Saturday, June 11, 2011

Understanding Rest and Recovery

For the past month I've been cycling about 120 miles per week, not counting transportation. And as someone who is completely new to the concept of "training" (i.e. cycling with the goal to become faster, better uphill, and so on) I've been struggling with how to structure my rides. Last year the very notion of structure would have seemed completely ridiculous: I would simply go off on my bike whenever I had the time. But last year I never cycled the way I do now, never exerted myself to such an extent repeatedly. Now everything is different, and I feel completely lost in this new territory.

One thing I've realised, is that if I do strenuous rides for more than two days in a row, on the third day my performance starts to get worse rather than better. Even if I don't think that I feel tired, it's as if my legs stop working properly. If you're an athlete, you are probably thinking "well, duh!" but to me this was a novel discovery. The idea of needing to rest and recover in order to improve did not have meaning until I physically experienced it.

What I am trying to figure out now is, what exactly does resting and recovering entail? Some advise that on days off, you absolutely must do "recovery rides" - 15-20 mile rides at an easy pace on fairly flat terrain - and that not doing them will result in stiff muscles and make it even more difficult to ride the next day. Others advise that on days off, you need to stay off the bicycle completely and just basically lounge around and eat so that your system can fully recover. Unless I am misinterpreting (which is entirely possible), these two points of view seem at odds with one another. So which is applicable under which circumstances?

Having tried both methods, I am still not sure which works better. I am also not sure whether transportation cycling (on an upright bike) is considered a type of recovery ride, or whether it's considered not cycling at all. Given that it activates a different set of muscles I suspect the latter, but I could be wrong. None of this stuff is intuitive for me, which makes it both frustrating and fascinating.

52 comments:

  1. How are you feeling? Are you straining anything that might need a rest? I would think regular transportation cycling should be considered 'rest' cycling. Another thing to remember is that you should take time off from cycling to walk-or walk a great deal on non heavy cycling days. Cycling develops specific leg muscles and too much changes the legs to the point that walking becomes a problem.

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  2. Yeah, I found with riding to work up those INSANE hills that I couldn't cycle two days in a row. If I tried, I would seriously just collapse. I ended up collapsing due to other thing (i.e. iron deficiency) eventually anyway, but it just didn't happen.

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  3. Heather - No, I just start to feel "beat up" for lack of better description. I agree about walking!

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  4. I do fast energetic rides several times a week (20-60 miles. with significant climbing). My own rule is to allow a recovery day after any of these fast longer rides. On the "rest" days, I stlll commute to work by bike, but at a slower pace and shorter distance (~4 to 6 miles total). Riding hard every other day has been good for fitness, weight control and training. Always following with a rest/recovery day has helped avoid overuse injuries or burnout feeling.

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  5. 120 miles! that is epic! I second Heather's comments and add that stretching is so important after every session, especially with a sport that works such specific muscles like cycling. something I learned the hard way.
    I do think once you get even stronger, recovery will require more discipline. Your better might not be screaming for rest after a while, and you need to consciously take breaks.

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  6. I know that "beat up" feeling. The older I get, the more often it comes! Anyway, I'd say just listen to your body. If you find that going without a recovery ride leaves your muscles stiff the next day, then do recovery rides. If you find lounging makes you feel better, then lounge. If it doesn't make a difference -- and it might not -- then it doesn't make a difference. We don't all need to have the same training regimen. I do agree with Heather, though: It's best to work some walking and other kinds of physical activities into your training. It helps to prevent repetitive use injuries. I don't think at 120 miles a week you need to worry too much about overdeveloping certain muscle groups, but I do remember seeing a photo of Rod Laver, the tennis great, at the height of his career. His left arm (his racquet arm) must have been twice the size of his right one. Not sure what he did about sleeves on his shirts!

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  7. I think that mostly riding on recovery days is good for me, I do recover faster, BUT, there does come a day here and there that I just know I need to do nothing. I am tanked and I have to stay off the bike. Often enough, around here, there are plenty of heavy rain days that force me into taking one, so I don't have to think about it. I think your body will tell you which days those are, so listen to it and you'll know. The rest of the time, the recovery ride will work best.

