Surviving a Stage Race
WIth all of this excitement about me going to the Tour of the Gila, I figured this would be a good time to chat a bit about recovery during stage races. After all, it’s the guy who recovers best that often takes home the crown especially when we are talking about five days of hard racing.
My strategy is three fold:
1) Proper fueling immediatley after a ride
There’s no better way to trash your body then to not feed it the nutrients and calories it needs to start the recovery process. Currently, I end a ride with a bottle of Recoverite and then, I follow this up with a medium sized meal (400-500 calories) plus another bottle of water; I may also add a pretorian shake late in the evening if I don’t have a lot of natural protein on hand. I’ll also eat larger meals for the rest of the day to take care of the rest of my bodies needs. Less than this and it’s a show stopper for me. It’s not uncommon to see riders starting to fade in subsequent days of competition and, after talking to them, they’re barely eating enough to keep themselves conscious.
2) Massage to help increase bloodflow to muscles and relax body
I can thank Matt Gibble of Raining Faith Message (rainingfaith.com) for this part of my recovery. Last year I went to a self message clinic of his and, since incorporating this into my training, I can safely say that I feel more relaxed at stage races and find I sleep better when I flush out all of the toxins from my legs after tough riding/racing. The routine he showed me takes around 15 minutes, but is more than worth the time and effort.
I highly suggest seeing Matt to learn more about self message as well as other sports message needs. He’s working with athletes of all flavors for 20+ years and really knows his stuff.
3) Ice bath and compression to help promote recovery
I know, this sounds crazy, but don’t knock it until you try it. Fill a bathtub with water until it sits a little under waist deep. Then, fill the tub with loads of ice until the water comes up over the tops of your thighs. According to current research, it’s only necessary to hang out in the tub for 15-20 minutes, so it’s not like you have to sleep in there. Let me warn you, when you first get out, your legs are going to feel like cinder blocks, but when you wake up the next day, you’ll feel totally fresh!
I’ve also recently become a fan of compression tights when I don’t have a metric ton of ice at my disposal. I purchased the Zoot compression tights on a whim (a fairly expensive whim) and I’m extremely please with the results. I don’t think they are as good as taking an ice bath, but it isn’t particularly common where I have the ability to take one, so I was really in search f something else when in a pinch. Generally I need to wear them for around four hours to get the maximum effect.
That’s it for my recovery process for now. Question, comment, new ideas? Comment below; I’d love to hear what others are doing!