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When I got home yesterday I was faced with a choice… After riding 100 miles Sunday I could A) Take a day off and relax or B) Go out for a nice little 16 mile recovery ride. It was not an easy decision. I’m nowhere near as debilitated as I was after my century two weeks ago. I drank a lot more Gatorade on the ride and ate salty snacks at the rest stops to hopefully avoid the cramping (and having to eat another McDonald’s double Quarter Pounder). Sure enough, I didn’t have any cramping whatsoever but I was a little sore yestday. On the other hand, it was a beautiful day – and the rest of the week is supposed to be stellar as well – and I won’t pass up a beautiful day on the bike unless I’ve got a cast on some broken appendage.
I decided to go out for a recovery ride to see if I could loosen up my legs. My goal was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:30 minute miles but I figured I’d end up a lot faster than that. Oh how mistaken I was. I thought about turning around and heading home three times in the first two miles. My legs were hit! To make matters worse, it was a touch breezy out so I felt like I was dead into the wind – until I turned west and actually headed into the wind… Ugh! I ended up sticking with it but I’m telling you, I worked my butt off to keep my speed up at 17.5 mph. I fought through the desire to call it an afternoon and turn around till I hit the 8 mile mark. At that point it was just as much a struggle to get home… And I felt like I fought the wind no matter which direction I was headed.
Turning onto my road, less than a mile to get home, I was cursing myself for having gone out. I kept my speed steady and my legs spinning at about 100-110 rpm… When I pulled in and got off the bike…
I felt great! Sure I whined to Mrs. BgddyJim for a minute about how crappy I felt, but my legs were a lot looser for the effort. I didn’t do much for the rest of the evening and I ended up falling asleep watching Monday Night Football at somewhere near 9. I slept like a rock to wake up this morning refreshed, alive and ready to go! That recovery ride, as sucky as it was, was the best thing that I could have done. I’m sure I won’t be tearing it up this evening but you can bet I’ll be going back out.
Three cheers for active recovery! Hoorah, hoorah, hoorah!
Never would have guessed that I’d feel this good so soon, but it’s gotta be possible. If the guys racing in the Tour can do it, we oughta be able to a much lesser extent, no?
You know what they say…
The Blues Brothers, the greatest musical ever made.
UPDATE: this evening’s ride was marginally better, 18.5 mph average, but I really had to work to get moving for the first half. I felt like everything loosened up for the second half and I got up to normal speeds in the last four miles. Even so, I’ll have to evaluate everything again tomorrow as I go.
For my interesting search topics this week I found a couple of winners… First was, “Cycle with a fresh tattoo”.
I will not give actual medical advice on this blog for one reason, and one reason only: There is an @$$hole out there who will get sick, some damned fluke, probably on a medication that weakens the immune system, and then sue me because he got a tattoo, went for a ride and got sick and died. His wife and her attorney will attempt to take everything I own based on the fact that I said it was cool to cycle after you get a tattoo. Much like the bereaved wife who sues a charity that puts on a marathon – hubby drops dead of a heart attack at the race and she sues as if they were somehow responsible.
While there may be a special place reserved in the seventh ring of hell for someone like that, my kids gotta eat in the meantime and someone roasting in hell with my money won’t feed them… So, that said, there are dangers in cycling with a fresh tattoo. You’ve got medicated goop on that tattoo to literally keep the wound from developing a scab. It’s an open wound. Scabs prevent germs, viruses and bacteria from entering a wound… The goop, I would presume, would provide some level of protection, but it may also act like a bacteria “glue” of sorts. I don’t know, I’m no doctor…
That said, I ran an Olympic Tri five days and twelve hours after getting a Tri tattoo against the strict advice of my tattoo artist. I also cycled and ran the day after (I waited for a rain day to get my tattoo). For the swim, I globbed on the A&D ointment before and called it good. Right or wrong I was fine and my tattoo survived in tact.
Now, and I reserve the right to be wrong here, I figure there’s a fudge factor in a tattoo artist’s two-week “no pools or lakes” recommendation because of the possibility of being sued. I assume that they have to double reality to avoid trouble. I may be wrong but that’s the way I see it so I took a chance. That said, I recommend using a hyperbaric chamber at a professional’s recommended length and living the rest of two weeks in a germ free bubble. Sorry folks, it’s a do as I say, not as I do world.
The second search was, “After completing a century”. After a century? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out… Take a nap you overachiever! Chances are, of course, that you’ll need to relax for a couple of hours afterwards, I don’t know, watch a baseball game, before you can actually fall asleep. After that, go to a tattoo parlor and get a tattoo commemorating the event – in a place that can be covered of course…then see the hyperbaric chamber/germ free bubble advice above.
Or was that how to recover after a century?… Oh! Sorry about the tattoo thing mom. I’ve done the recovery plan two ways. A day off followed by recovery ride(s) and I was a little tight afterwards. Of course, that one was a very intense ride – the first half was really fast. I’ve also tried recovery ride(s) the next day. I’ve found that a very easy recovery ride the next day, no time off, hurts a lot less. I can also say that I really wasn’t capable of anything more than a recovery ride – it was work just to get 16 miles in within 55 minutes and I spent a considerable amount of that 55 minutes questioning my judgement in not taking a day off. That said, however, I felt a lot better after the ride. So, unforeseeable factors aside, I’ll be sticking to getting back on the horse, no days off, in the future.