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  8. Yoga. Biking makes me super tight and ( transpo biking but still ) I need to do yoga every few days ( i'd love to do it daily I need to do it at home but never do...) and that helps a lot.

    but yeah- walking. Or perhaps you should take up swimming and running and get ready for a tri!!!

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  9. I believe, as in most things, the answer lies in moderation. You can kick it, in your jamies and toast watching old reruns occasionally. Other times you might try a light 'something else.' Other muscles, other systems, not necessarily complete passivity. How about Iyengar yoga...that's my fav. A good walk. Even, uh-hem, strength training. Ladies folks probably need to suppress the urge never to lift big and butch up, but they are figuring out it is a real good thing for long term hormonal balance, and bone strength.

    Look at you. Your arc is fascinating, and motivation, I may have to go on some club rides this summer.

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  10. For me, rest would be a day of not riding at all or light errands only. Keep the heart rate low. On heart rate, resting pulse, if you monitor it regularly and know your normal range, is a good indicator of when to take it easy. Mine always goes up when I've been working too hard or I'm not feeling well. Muscle / joint soreness is another good indicator of when it's time to back off a bit.

    As an older person, I have to allow more time for rest and build up the training regimen more gradually. Soreness and cramping occur more easily now than it did 15 - 20 years ago. But with gradual build up, it is still possible to maintain good condition. I have to act like a tortoise rather than a hare.

    Jan Heine posted an article (http://janheine.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/pbp-training-hill-intervals/) on intervals in his blog this week. He talks about the importance of rest days. It's worth a read if you haven't already seen it.

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  11. jat - 120 miles a week is pretty much what I did last year also, but the type of riding was different.

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  12. arevee - I've read JH's post, but the part about rest is vague:

    "The recovery part of the “rest and recovery” equation is easy: No training the next day. We may run errands on the bike, or just stay in the office and get some work done!"

    Okay, so for me "errands" can be a 20+ mile ride in itself. Plus I'd use a different type of bike to run errands than he does. Also he seems to be saying that either/or (recovery ride vs doing nothing) is fine, while others seem to insist that each choice has distinct effects.

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  13. may I second/third the yoga suggestion? It really helps me not get stiff and sore.
    I recommend 20 Minute Yoga Sessions that is available free off of ITunes podcasts. I really enjoy the 20 minute sessions because its long enough to really help, but I don't have to commit to a whole hour. I believe it even has a bike specific session, as well as a wide variety of sessions for different skill levels/moods.

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  14. I also agree with the yoga or walking suggestion. When I train for a marathon, I really do take the rest days serisouly and don't run on those at all. I feel like my legs need the break. But something like walking or yoga (stretching) is a good idea on those days as well. My vote would be not to try to do a 'recovery' ride, it seems counter to the idea of giving your muscles a day off to recover from the motion of pedaling.

    S.

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  15. You really have to figure it out on your own, as different bodies respond differently to different kinds of recovery at different times.

    It's a process: within half hour after a training ride stretch emphasizing below the waist stuff. Above the waist is good too. Eat something protein-rich, maybe with a little sugar, like a PB sandwich with honey, or drink a glass of chocolate milk. A protein powder helps. Sometimes a small bag of salty chips helps. Elevate legs. It's also easy to gain weight when training hard if you don't have good portion control, so don't eat everything in sight.

    Walking or a recovery ride can help, but there are times neither will so that's a couch day.

    If on a recovery ride try to pick a flat route and/or your lightest transpo bike. The upright posture of a transpo bike uses slightly different muscles, but you might be straining against a heavier weight, defeating the purpose. If not needing to do errands a dedicated ride on the fast bike and low gears is ideal to flush. And it's tough to spin a low gear on some transpo bikes.

    The couch with legs propped up w/laptop is a good recovery position. The old racer's saw is: don't stand if you can sit, don't sit if you can lie down.

