Road to recovery

Photo: Perhaps not the best recovery ride. NLH stands for North London Hills.

“Why stand when you can sit, why sit when you can lie down” goes the elite athlete recovery mantra. I’d just add, “why just lie down when you can sleep at the same time”. I slept a lot this past week.

I cycled 600km without sleep a week ago. I have learnt a valuable lesson – that burning 14,000 – 15,000 calories in 29 hours has a major impact on the body. My scientist brother reminded me that unless I refuel the body will use up the glycogen quickly, then the fat, then start breaking down muscle fibre to provide fuel. I know I don’t eat enough on my long rides, but I just like to pedal and not eat when I’m in the saddle. I need to eat more.

I’ve been in calorie deficit all week, but back to normal now. I flew back to London on Wednesday and rode on Friday. I foolishly chose ICC’s NLH to do with a couple of buddies. David had completed the Tour of Crete two weeks prior, had recovered, so had good climbing legs. I didn’t. Dressed in his ToC stage winning yellow jersey, David zipped up the climbs whilst I crawled up them. He patiently waited for me at the top. Lunch at the top of Ally Pally made up for it.

The good news is that I was back to normal for yesterday’s club ride. I ended up leading a group and even dropped back a few times to help out a couple of riders whose legs were more tired than mine.

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 11.02.25

The big lesson for me is to plan out my big rides better and space them out to allow for full recovery… and to eat more on the bike. In the last seven weeks I have ridden a 300k night/day audax, the 300k London Revolution, three days climbing in the Italian Alps, and the 600k madness. Next year, in the run up to PBP, I am going to focus on audaxes nicely spaced out to allow for proper recovery, after all, I’ll be another year older by then.

Year to date

7,010km / 64 rides / 109.5 km average per ride

70,329m elevation gain (7.9 Everests)

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