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There is no such thing as tapering in cycling…

April 2015
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Now, typically, when we read something, we do so in a voice, our own.  Typically, it’s the same for everything we read, or close.  Not this post, if you please.  The next couple of paragraphs of this post should be read in the voice of Skipper.  Tom McGrath from the Penguins of Madagascar.  Oh yes…  If you are unaware of the Penguins of Madagascar, well…  My condolences.

http://youtu.be/PY1UJ9oPOmU

The first thing we have to get straight here, ladies and gentlemen, is that cycling is not running.  We don’t taper in cycling, because tapering’s for sissies.

Do they taper in the Giro d’Italia?  How about the Tour de France?  No they don’t.  

If the pros can do it, well so can we!
Private, get on that bike and ride that ride with a smile!

Okay, now you can go back to your normal voice.

One of the reasons cycling is one of, if not the best forms of aerobic exercise for weight loss is that it doesn’t require days off, or recovery days, like other activities.  In fact, most people can get by with just one day a week off the bike, even if they ride at high intensity levels.

I have come to enjoy mixing in three distinct levels of cycling throughout a week.  Two each of high, medium and light intensity rides and a day off.  While I could go with a more rigorous plan, and have in the past, two of each allows me to enjoy a nice spin with my wife twice a week.  These easier days have quickly become a favorite and necessity.  

For my first three years, I was on the gas three or four days a week.  I’d do one or two at a medium-high intensity and one recovery ride (easy pace).  During that third year, having blogged almost all of that time, I began growing envious of those who could ride in a manner that would allow them to take in the scenery, to enjoy the feel of the sun on their skin…  I was so busy with my head down, gritting my teeth to squeeze out every last bit of performance, that I never slowed to smell the roses, if you will.

One thing that has remained consistent throughout has been a problem with two days off though.  Every time I’ve taken more than one day off, I’ve found it more difficult than normal to get my legs spun back up.  Yesterday I went for a 16 mile ride in 25 mph sustained wind just so I could spin my legs up after two days off for rain because I’ve got a decent weekend planned.  With temps hitting 60 today and almost 70 tomorrow (and without rain in the forecast for the first time with decent temps), I’ve got some big miles planned.  

In other words, it has been my experience that too much time off is just as problematic as not enough so I take a day to spin my legs back up before my big rides.

Taper?  Gimme a recovery ride and we’ll call it good.  I’ll taper when I’m dead.

UPDATE:  just got back from a fantastic 50 miles on some roads that really reinforced my affinity for cycling in and around my home town.  They were horrendous.  On the bright side, it’s mostly sunny and 50!  I’ll be heading out again in a couple of hours with Mrs. Bgddy for somewhere between 16 & 20, and then we’re hitting a decent 30-40 tomorrow… And the temp is supposed to be almost 70!  Oh, it is about time!  Woohoo!

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9 Comments

  1. isaac976 says:

    havent been on the bike for the longest time, weather in SG is a killer .. I miss my bike..

  2. PedalWORKS says:

    Jim, I have nominated you for the Real Neat Blog Award. See my most recent post for details (https://pedalworks.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/real-neat-blog-award/).

  3. Sue Slaght says:

    I’ll taper when I am dead. Now that is a great line. 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      😁 Thanks Sue.

    • Sheree says:

      I love that line and it’s so true. Pros rarely have days off.

      • bgddyjim says:

        The thing that really changed how I looked at days off was last year during the Tour when they pointed out that most of the guys put in three hours on a trainer to keep the legs spinning on their rest days.

        I still take one day off every week or two, usually rain days, but I don’t worry about fitting them in as much.

        Thanks for adding depth to the perspective, Sheree. Much appreciated.

  4. bonnev659 says:

    if you training for an A race, I can see it but I always am on my bike.. even if it just spin 100 RPM in the small chainring in my street to wake up the legs.

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