Like most cyclists, I have trouble sitting still. So when recovery days roll around (or force their way in), I tend to panic at the idea of lounging around. There’s nothing worse than waking up to a day filled with sunshine and cooler air and then remembering that I’m supposed to spend it taking it easy so my body can grow stronger.
So I decided to try an active recovery ride. When I’ve attempted them on the trainer in the past, my impatience always got the better of me and before long, my speed crept up until I was happily working away in the aerobic zone, doing the opposite of recovering.
My husband joined me and off we rode. One eye on the heart rate monitor, I pedaled away, backing off every time a hill and my heart rate peaked. And it’s true, the pace is equal to a snail’s and I’m sure a few grandmas could have easily pedaled past me. Normally I’m chasing my husband up and down the topography, but today we were competing for the lowest heart rate and admiring bits of scenery that often missed when you’re tucked into the drops, descending at 30+ mph.
The world slowed around us as we stopped for sandwiches and espresso as the locals savored coffee and newspapers. Back on the road, we watched turtles soak in the sun on the edge of a fallen log. As we coasted along, I recalled why I loved riding my bike in the first place. Back when it wasn’t about average speeds and pace lines, but the freedom to explore the world and to let the wind and rolling wheels carry me to new places.