Our sportive blogger Gavin returns from holiday and finds that he's lost some hard-earned suppleness.
Having just returned from holiday, my week off the bicycle has allowed for a period of thought and reflection before mounting a June campaign of sportives and chaotic commutes.
Being a commuter - the last time I had such a break from cycling was through a back injury I sustained over a year ago. The more people I speak to – the more I realise that this is a common complaint among cyclists. Secondly – being a commuter – any enforced absence from the bicycle means a journey braving the germ riddled, sneeze boxes of public transport and a fifty quid weekly ticket for the privilege (this could be money well spent down the local bike shop).
After my last enforced absence – I looked for something pro-active I could do to prevent the pain – and the cycling cold turkey – from re-occurring. One of the big problems is trying to fit a middle aged, depleted, non-symmetrical body (me) on to a perfectly symmetrical machine (bike).
In the days when I worked closer to home – I could attend a pilates and a hatha yoga class, and I found that the pains and the injuries were kept at bay. Not only that – after a few weeks I could touch my toes, stand on my head and talk in terms of planks, locusts and bridges!
Last Thursday – I attended a pilates class – for the first time in a year – and was astounded at how much suppleness and core strength I have lost. With the worrying thought of missing a summer of sportives and an Etape through injury – I have resolved to take up pilates and try to re-align the crooked spine and lengthen those short hamstrings.
My ex-yoga instructor also recommended something called Hot Yoga – and claimed that cyclists are flocking to this discipline. It is undertaken in humidity and heat helping shed a few pounds of weight but sounds a little bit too much like hard, sweaty work for me.
I really do think that it is worth taking a small amount of time to learn a few key movements. Ten minutes at the end of a ride to stretch out backs and legs can be worth the investment and help keep the cyclist away from the physios, osteopaths and dreaded train carriages.