Cycling is a funny thing. While most people ride bike at an easy pace over short distances (5-10 miles taking 30 to 60 minutes), when you get into the faster speeds (call it 17 to 25 mph), it can hurt over a long four or five hour ride. While I do make light of yoga and stretching (I do neither), they do have their uses after Herculean efforts – even for a super-cyclist like me. After all, if you’re hurting you have to get ready for that next big ride. You don’t want to waste any time being sidelined – or worse, have trouble sleeping because you’re sore. I have regularly resorted to a few simple yoga poses to work the kinks out because we all know that yoga, or stretching, can make sleepy time just a little more enjoyable. Here are my suggestions [I use the actual Sanskrit names to show that I’m smarter than you]:
The Evenmytainthurtsasana: After a century, especially if you’re only doing one or two a year, you might find it hard to sleep because your hips hurt… lay in bed with one leg straight and the other rotated out and down so your legs and body make a goofy lowercase “h”. Your hips should feel better instantly.
The Myfrickinlowerbackiskillingmeasana: After a long day in the saddle, especially in the drops, it helps to stretch out that lower back a little bit. Simply lay in bed and fold your leg over your other leg so your foot is a few inches lower than the top of the bed. Switch sides of the bed and do the other leg.
The Cameltoeasana: Squat down so your butt almost touches the ground and wrap your arms around your knees (make sure they’re spread wide). This will help with the hips and the lower back.
The Lookatthosehootersasana: Cycling for all you’re worth isn’t easy. Spend a day on the hoods or in the drops and your neck can become quite stiff… Simply touch your chin to each shoulder to loosen things up a bit.
The LookmaI’mWileECoyoteasana: Part two of the shoulder stretches… Rotate your arms as Wile E Coyote does after running off the edge of a cliff, a second before he falls to the desert floor.
The Peeonmyownfaceasana or alternately for the guys, the Lightmyfartasana: The hips still bothering you? Don’t fret, happens to the best of us! Simply lay down on your back, spread your legs to shoulder width, bring your knees up to your chest, wrap your arms around them and hold that for a few seconds.
These are some of the best poses I know (or have made up, alternately). If they don’t shake out the cobwebs, take two pain relievers and follow that with a recovery ride in the morning. 16-20 miles at 2/3’s normal pace should do.
You’re welcome, in advance.
Two Ball Park Angus all beef dogs (on a footlong bun – WOOHOO!), a bit of mac-n-cheese, a Vlasic pickle spear and sweet corn on the cob (picked about 24 hours ago, from a local farm – thank God for sweet corn season!).
Over the next two weeks I decided to lose five pounds for DALMAC. Doing so will save me about fifteen bucks a week. Put into perspective, dropping a pound from my bike would cost another $4,000. Dropping five pounds from my bike simply couldn’t be done, at any price, without buying a new bike (call it $15,000 for a new Trek Emonda). I decided to embark on this little dietary journey after riding Mountain Mayhem. Those mountains were tough. After 290 miles in 3 days they’re gonna suck. If I drop five pounds they’ll suck a bit less, it’s that simple.
So as of this morning it will be smaller portions, no more sodas, no more deserts or fast food for a couple of weeks.
I’ve discussed this with my wife and received her blessing (with the caveat that if I take it too far and get too skinny, she gets to say something, though I have no idea why that would be a bad thing).
Interesting, folks, is that meal in the photograph… That’s a fairly big meal for me (when you add in the bacon ranch noodle salad, call it two full tablespoons). That’s a meal designed to maintain my weight in the midst of a 200-250 mile a week cycling lifestyle. My question is this: Does that really look like all that much?
Those legs need their proper fuel but there are some simple places to cut enough calories to let my long rides over the next few weeks work their magic. I am fortunate in that I’m a calories in/calories burned kind of guy. I don’t have to bother with carbs this and gluten that, I don’t have to resort to a beans, lettuce and twigs diet. As long as I’m sensible about how much I eat, I can lose or maintain my weight pretty easily (though I’m told those days are numbered – specifically about 1,795).
There are a few things that I do have to consider while I embark on this little task though. First, I don’t want to cut too much from my diet lest the weight that I do lose be in the form of muscle mass as that would defeat the purpose. Second, I can’t really cut carbs too much because I use them. Finally, timing is everything. When I choose to eat is just as important as how much. I want to eat right after a workout, especially a hard one like my Tuesday night ride. Doing this improves how I recoup after the effort.
Thankfully, other than that it’s not rocket science. Eat smart, ride hard, lose weight, climb faster… Now all I have to do is put some batteries in that scale of ours. Wait, I have to find the scale first…