    Your legs can become blocked if you do too little, extra fatigued if you do too much. Presumably you're varying intensity on different routes so how your body responds to being taxed in different ways figures in.

    In convo when a complicated answer is required often times the answerer has to pick an idea easily expressed. Their answers might differ if they were to write it.

    I forgot to mention: little ring and spin for 15-20 min. before a hard ride, then intense effort, then little ring and spin for the last whatever. Don't hammer all the way to the door.

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  16. "A bike racer should get out of bed in the morning and want to go ride his bike. If he doesn't want to get in the saddle he shouldn't; he should take a walk, get a haircut, see a movie." Jimmy Walthour was the first person to tell me that but I heard basically the same from Charlie Yaccino, Torchy Peden, Andy Hampsten.

    Most everybody who thinks they do scientific training is kidding themselves. They ride the bike a lot and they obsess. Since everybody reading this is a bicycle obsessive I won't say that's necessarily bad. What's bad is strict adherence to any program or regimen or schedule that leaves you tired or unenthused. If you ride out of obligation you are vulnerable to injuries to errors. Get physiologically "overtrained" and it will be months before riding is fun again.

    If the transportation riding is fun it's a perfect recovery ride. If there are big hills, and especially if the fiets has too big gears,it's a workout.

    You basically know what to do. Your body knows what to do. You are getting a little charged on endorphins and dopamine and while charged up listening to racers and the siren song of that Seven. If your body has a "slow down" signal strong enough to overcome all the new thrills you're discovering, best listen.

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  17. Recovery days should be an easy day of exercise, preferably in another mode like running, elliptical, swimming, etc. On the bike is okay once in a while, but generally you should be cross training instead. This will allow your muscles to recover without getting stiff or overly tired. You should have a full rest day - do no exercise - once a week.

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  18. Anon 1:08 - The issue is not that I want to do scientific training. But I am finding that I now really have to plan and think things through, especially if I schedule rides with other people. So for example, if I know I'm doing a strenuous ride with Mary on Wednesday, I shouldn't be doing hill intervals on Tuesday even if I have the energy and the free time to ride on that day. If I do, I'll end up not being up to par for the ride with Mary.

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  19. Velouria @1:59

    Well that's just it. You can only plan so far. And you don't know enough about how your body will process all these new inputs to plan much at all.

    First plan has to be listen to your body. You have no obligation to those hills, less obligation to those intervals and only a tiny obligation to Mary. If Mary has ever trained she will know what you mean if you say you're a bit tired today.

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  20. Heh. I guess there is just no such thing as standard advice here. I am mostly told that I *must* plan my rides if I want to improve, and even that advice is conflicting in terms of what kind of planning the person suggests.

    Naturally I don't really have an obligation to anything. But if we start with the premise that I want to improve - with the specific goal of, say, moving up to a faster paceline group within a few weeks and then taking part in this by the end of summer to see how badly I do - then it's worth thinking about how best to accomplish that. I cycled all of last summer with complete spontaneity, following what my body wanted and my schedule allowed, but I feel that kind of riding is not adequate for what I am trying to do now.

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  21. Be very careful with Yoga, V. It's wonderful, and I did it for years, but if you have nerve damage that begins in your neck/back, many yoga poses can make the pain and numbness worse. In fact, my neurologist told me "NO" yoga. He sees folks all the time who have made neck injuries worse through yoga, not better.

    That said, with the right yoga teacher, and a lot of private instruction, anyone could certainly find a way to do almost all the poses without possiblity of hurting oneself. I know I don't have the time/money for that, so I just stay away.

    Despite what yoga evengelists :) will tell you, it just isn't right for everyone in every circumstance. Given that you have nerve damage, I'd approach it slowly and cautiously, and see how I felt. And stay away from "hot" yoga, which encourages people who are not regular yoga participants to stretch way too hard, too fast (as well as dehydrating the heck out of you with no real benefit over a cooler studio, but that's just my rant). If you do yoga, start slow, static and easy. Probably you already know this, but just in case.

