If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m hooked on Graeme Street’s Cyclo-Core programs for cyclists. I’m a member of the Cyclo-Core “team”. We don’t race, we’re just a cross section of male and female riders of all shapes, abilities and ages who share a love of riding and a commitment to fitness through Graeme’s programs. The cool part of being on a team is having Graeme as a coach and wearing the team jersey.
Like all coaches, Graeme seems to anticipate my shortcomings as a cyclist. Just last week, I was thinking to myself that I’d been letting a few things slide, like periodic stretching and recovery. I mean, really letting them slide. No sooner had I started to feel guilty than an email from Graeme arrived. Just a reminder that if you’re not a flexible cyclist, you’re not as strong as you could be. And I quote, “A stiff cyclist is a restricted cyclist and even though you may have strength and fitness, the lack of flexibility will always hold back your true potential to perform and ride with more strength and power.” What a waste. I made a mental note to stretch after every other ride.
The second part of the email was a little harder to digest. Recovery. As in, stay off the bike for a day here and there. Yes, I know this is important. Why just yesterday I read an article about Dave Lloyd, a former TI-Raleigh pro rider who now coaches racers. Dave said, “The most important sessions are rest. You have to train hard, but you have to give your body time to adapt. I didn’t do that, and sometimes it cost me.”
But Graeme, I live in an area of the world that doesn’t see the sunny side up until June. And even then the season may only last three months. And you’re asking me to watch a day of that go by without being on a bike? Without feeling my tires humming down a favorite road? Without the fragrance of summer flora teasing me on?
A mental tug of war ensued. Graeme on one shoulder, the “dark side” (personified by VW’s “Fast” for some unknown reason) on the other. Graeme wouldn’t be deterred: “Your fitness will slide, you’ll become a grouch, you’ll be tired, you won’t be able to sleep, you’ll feel like you’re on a treadmill; why are we doing all of this if we’re ignoring recovery?” Fast just growled into my ear, “Lose this guy. I want to ride.”
Graeme, can we compromise? Does a four hour ride in Zone 1 constitute recovery? What do you think? Would that be okay? I won’t push it or anything; I’ll go very easy. Graeme? Graeme? Aw, come on, Graeme……….