Accelerate recovery and improve the adaptations
The work you put in on the bike is only half the battle. Maximise the potential your commitment and dedication has afforded you through a number of scientifically proven modalities from compression and massage to targeted nutritional interventions and, securing the proliferation of the adaptations which will see you take your performance to the next level.
Although there is little evidence that stretching can help in the acute phase of recovery, this does not diminish the value which is has for a sport such as cycling, where the body is being placed in an unbalanced position from an anatomical, postural standpoint. It is true that our body will adapt to the demands which we place on it, and the imbalances are to an extent an aid to our performance, meaning that we do not want to totally disrupt or undo those adaptations. However, having muscles that lack a functional range of motion do place us at a greater predisposition to injury, which flies in the face of the one thing that will bring about results, consistency, so spending ten minutes every evening before bed carrying out a simple stetching routine can help keep that at bay, not to mention the other benefits in terms that a greater range of motion can bring, such as aerodynamics.
Booking a regular appointment with a physical therapist should certainly be a consideration for any cyclist or athlete training and competing on a regular basis. As we train and race hard, a tearing of the muscle at the cellular level occurs, with a protein known as collagen then being released in order to regulate and repair this damage. Ultimately, it is this breakdown and subsequent repair which sees the muscle adapt to become fitter and stronger, however the extent to which our body produces collagen is not perfect, with an overproduction resulting in the adhesion of the muscle fibres responsible for propelling us forward. This adhesion in turn results in a lower availability of blood and in turn vital nutrients, as well as a reduction in the capacity of the muscle to store carbohydrate, all of which are vital for performance. This adhesion if built up over time can also result in the referral of pain and a weakness in the working muscle, which can in turn lead to injuries and time off the bike.