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  22. Listen to your body. I think that is the main thing. For me, recovery rides would be nice, but I don't have time to ride every day just for pleasure. (Even my hill intervals usually are combined with trips to the bank, the post office, etc...)

    So while it probably would not hurt to spin for an hour or two on "rest" days, the reality is that I have to get work done (the next Bicycle Quarterly has to go to the printer!). That means I don't ride at all. I found it doesn't make a noticeable difference.

    After "big" events like last weekend's 600 km brevet, I find that two days later, it's good to spin to get some of the fatigue/lactic acid/whatever out of the legs to speed the recovery...

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  23. The reason it's vague is that results come from different processes for different people. Any physical strength-building exercise is like that ... individual bodies respond differently to muscle stress, depending on your body type and how your muscles are designed. There's a certain degree of genetics involved in how (and how FAST) your muscles respond to intense effort. For some, it may be a single day each week of high-intensity work that yields the best increase in strength. For others, it might be three days ... or more. "Rest" is different, too. Some may need COMPLETE rest ... others may find better recovery through light effort that keeps the muscles moving.

    Sorry it isn't simpler ... it's just a part of your learning process. A good coach (recommended highly, if you have specific goals in mind) would first try several methods to find what brings the best response from your body, and THEN form a definitive plan for your training ... even then continually modifying as needed.

    For what it's worth, I would suggest making sure your "off-day" cycling, be it transpo or otherwise, a light enough effort that it feels like you've simply walked the same amount of time at a casual pace. In other words ... moving, not working. And, as others have already mentioned, how you and your body feels is your best guide. If you feel "beat up", that's a pretty good indication that your body is healing, and you need to take it easy that day.

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  24. One of my favorite cycling authors (Selene Yeager) calls it "Rest and Regeneration." Riding with intensity breaks your body down and rest rebuilds it. I have a hard time following technical structure and it's really up to the individual how structured they want their training to be. There are so many training plans out there. For me it's simple: onne day I will ride hard, one day I will ride easy and one day I will ride long. Because I have no structure, my rest days are days when I'm just too busy to ride. But, I guess what I'm trying to say, is if you really want to take it to the next level and "ramp up" your training intensity you need some kind of structure to make gains physically and mentally. A little cross-training thrown in the mix and rest periods thrown in will help. As a recreational runner and cyclist, I know when I've pushed myself too far, or overtrained; I become cranky. If you dislike following technical training plans then build your own "structured" plan to your liking. And change it up to either prevent boredom, or take you up another notch.

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  25. re yoga: I imagine you have already done some yoga, but in case you haven't here are my thoughts: For yoga with nerve damage my choice would be to head directly to an Iyengar teacher. Lucky for you, one of the best in the world is right in Cambridge -- Patricia Walden. I have also take a few workshops with Barbara Benagh, also based in Boston and she is an incredible teacher. I know she teaches in Somerville sometimes because one of my friends takes her class.

    FWIW, I also think diet makes a big difference. I had to eat a ton of protein back when I trained seriously or I'd get totally exhausted. But this is really variable and personal stuff, but I would look at your diet, particularly if you start getting very tired.

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  26. Velouria, I suggest you get a copy of Joe Friel's book "Cycling Past 50." It discusses principles of training, how to improve with time, and how to tailor your riding to achieve specific goals at a particular time in the season. I know the title makes it sound like it is for someone twenty years older than you. However, the book is actually just a user friendlier version of Friel's much more dense and complicated "Cyclist's Training Bible". The Bible seems targeted at serious racers. Cycling Past 50 distills the same training principles down for more casual cyclists, but assumes that the reader is seriously interested in stepping up their riding to begin participating in centuries, timed events, or races. I learned a lot from Friel's book that had nothing to do with being over 50. Take a look at the reader reviews at Amazon and see if this looks like something that fits your own growing interests.

