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Dead Legs, Revisited…

August 2012

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.

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