
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The biggest thing is to plan reasonable distances per day. Learn your limits on shorter tours and rides around home.
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Old 06-07-10, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Vernon Huffman View Post
...I share my tent with a masseuse....

Officially jealous.
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Old 06-07-10, 09:40 PM
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Hmm, by far the biggest thing for me is just drinking plenty of water, especially in the evening. Would love to see some science on stretching - I can rarely be bothered.
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