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  27. I was quite dedicated to kundalini yoga in my early-mid 20s, and it had a very positive effect on my nervous system and my health in general. And I had the most wonderful teacher in the world, which I think is key to get the most out of yoga. Sadly, when I left the UK and my teacher, I was never able to find similar quality yoga instruction in the US. Any recommendations for a practice in the Boston are most welcome.

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  28. David K - for a second there I was going to say "Gee, thanks - I really look like I'm over 50??" But seriously, thanks - I've been looking for a good book.

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  29. The NEBC ITT series doesn't have to be a goal itself. Looks like they promote it as a learning metric to see how progression goes, as it should be. If you do one at the end of the year and the weather turns, you'd be wondering how much you have improved.

    Books can be helpful to get the lay of the land and I've heard good things about the Friel old folks book. The thing that books don't tell you is how hard to push yourself without a HR monitor.

    Mary - restricting hard efforts before riding with her is the right thing if she is stronger than you and is going to push it. If you're stronger then it can be seen as less beneficial.

    You can do a lot with the proper diet and the proper training plan, but these don't begin to tell you how much suffering you can endure.

    The Riv in paceline experience was probably a good benchmark for this. It doesn't get easier, but you can deal with it better.

    Riding above your level is the best way I know of digging out hidden reserves of strength. A strong Mary who knows how to kick your ass hard while keeping you on a tether is the best kind of trainer.

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  30. "If you do one at the end of the year and the weather turns, you'd be wondering how much you have improved. "

    I know, they were actually telling me to go do it right away. But I'm scared/ embarrassed : ) It's good to know though that there is a race I'd be comfortable doing. There is a non-aero category, and getting elbowed by other cyclists is a non-issue.

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  31. What's to be embarassed about? It's just you and the clock, you've got all the gear plus there are going to be slower people than you = nobody cares what your time is but you. As soon as you do one you'll want to do another immediately because of the mistakes you made the first time.

    It's $5! You're lucky.

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  32. I recommend A Women's Guide to Cycling, by Selene Yeager.

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  33. Recovery is as important as training. Stress and recovery. But, it's also a matter of time. When the body adapts to regularly riding 120 miles a week (over the years). You will feel less tired on third day.

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  34. This is a big problem with all athletes at all levels. There is much conflicting information as well and it is difficult to know what to believe.

    1) Regarding recovery itself, this is where one actually gets stronger. Harder efforts mean more and better recovery is necessary. Structure here is more important and usually people mess up when their easy rides aren't easy enough.
    2) Bad bike positioning can hinder recovery as well. Bikes are designed for the most part for young racers and when regular people like you and me get on them, some muscles overcompensate and some joints aren't happy. Big bike company marketing doesn't want you to care, but your body does. Eddy Merckx won 58 major races in a year and he did it by becoming an expert at bike positioning and he was an expert in recovery. Not only was he the fastest guy out there, he could recover and do it again.

    Eddy's position was known to be fast and efficient and modern bikes have gone very far away from it with the aggressive positions we have now. Recovery is much more difficult. Here is an article I wrote on big bike marketing: http://www.kgsbikes.com/news/who-decides-what-bike-you-want-or-would-cesaer-have-wanted-a-cervelo

    Since most of the people who make it into my studio have recovery problems, and I am 54 and am learning more about cycling as a more mature adult, I realize that two things are important; first learning what a good position is, and that may not be what the kid in the bike shop suggests, and second, to improve, make your hard days harder and your easy days easier!

    Velouria, you have improved greatly since I started reading your blog and you will continue to do so. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  35. I would suggest stretching on the days you have off training and also after each training ride. Make sure you stretch quads, hamstrings and calves and also the front of your calves. This will help prevent injuries as well as take away some of the soreness. I wouldn't advise yoga for the same reasons others on here have suggested and as it is a separate discipline in itself, it sounds like you want to concentrate on cycling. I also think the suggestion of doing a little for your upper body is a good one, in terms of some balance for your body, and it will help with your control of the bike too. If you are a swimmer, a bit of swimming would be good, or some light weights, just stick to a general strengthening program. But you are right in having rest days, they help with building up your fitness. Also, keep a journal so you can see your progress with times, that will help you to determine what works best for you. Great to see that cycling has taken on a new dimension for you!

