Ride for Health? Stay Healthy for the Ride

It’s funny, in some way or another, we all ride to stay fit and healthy.  We all ride for lots of other reasons, but sooner or later, we all figure out that being on the bike makes us feel healthy, makes our clothes fit better, let’s us drink a few beers, and eat some junk food without thinking, “wow, I really need to get in shape and change my diet.”  The bike is great for that – whether it’s commuting to work or the store, hard core road or mountain riding, or just being a weekend warrior.  I’ve heard it said about running – not that I’ve ever tried this – but runners get a high from the activity.  I bet that’s the same as the great feeling we all have when we get our window to hop on the bike and pedal.  And, once you’ve hit the point where you’re arranging your time for a bike fix, then you know you’ve hit a point where you need to think about how to stay healthy and maintain your fitness so you can ride at peak performance, and not feel lazy, then get upset with yourself.

This year was interesting for me, and really made me think about staying in shape.  Years past, it was simple – ride, a lot, eat well, stay active, and my energy level was up, my endurance was up, and I was a strong rider.  But, this year, the same program was working until I had a major setback.  I was stung by a wasp on a training ride for the 24 Hours of Great Glen, which was a training ride for the Hampshire 100. I had never been allergic in the past, but bam! One morning I am being carted off to the hospital and treated for a wasp sting.

What I didn’t appreciate was that one event crushed me for 3 days, and was then compounded by early pollen allergies.  My rebound to being knocked down was riding the Hampshire 100, only to feel like crap half way through that ride, and every subsequent ride.  As I look back at that, it now makes me realize that regaining the conditioning and endurance I had developed through the Spring and Summer was more involved than just hopping back on the bike and turning the pedals.  In fact, I doubt that will come back until next season.  So, one of the things we are going to explore, especially as the days get shorter, and ride times get crunched moving into the Fall and Winter is what we can do to stay in shape, and hit the new season rested, recharged, and ready to ride at full tilt.

What are you doing, or what do you do to maintain your edge?

 

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