Sunday, 18 August 2013

Shut Up Legs!

It was German professional Jens Voigt that coined the phrase "shut up legs" - it's become an almost legendary saying amongst cyclists, when feeling the burn it's time to man up and keep pushing on.  

Saturday morning I had one of those moments, from the get go my head didn't seem in it, let alone my legs.  Pushing out at the beginning of a 50 miler, the first ten miles seemed to take forever.  Conditions were blustery and there was the promise of rain later in the morning.  I'd opted to take my winter bike out, complete with mudguards, for the promised showers not realising the front mech gear cable had stretched meaning I couldn't get it onto the 50 tooth ring.  It meant a lot of spinning for the fifty miles, which wasn't so bad.


I've realised now after nearly 10,000 miles on a bike that it takes me at least 10 miles to warm up.  When my legs are complaining, if it's within the first ten miles they get a "shut up legs" as I know they will feel better later in the ride.  A good reminder to work up into a longer ride by giving yourself the chance to warm up properly, then to turn up the gas.

Riding home, it's also good to "warm down" by giving yourself a few miles at a very easy pace.  If measuring average speed, just stop your garmin or other device there and give yourself the time to spin home, your legs will thank you for it.

The Twenty Minute Window

Having done 100 miles this weekend, my legs were letting me know.  I'm not a big fan of sports nutrition generally, but one thing I do use is a recovery shake as I do find it suits me personally after a long ride.  

There is a magic window of around 20 minutes after your ride which is the optimum time to take on products like this, or protein related food to have the greatest effect on muscle recovery, always a good idea to have your recovery food/drink ready prepared for when you get through the door.  I've been sent some Elivar products to test, designed for over 35's apparently, so I'll let you know how I get on with them.  Don't forget to stretch too!

Checking my stats out for the 100 miles, my ride time was 5hrs 38mins with 3.7K feet of ascent.  Heart rate was 151bpm, which is just moving into zone 4 (intensive). Conditions have been quite blustery, yesterday there was an 18mph headwind for most of the ride and a heavy shower which saw me get my first real soaking for a few months.  Got another one today, so bring on the winter riding!

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