Everyone at the camp has been working hard with long endurance rides with pack handling skills, how to get up and over punchy climbs, technical fast downhill cornering, climbing in and out of the saddle and eating cookies at the Cookie Shack atop Mt. Lemmon. Add in some bonus mechanicals (broken chains, flat tires and a broken derailleur) and everyone was ready for a rest day.
But what is a rest day? And why do you need one?
Humans are not machines. In a robotic world you could just keeping your body to the same level of intensity day after day after day. But we're not robots. If we keep pushing our bodies to a high level, eventually our fatigue level would be so high we'd either fall over, get injured or dig ourselves into a hole so big we may never get out (interested in reading more? Google "Overtraining in cycling"). So in order to reap the benefits of all of the hard work we've done over the past several days today was an easy rest day.
Recovering on the bike is actually harder than it sounds. I like to think of easy rides in terms of not letting my power exceed my heart rate. But if you don't have a power meter, it should feel like taking an easy walk on the bike.
Recovery rides can also be referred to as noodling. So all 17 of us noodled on down to Presta Coffee Roasters in downtown Tucson after a quick stop in a park to do some skill drills: emergency braking, cornering, bumping, wheel touching and cone pick up drills. We split up into four stations where each coach taught athletes a specific skill they can incorporate into their training.
We then noodled back to the condos and enjoying a few extra hours of downtime before our nightly coaching meeting followed by another delicious meal cooked by Chef Patricia.
Recovery days are important. And sometimes taking a easy active recovery day is just what the doctor ordered. We have one more day with a long ride on tap with some sprint drills thrown into the mix.