The Rest of the Story About Rest Days for Cyclists

On May 4th (Star Wars day), I wrote a blog titled “Rainy Friday Blahg Post: The Value of Sleep and Rest Days for Cyclists“. While visiting relatives, I’m forced into at least two days off the bike, so I’m revisiting the topic. As it happens, my computer apparently needs a rest too, since it has just started shutting itself off. So this will be short post since it takes longer to write by phone and it’s a holiday.

It’s Still Important to Move On Rest Days

I traveled north to where the picture of me I use for this blog was taken. This afternoon I took the dogs for a walk. Nothing fancy, just 45 minutes and 1.83 miles on a neighborhood street then park trail. It was a three-bagger, if you know what I mean. The weather wasn’t too bad and we arrived alive.

It felt good knowing I didn’t have to suit up and pump the legs for however many miles. At the same time, the urge to ride my bicycle was still there. I felt almost guilty not doing it, especially with the extra calories I’ve been consuming. But I gave my self permission to not worry about it. Even with a revised goal hanging over my head, I’m pretty sure I’ll make it. But the point is to move the body a little so it doesn’t freeze up on you. Swim, yoga,.walk, do floor yoga — whatever you can do to move — it’s all helpful to prevent lactic acid build up. Which hurts if you don’t.

Sleepytime but Not a Sleepyhead

The challenge for me remains turning off my brain so the healing can begin. I was asked, “Why don’t you just go to bed?” Well, I can think of a number reasons, namely because: I’m on a later schedule, several health issues make it harder, because I’m not sleepy, I have things to do, and it’s quieter so I can think better (unless I’m really am too tired AND sleepy. A former female friend called it “sleepy tired”.

But to rebuild muscles that have been worked in bike riding, or any physical exercise, rest is key. Add to that attitude. The reason for this should be clear: It’s easy to burn out if youre not careful. If the whole body or even just the brain need rest, at some point you’re going to crash on your bed. Or on your bike, which would be, to quote Orwell, doubleplusungood.

Of course, I could have made myself go bike (if I had one to borrow), as I often have powered through fatigue, pain, discomfort, injury and more. In fact, right now I’m nursing a saddle sore, so not riding is a great idea. But to rest is the best so one can live to ride another day and enjoy it.

Returning from Time Off

After a day or two, I find I start jonesing for the bike. This is a key time to take it easy, however. That’s because you can injure yourself after having let your guard down. Hopefully I’ll have some really relaxed and well-rested muscles.

I also enjoy doing things off the bike, so I have more time time to explore them. I do feel a bit traitorous, but exercise is good for the mood. And you can’t bike without energy, physical and mental. In the end we all need sleep to live as healthy as possible. For me I’ll have. To keep trying to make sleep a priority and make.better choices and take sleep aids if necessary, especially an Epsom salt bath.

But now it’s Christmas, and my favorite part aside from not working and hanging with family is that we have Jewish delicatessen food. No bagels for me this year, though.  May whatever traditions you celebrate bring you comfort and joy. And oh yeah, a little peace on Earth would be great. When it’s over, rest well. Then, get back on that steel horse and ride!

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