Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Commute To Work - Recovery Pace

After yesterday's blistering pace to Deale and back my legs felt heavy and sore this morning. It would have been easy to bag it. But I'd already made a date to meet Chris for the ride in. I'm glad I did. No rabbit pace today, just a nice recovery ride and I definitely feel better.

By day's end the decision to ride this morning was definitely the right one. The legs felt fine. I still didn't try to hammer home and probably won't at all this week with a 200K permanent planned for Sunday.

The afternoon forecast was threatening but the storms came and went by 4:30. When I got on the bike after 6 the sun was out, the humidity was up and the pavement was dry where it got direct sunlight.

Popped a spoke on the rear wheel somewhere on the ride. Crap now that's one more thing to worry about before the 200K on Sunday.

Here's the afternoon track.


  1. Do you take any supplements etc to help your body recover after a big ride?

  2. Toby -

    I don't take any special supplements but I do try to have a light post ride meal in the first hour after it wraps up. A mix of protein and carbohydrates, plus some fresh fruit. Fluids and re-hydrating usually takes longer than an hour. I keep drinking (regular sips, avoid rapid guzzling) until I have to relieve myself once or twice and pass clear or nearly clear fluid. If you pass dark yellow urine it's a sign you're dehydrated and should keep drinking.


  3. If I can dive in here chaps, I wouldn't get too wound up over supplements and stuff like that.

    The conditioning coaches at my rugby club spend a lot of time concentrating on recovery for our athletes. (These are professional players by the way.)

    They say 95% of recovery is dependant on keeping hydrated and getting good quality sleep. The other 5% is made up of a recovery session (spinning a gentle jog or stretching, massage or ice baths) and a tiny part is made up of nutrient supplements. They emphasise the supplements are a only used as being pro's they'll take the small percentage gain but it ain't necessary for amateur players.

    I guess the same applies to amateur cyclists.

  4. Clive -

    I'd not seen it presented so precisely but that advice is certainly consistent with my experience.

    One difference to consider for a cyclist on long rides is the duration of the physical activity can be quite a bit longer than a rugby match or soccer game. If you pedal 100+ miles and are pushing yourself for 7 or 8 or more hours, the effort to keep hydrated and to keep your body fed during the exercise period requires some planning and attention.

    But it's not rocket science. I make sure to start the ride well hydrated by drinking plenty of water the night before and again first thing in the morning before setting out. During the ride I find about 20 oz of water per hour, a little more in hot weather, and 300 - 400 calories of food intake per hour work well for me. You can't wait to the end of the event to fuel up, you have to stay hydrated and fed throughout.

    But the food itself needn't be anything special: granola bars, peanut butter crackers, fresh bananas, and Fig Newton cookies are my favorites. Hammer gel packs are light weight and convenient, and are absorbed quickly so I carry a few in case I feel fatigued but I don't think they offer anything you can't get in other foods.

  5. Mike, thanks for the comments on my blog. Here's what I wrote in response to your June 1 entry:

    "Thanks, Mike. It's mentally challenging, but shouldn't be. If it hurts, don't do it, right?

    But, there's a BBC "rando ramble" coming up on the 6th of this month (Sunday) that I don't want to miss and I'm still commuting every day to and from work--trying to take it easy.

    I'll just have to make sure that I'm topping off (hydration), use electrolyte tabs, and good body monitoring.

    Thanks again."

    What I didn't mention in any of my blog entries, yet, is that I'm experimenting with a cooling vest. It seems to work well (when I stop moving) at getting my temperature down, but not quite as effective when I'm riding. It uses evaporative cooling, as you may have guessed, so the water weight in this thing can be as much as about 10 pounds of dead weight. Fortunately, loaded to about 4 pounds should get me through an 8 hour period. Jury is still out on it. I'll try it again during this weekend's BBC "rando ramble".

    Take care.


  6. Isaias -

    It sounds like you're focused on the right details. Did you see the article in the June issue of Bicycling magazine about Lance Armstrong's new chief scientist?

    Apparently he has Team Lance doing all kinds of experiments with core body temperature regulation. If I understand it correctly, his theory is that blood flow devoted to heat transfer from core to skin is blood flow lost for transporting oxygen and nutrients to the leg muscles and thus a potential performance impact. So any thing the rider can do to help with temp regulation potentially frees up capacity to send more O2 to the legs. I'm sure they've advanced the idea further than they let on in the article, but it's worth the read.

    I'll also be interested to hear/read more about your experience with it.

    See ya on the trail.