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  36. Kevin's - Several retired racers now have told me similar - complaining that modern roadbike fit has gotten away from the ideal combo of comfort & performance, and citing Eddy Merckx. It's a topic I don't fully understand, but am trying to.

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  37. My personal best time trial was done as the first ride following a two week layoff due to a broken collarbone.
    Many riders have this experience. Absolute enforced rest makes you stronger, faster. Which is another way of saying very few of us get enough rest on an ongoing basis. And I am quite sure I would rather break another collarbone (which thankfully I have not for 15 years) than end up overtrained. The bones heal, recovering from overtraining is slow and difficult.
    If you want a training manual the standard is still the old C.O.N.I.-F.I.A.C manual titled simply "Cycling", often referred to as "the Cinelli book".
    Possibly the best feature of the manual is that very little in it will apply directly to the experience of a young blogger in 2011. Active intelligence is required to read this text.
    And the text is incurably, impossibly, madly romantic. Many passages, even in English trans., are verse. You must imagine yourself in a classroom in Roma, 1960, with a squadra of 18-19 year old aspirantes using this as a textbook. Most training manuals are forgettable, not this one.

    It's online of course but I would strongly recommend a dusty old letterpress copy. Harris would have had a stack of these on the counter at one time, they should have one left or at least direct you to a friend who's preserved one.

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  38. Get yourself a straightforward simple book on stretching and follow it. Stretch before and after a ride (even a short commute but no need to be extensive with the stretching). Then stretch really good for thirty minutes on your off days from cycling. Stretch in the am and pm with a simple five minute routine. You'll never have stiff muscles and you'll be vibrant and flexible your entire life :-)

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  39. "Eddy was...an expert in recovery"
    If you choose to look at a genetic gift as expertise.

    "Eddy's position was known to be fast and efficient and modern bikes have gone very far away from it with the aggressive positions we have now. Recovery is much more difficult."

    Spectacularly untrue.

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  40. "If you want a training manual the standard is still the old C.O.N.I.-F.I.A.C manual titled simply "Cycling", often referred to as "the Cinelli book"."

    Oh! Thanks, I need to look for this. Harris might indeed have it; sounds like something Jon Harris might have kept a copy of.

    GR Jim - Untrue in what way?

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  41. God, you're going to make me think while in a Pakistani Goat Curry coma...

    Eddy's position was fast and efficient - true.

    Position now is different but doesn't make recovery harder. Recovery from muscle fatigue is different from pain from poor position. Modern bikes don't give poor position. Rider puts himself in poor position due to pride or whatever. Mostly because he doesn't have the fitness, knowledge, experience, miles, dedication for conscious riding, self-critique, common sense or...I think I'll stop.

    Modern hoods allow for upstairs parking of hands for very long periods. Old stuff not so much.

    Basically, race bikes need to be as small as possible. A fast bike doesn't need to be.

    Ack, this is such a huge can of worms.

    If some Fred wants to pour his 46 inch waist into lycra and cram the whole thing onto a Colnago with 6 inches of drop and blame the bike I'm allowed to call him a tool.

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  42. "Modern hoods allow for upstairs parking of hands for very long periods. Old stuff not so much."

    This particular point makes me a little frustrated/angry.

    I first tried dropbars in spring 2009. On a vintage bike. I couldn't hold my hands on the drops because that was too scary. I couldn't hold my hands on the hoods, because there was no space there and no way to squeeze the brakes. I ended up holding the tops (MTB position, but with hands closer to the stem) and using the horrible "turkey levers." Not one of the bike people I told about my troubles at the time explained to me the difference between vintage and modern drop bars and brake levers. I was just told "well, keep practicing and you'll become comfortable." I didn't, and eventually gave up. Have heard the same story from, oh, dozens of women at this point, whose spouses are into C&V and gave them bikes with old school handlebars and non-aero levers to ride.

