A multi-day ride is a special experience. If you ride regularly, you can probably head out and have a pleasant ride without too much hassle. But if you want to truly sink into the landscape and enjoy your ride, getting your body ride ready will help you make the most of the adventure without distractions.
Stretch it out
Winter is a time when we sit more often, bundle up against the cold and generally hold our bodies tighter.
You can hop on your bike and try to spin it out, and you’ll only get so far as your body struggles to set those muscles free.
A more effective approach is to spend some time stretching to loosen all around.
When it comes to stretching, there is no magic formula. We all hold our bodies differently, and how we hold ourselves, walk and ride determines what gets tight and out of whack.
Stretching could be as simple as rolling around on the floor, attending a yoga class or watching structured videos with care.
The best approaches to a stretching routine are to:
- Stretch regularly.
- Get to know your body – what feels good and brings relief and results.
- Try a variety of stretches, gently and mindfully.
Set your muscles free
People often erroneously think stretching is all about achieving a deep position they’ve seen other people do. A better approach is to work on setting your muscles free and releasing.
- Ease into the position.
- Support your body so the area stretching can relax. This might mean putting a rolled up blanket or other support under your leg or bracing yourself against a wall or couch.
- Breathe deeply and envision air surrounding the focal area, giving it space. You’re not trying to pull or tug, you’re trying to create room around the area so it can release.
- Take your time. You will gradually feel yourself moving more deeply into the stretch. Hang out here and enjoy the release.
- If at any time you feel pain, back off. Your stretching is much more effective when your muscles are not stressed and you want to avoid injury.
Can’t touch your toes? Can’t get your knees to the ground in a seated pose? Can’t forward fold over your legs? You’re not the only one. Take your time, relax and release. It could take years, but eventually you’ll get there and your cycling will be stronger because of your deep stretching and truly releasing your muscles.
How do you train?
Have you ridden Cycle Oregon or a similar multi-day ride? What do you do to ensure you’re ride ready? Share your tips in the comments below.