I’ve been riding regularly for quite a while now, and things just seem to get better and better.
However, I’ve just had 10 days of non-riding due to various reasons. This is the longest I’ve gone without a stint on a unicycle, but yesterday I got back on and did a 5 mile ride and a 9 mile ride with a coach journey inbetween. Then this morning I rode 5 miles.
I can’t believe just how knackered I am! My legs are aching more now than the day after I did my RTL qualifying ride of 144 miles!
Can it really be that my fitness has drained away that quickly?
When I was time-trialling regularly it was reckoned that a week of no riding took a month to get back to where you started from, and would lose some frightening amount of your fitness (can’t remember the figure that used to be suggested, but it was 10 or 20% of endurance I think). I don’t know how true that was, or if it was just banded about to scare people into training regularly.
I didn’t ride at all (bike or uni) for nearly two months last winter after a cycling accident, which was by far the longest I’ve gone without cycling since I was about 10 years old. The first ride I did after that was a muni ride with a group in Haldon Woods (mostly singletrack, quite hilly) and I was surprised how good I felt. I wasn’t quite as fast as normal but my legs didn’t feel too bad - most noticeable was getting out of breath more quickly on climbs. Once I was back riding regularly again I was back to normal in a few weeks.
But yes, a relatively short break from regular riding, certainly a week or more, can be quite noticeable.
That’s bizarre. I commute every day (I confess, on a b*ke) 2.5 miles each way, and live 240m above work. In August I had two weeks with no riding at all, due to a few days of taking the car to work, getting lifts and going on holiday. On my first day back on the bike I actually found going back up the hill easier - I put it down to being really well rested and getting rid of the slight fatigue in the legs that you just get used to with riding every day.
What probably helped though was that although I did no riding I kept myself ticking over with a bit of walking throughout those two weeks (and most of that was in the Alps… altitude training? ).
I thought that for special events like enduros, races and marathons you were supposed to hardly do anything for a week before the event?
I think some people react in different ways to a week or so off the bike (sorry, unicycle :o) . There was a bloke who I used to time-trial with who pretty much didn’t ride at all between weekly club meetings, and was very quick indeed. There was also a bloke who would sit on his bike on the start line sucking away on a fag, put it out a few seconds before his start time, then light up again when he finished - and he’d beat me by a couple of minutes over 10 miles.
I think the week off/month to recover thing was probably exaggerated by club folklore but I certainly feel weedier if I haven’t ridden for a week. A couple of days is OK, but I do notice a lack of performance after a week of no riding.
EDIT: For the Americans, fag=cigarette, before you all get offended.
I guess it depends a lot on what you do generally with your time off between rides. My time off was partly inflicted by a stinking cold that kept me off work for a couple of days, and I didn’t feel up to doing much physical stuff at all during my time off.
One thing I’ve noticed is that my fastest commuting day is generally Tuesday. I think this is because I don’t often ride on a weekend, so Monday I’m kind of getting back in to it, then on top form on Tuesday, and then getting more tired towards the end of the week.