One of the unique elements of bike racing is that we have multiday events. Stage races ask you to ride day after day and the stresses can add up as you move through time. There are some simple things you can add to your routine to optimize your recovery from day to day.
Put on your jersey!
When you finish your event, you should always have a warm, dry jersey to put on to help with thermoregulation. A wet jersey will draw body heat away from the body so putting on a dry jersey will help preserve body heat. The same is true with leg warmers or similar.
Have your recovery shake/bar nearby!
When I come in from a training ride or finish a race, I down my recovery shake before I even get out of my cycling clothes. When you finish a ride, your body is craving fuel and nutrients and absorbing more rapidly that it usually does. You have a 30min time window where it’s important to get some kind of recovery solution in you so you can do it all again the next day.
Do a cool down ride!
Many times when we finish a race we just ride back to the car and that’s that. After your race, instead of heading to the car, go for a short 15 or 20min ride nice and easy to clear out the legs. (Take your recovery shake with you!) If you can’t get on the road, set up your trainer by the car and spin it out. This will help flush metabolic toxins out of the muscles and help you to feel fresher the next day.
Stay off your feet!
When I was coaching collegiate teams, I used to constantly tell the kids to go sit down. Keep in mind the pro cyclists mantra: “If you don’t have to stand, sit. If you don’t have to sit, lie down.” Staying off your feet will help with your recovery by letting the musculature of the legs relax more. It sounds silly but, there’s some truth in it.
Take a nap!
There is actual research to suggest that taking a nap stimulates a 2nd release of human growth hormone and testosterone in the human body. So, after race, if there is time before bed time, take a nap. This will prompt your body to release extra HGH and testosterone which all lead to better recovery and even muscle growth!
These are a few simple things that will help you recover from day to day in a multiday event. Even in training this is effective in preparing you for the next training session.