The axiom among physiologists is that fitness is not gained during the activity, but as a result of the activity. During the trainer season, I put a conscious effort into avoiding workouts on consecutive days. During the outdoor season, I try to stick to this as much as the weather and yard work obligations allow. Good recovery is just as important as a hard effort.
And I’m feeling it.
After some fits and starts getting acclimated to the changing spring weather – windy and 58° to sunny and 90° – I’m harvesting the results of all that work. I got in a two hour ride covering 39 miles and 18.5 mph average, and I felt great at the end. I was flying up hills and motoring on the flats. It was a perfect-feeling ride.
Today, a day off the bike, I have an energetic feeling in my legs that is all too rare after a good effort the day before. These are the days I sit back and realize just how much I get from riding – the leaner frame, the better sleep, the attention paid to my diet, and (quoting Fred Matheny) the post-ride calm of a Zen Master.
Perhaps greatest of all is the mental lift. Kim West said on his show last week that he starts feeling better as he rolls down his driveway. Everything else just doesn’t matter any more. All the crap at work, annoying drivers, aches and pains, stupid doping stories, A-Rod, all of it. Just give me some decent pavement and it all goes away. It’s astounding what this simple machine lets me do.
Yeah, it’s like that.