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  43. Y'all ain't talking to the right peeps.

    This is kind of a chicken/egg question. If everyone's into Country & Western bikes they're going to want to ride with that old broken-in saddle.

    Maybe your blog attracted these folks and the modernists got drowned out or you weren't ready to listen to them.

    Mules, no thoroughbreds.

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  44. The modernists (at the local bike shops) suggested bikes with saddle 2feet above handlebars and clipless shoes... driving me straight into the arms of the C&V-ists, whose bikes were at least ridable, and pretty. And then I learned about Rivendell and tried the Nitto Noodles, and discovered that I could simply stick those Noodles on vintage bikes too, and... well you know the rest : )

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  45. I never see the domineering husband or such ignorance from a LBS to fit a beginner on a race bike. Never.

    It says a lot about Boston's bike culture. And elsewhere.

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  46. Not Boston bike culture. This is women writing me from all over the US. Also, men - writing to complain that their wives can't ride the beautiful bike they restored for them. Sending me pictures, because surely I'll appreciate the bike. Or maybe I have some insight about why their wife won't ride it? I suggest they put Noodles and aero brake levers on it, they get irritated b/c would destroy the period correctness.

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  47. Sorry, that was confusing. The comment from 11:02 was my own experience. The comment from 11:16 was meant to say that in addition, I hear these stories from all over the US.

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  48. This part is Boston: "The modernists (at the local bike shops) suggested bikes with saddle 2feet above handlebars and clipless shoes... driving me straight into the arms of the C&V-ists"

    Modernists don't have to advocate for huge drop. Modernist refers to modern equipment. Good fit is another question.

    Angry aesthetes in Podunkville - the title says it all.

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  49. I'll say from my marathoning days that rest is important, but that rest is whatever your body happens to need, and this changes as you change your body through training. Rigid training programs are for people who can't motivate themselves without something to check off. I'd view the training as a good goal, which you can flex as you see fit. Feel really great today? add a couple of intervals or some extra miles. Feel like your legs are cooked noodles? Perhaps an easy ride to the store is a better idea than whatever's planned.
    like most people you will recoil at the following suggestion, but it was given me by both a kinesthesiologist I trust and a masseur for the US Olympic team- When you do am especially hard or long training session, spend 5-10 minutes in a bathtub with a bag of party ice dumped in it, and filled to cover your legs. It's not fun, but it's by far the best thing I've ever found for keeping your legs sound and injury free. I do it after every 18+ mile run and it's amazing how much it helps.
    Two other points. The vast majority of training techniques are tested on men, and there is growing evidence that women's metabolisms are different. Also, from marathoning, a period of tapering off is vital before a big race.

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  50. About Eddy's position: He had the horrendous crash in the motorpaced Criterium des A's, 1969. Aside from watching his trainer/next-door-neighbor/godfather die in front of his eyes, he badly dislocated his hip. There was no definitive therapy for that in 1969 and the balance of his career he pedaled in great pain. For which reason he changed his position constantly. Carried wrenches in his pocket to adjust the bike during races. Commissioned experimental frames to try all sorts of unusual and unique designs. Raced on 675 (aka 26" sewup) wheels. Went through hundreds of frames (a boon to collectors).
    If you want to try the Eddy position first have a major injury then decline the orthopedist and the OT.
    Eddy's lifelong problem is now treatable with simple exercises in a matter of weeks.
    Eddy was Eddy. He still visits your LBS from time to time. Do not miss a chance to shake his hand.

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  51. First off - I like your blog a lot! Stumbled across it last week and have been meaning to check it out. I just did a pretty tough 70-mile ride and had some knees issues. Rather than stay off the bike completely next day, I did a pretty easy 10-ish mile ride just to see friends and whatnot. My knee held up pretty well but I still think it might have been a better idea to just stat home propped up and icing it. I plan to do that today. For non-injury type recoveries though, I think it's fine to keep biking. I've been in great muscle pain from doing other workouts and I think cycling helped me loosen those muscles up again. But it's definitely a personal choice.

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