Bike Racing and Rest

Thanks Jens Voigt

As someone who tries to train with a reasonably good structured program, I always attempt to ensure that I have a regular schedule, with in-built intense workouts, including lighter work, but difficult intervals. Clarence Bass who writes about bodybuilding, calls this the dumbbell approach to training.

One thing however that I do particularly take to heart, and embrace with fervent enthusiasm are –  rest days. I say this with tongue firmly in cheek, as there is no doubt that sometimes it is very easy to skip a ride on a cold or wet day. But of course there is some seriousness in this as well.

At the moment, I have been taking a Monday of the week off, as this follows the weekend, which at this stage is my only opportunity to do some extended rides. This weekend for example, I didn’t go crazy, but did do two 100+ km rides, over gravel mostly, and so I feel pretty fatigued, and will welcome a day to rest up, which is where the real fitness is built.

In fact, for the past two weeks, my Tuesday session in-doors has been very light as well (perhaps this just reflects my age). Come Wednesday however, I’m back on the bike (indoors still, unfortunately) and ready to go hard, feeling new enthusiasm fueled in part by a sense of guilt, but also a large part being fear (which is always a good motivator).

When I worked locally, without any extended commute, I took no rest days, riding to work each day. In reality this is actually a  poor way of training. You don’t get better on the bike, you get better in-between rides ensuring you get good food, adequate rest, keeping hydrated and making sure you get enough sleep.

Right now, my sleep is definitely suffering, so this makes my Monday rest day even more important.

I’m also a big believer in cycling my training (no pun intended). Each four weeks, I take a down week, and whilst still keeping a bit of stimulus in my weekend, I go only 60-70% on the bike to ensure that I recover ready for another hard block of training. I think personally this is as much mental as it is physical (if there is a difference), just to freshen up and get ready for another round of longer rides.

Rest can come in many different forms of course. It can be just not riding, and not doing anything at all…which is the ultimate form of rest, but for me not really very appealing.

Or it can be more active recovery.

bicycle islands

My trusty steed in the Cook Islands

I’m a big fan of the latter. I went to the Cook Islands after an event in New Zealand last November. My wife and I hired bikes, and we rode the island a few times (they are not very large – Rarotonga is just 30km in circumference, and Aitutaki, where the above picture was taken, is very much smaller). It was a great way to rest, and train at the same time, not to mention see the island and enjoy the scenery.

Even when I’m home, just sitting on the trainer, and pumping out 30km at a low wattage, it does wonders getting rid of the lactic acid, and tight feelings in the legs.

keg cycling.jpg

Now, if I can just work out how to strap this to my bike…the perfect hydration tool

In my spare time, I love to brew beer, another passion of mine. Now, drinking beer after a long ride is definitely not recommended (dilates the blood vessels and puts pressure on already inflamed muscles…blah blah blah), BUT, well….actually the two just don’t go together, however remains a recovery process for me regardless. There’s really no good reason to put this here.


gravel bike games

Bit of Gravel Grinding around the Bellarine Peninsula

I’ve had a good week on the bike. Through the week I rode in my first organised ride on Zwift, arranged by a friend of mine, and two great rides on an Autumn weekend.

Yesterday (Saturday) I rode some back roads around the Bellarine. It was just great (one puncture, but fixed quickly and painlessly), and allowed me to try out my Garmin with a loaded course, so I could check out how it gave me directions. This is something I will be relying on a lot in the U.S. Although it was just over 100km, as it was a lot on gravel, it actually took about 4.5 hours. One thing I am loving about gravel grinding is exploring areas I’ve just never been to in my home area, exploring new roads I’ve never been to, even when I have lived here all my life.

Today (Sunday), I rode up to the foot of the Brisbane ranges, trying to get to the top of one of the hills here, but in the end, weaving my way back through to Lara, past the You Yangs, and into Geelong. Again, it was just fantastic to get off the normal paved roads, and see familiar surroundings from a totally different perspective.

Both rides were 100km+, not huge, but some good time on the bike, and enjoyable, with light favorable winds, no crashes,  and some late Autumn pleasant weather.

This week, I’m gearing up for the BAD ride – the ‘Brisbane Ranges Autumn Dozen’, a ride arranged by Byron, climbing 12 of the steepest hills in the Brisbane ranges. It will be the last weekend of Autumn here, before the inevitable decline in weather. I think its going to be about 140km of pure pain, taking in O’Neils road, and of course the infamous ‘Godzilla’ – Perdrisat Rd near Maude – both east and west version. This will be something to write about next week for sure.



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