The Tour De France 2014 is underway and riders from around the world are midway through one of the most gruelling physical challenges known to sport.
Over 21 stages the athletes cover an incredible 3664 km. That’s a truly remarkably physical feat and we thought we would take a look at the methods riders use to avoid burnout and recuperate each day to get back out and ride again over huge distances.
A Good Sleep
Did you know that some competitors have the same mattress and pillow shipped around the event so that they can ensure a hight quality nights sleep?
Typically the riders will sleep on a high quality memory foam mattress such as the kind that you’ll find here and some even have sponsorship deals with mattress companies!
While the performance can’t be put down to the mattress it’s clear that for an event like this anything that can be done to help the athlete is considered and nothing is left to chance.
It’s a common practice for the athletes to make use of portable inflatable ice baths immediately following completion of the stages. It’s been proven that an ice bath helps to combat inflammation and reduces soreness the following day. This helps the riders get back out there to take on the challenges of the road.
Nutrition and Hydration
Nutrition and hydration an extremely important part of the recuperation process. Muscules can only hold 1600 calories of carbohydrate fuel so riders are continually eating and drinking to replenish their fuel source. Dedicated nutritionists work to maximise hydration and energy levels and keep riders riding.
Massage is another important part of the recovery process. Physical therapists perform massage therapy each day to sooth the muscles and stimulate blood flow that helps the muscles to relax and repair themselves before another gruelling day.
A large part of the race is the mental challenge. Some athletes use floatation tanks to provide relaxation and sensory deprivation. It’s important to start the next day as fresh as you possible can and mental recuperation is an important part of the recovery process.
Preparation and Training
Perhaps the greatest method that the cyclists use to be able to recuperate and be ready to race the next day is preparation and training. The Tour De France is one of the most gruelling athletic challenges in sport but the competitors spend their whole lives preparing their body for this type of physical challenge. It is this preparation that allows them to do things that seem unreal for the average cyclist.
Cycling is a great way to stay fit and you don’t need to compete at this level to reap the benefits of cycling. Hopefully some people will be inspired by the athleticism that the competitors show to make cycling part of their life. There is no more fun way to get healthy than on two wheels powered by your own internal engine.