This last weekend I got back from a 10 day road trip to Bend Oregon. I had a buddy from Hawaii who moved there and I wanted to check out some new trails before the season ended . It was easily the longest biking trip I’ve had for a long time and from his descriptions of the riding it was going to be some long days in the saddle.
I woke up on the morning of Thursday the 11th and took my dog for a ride before driving for 9 hours to Boise ID. I listened to some episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience and the audiobook The Boys in the Boat on the way, both of which I highly recommend to kill time on a roadtrip.
I woke up the next day and drove the last 6 hours to Bend. I hadn’t been out of the car for an hour before I was riding some new trails. I don’t remember exactly what we rode, mainly because my buddy forgot to tell me there was a 15 mile trail ride back to his house after the 10 mile ride he said we were going on.
I had to survive the last part of that ride since I hadn’t eaten or brought any food for a “10 mile ride”. I learned to add 10 miles and an hour to whatever he told me the ride was going to be –there is just so much sweet trail around there that it is easy to get sidetracked or forget about some of it when planning the ride.
Plus we decided that he just liked to pedal.
There were some more friends from Hawaii who flew in Friday night and we all spent the next 6 days logging 20-30+ miles a day on some pretty sweet singletrack. Bend has a ton of fun, flowy trails that snaked through the pine trees and it is definitely a place to work on your Cornering Ninja skills.
Its also a great place to log some serious miles. I’ve never ridden as many miles in a week as I did that week – I ended up riding 8 days in a row (including the ride on the morning I left) and easily logged 170+ miles in that time.
Which is actually kind of interesting considering that I don’t “train” to ride that many miles. I ride 3 days a week with breaks between days and my longest rides are 2-2.5 hours long. My average ride is only an hour or so long and I have a lot of rides that aren’t even that long.
What was surprising to me was how fresh I felt for the first 5 days. It wasn’t until days 6 and 7 that I was starting my ride still sore and fatigued from the previous ride and that made a huge difference in how well I was able to ride.
And even though I was tired on day 7 we still logged the biggest ride of the week at 34 miles. And being able to finish strong after that many miles and days in a row didn’t happen on accident.
I went into the week with a simple two part strategy to help me recover quickly between rides and I’m happy to say that it worked well. These are things that any rider can benefit from when trying to recover quickly from a hard ride, especially when needing to ride several days in a row like you see in Enduro racing.
Strategy #1 – Good supplementation. Yes, whole foods are best but two things are going against you when you are trying to speed up your recovery from a big ride using just whole foods.
First, the foods we eat today simply do not have the same mineral and vitamin content that they did just a few decades ago. This means you have to eat more food to get the same nutritional value.
Second, you need higher than normal levels of key nutrients to compensate for increased metabolic workload and oxidative stress. Since you already have to eat more whole foods to get the basic levels of these nutrients, this means you have to eat even more to counteract the increased stress.
This makes it impractical for most riders to get the nutrients they need to help them recover and function optimally. And this is why I use and recommend other riders use some basic supplementation to help them maximize their recovery and energy levels. This helps plug in any gaps I wasn’t getting from food alone and helped control the damage from all the riding I was doing.
Every day I took Total Primate Care by ONNIT labs, which is the total body and brain supplement I use and recommend. I’ve tried a lot of supplements over the years and few have delivered the noticeable results this simple combination has. The unique ingredients and increased quality that ONNIT puts into their manufacturing process is impressive and makes a huge difference in the results you see.
If you aren’t using a high quality supplement to fill in your nutritional gaps– or aren’t happy with the one you are using – then try the Total Primate Care by ONNIT Labs. I was extremely impressed with how it helped me recover and stay riding strong through my 8 days of riding.
Strategy #2 – Good ol’ static stretching. This was something I did every morning and every evening to help me loosen up. I used some basic stretches for the neck, chest, shoulders, quads, hamstrings and glutes and they kept me feeling loose and limber on top of the bike.
Like I pointed out in a previous article, there are two types of activities – tension producing and tension reducing. Riding my bike for 3-4 hours a day was definitely producing a lot of tension.
This meant that I need something to reduce the tension and that is where static stretching comes in. While I used the foam roller and lacrosse ball for some self massage, static stretching was still the cornerstone of my recovery strategy.
Static stretching is one of those things that easily gets dismissed but is a really powerful tool. In fact, I’ve been guilty of going too far in the Dynamic Mobility direction and getting away from just how awesome static stretching can be.
I plan on writing more about static stretching and sharing some of my favorites but right now the take home message is this – stretch more to recover faster.
Look, I know that you can get more complicated with recovery strategies and there are a lot of other great options that I didn’t use. But I like to keep things easy and these are two things that I knew I could stick with.
Plus they deliver the biggest results for the least amount of effort, which is something I’m always looking for.
So that’s it…just good supplementation and lots of static stretching can help you recover faster after a hard day of riding. Of course, this is assuming that you are doing the basic things like eating enough healthy foods and getting plenty of sleep as well – no amount of stretching or supplements can make up for crappy eating and not sleeping.
I had a blast riding in Bend and I’m glad I was able to ride hard every day I was there. It definitely challenged my legs and lungs in ways they hadn’t been challenged before but thanks to some good training over the years and those 2 basic recovery strategies they were able to answer the bell each day and I’m sure they can help you recover faster as well.
Until next time…