ASK RIDE… What techniques do the pros use on long rides to keep the legs feeling good?

My question
Stretching on the bike – what techniques do the pros use on long rides to
keep the legs feeling good?
Mick (Strathfield NSW)
Well, stretching on the ride depends if you are in the middle of the race or have all the time in the world on a leisurely ride.  In the race, there is only so much you can stretch while rolling along at 40kmh.  To get the hamstrings, I will stand up on the pedals with straight legs and hunch low over the handlebars to get a good stretch.  Also from this position, drop both the heels as far as they’ll go and stretch the calves.

Then you can get the quads by standing up, unclipping one foot, and putting it behind you with the toe across the seat.  Then sink down a bit to feel the stretch.  Just dont crash.  And if youre really confident mid-race like my former teammate Will Frischkorn, you can swing off to the side, get off your bike, sit down in a twist position and give the back a good crack in each direction, then hop back into the race.  Not recommended though…might be more effort than its worth unless your back REALLY needs a cracking.

Likewise, if you do have time while stopped at the gas station, you can stretch those tight IT bands.  Stand facing the side of your bike with one hand on the bars and one on the saddle.  The throw the outside of one foot up on the top tube with that leg bent 90 degrees, and feel the stretch down the side of your leg.  And too blow out the rib cage a bit for those breathing muscles, i like to get in a pointy “diver” position and stretch it out towards the sky and then down to each side, really getting a good stretch in the side body and spreading out the ribs.
So thats my short and sweet mid ride stretching routine.  Hope it can work for you too! Timmy Duggan

Timmy Duggan is a professional rider with the  Garmin-Transitions Pro Cycling Team. He also works closely with the Just Go Harder Foundation which is dedicated to providing youth with opportunities for participation and mentorship in cycling and ski racing.
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