As I write this blog, it’s less than one week until you will all be enjoying your day suffering to the highest point in the Eastern US. The main thing to remember is that no workout you do right now is going to make you stronger for next week. Even more importantly if you are properly rested you will have much more energy and be able to ride stronger. Yes, this means for once in this blog I am actually telling you to ride easy! Enjoy this, as it doesn’t come often and next Monday you will more than likely have one of the toughest days of the year on the bike.
This doesn’t mean don’t ride at all this next week. I am sure that many of you know that after a few days off your first couple rides back will have that feeling of “stale” legs. Most of us that are riding at Mitchell are used to doing higher mileage rides, and riding at least 3-4 days per week. Our bodies adapt to this and we actually feel better the day after riding. So if this next week you take a bunch of days off, your legs may not be properly opened up and it may take you a couple hours to start feeling good.
If you want to take a couple days off this week, that is fine. It is also a great week to go for a few easy rides and really let those legs rest up. This will also mentally recharge yourself from the hard training you have been doing. After going off and easy for a couple days you should be itching to go for a long hard ride again. A few days before next Monday you may want to incorporate a few smaller efforts into your easy rides. These should be nothing that will tire you out or exhaust you, just something to keep the legs awake and ready to rock it.
The day before Mt. Mitchell is a good day to do a few leg openers. The thinking here is that you want to build up a small amount of lactic acid and then flush it out. My preferred leg opener workout is to do three somewhat hard five minute efforts. Don’t do these all out, just at a pace where you are breathing fairly hard at the end (about 85% of your climbing effort). You should rest for about five minutes between these efforts. This will build up a small amount of lactic acid in your legs. After the last effort, ride very easy at a higher cadence for at least a half hour. You will now be flushing that lactic acid out of your legs. When you can open up your legs like this, they will be better prepared for the buildup of lactic acid the next day and you will able to ride at a harder tempo. You should try and do this workout in the morning before it gets too hot out as the heat can zap your energy even for a recovery ride. Later in the day on Sunday make sure you rest your legs as much as possible. Elevate them for a while, take a nap, get a good stretch in. Basically, treat yourself like a professional cyclist as they prepare for a race the next day. There’s a reason why they go through all these steps to ensure top performance, and you should be thinking about them as well.
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