What I do on rest days …

What do I do on rest days?

Not much.

Yesterday was a rest day. As I mentioned previously, I have changed things up, and am planning a rest day every 3 days. But a rest day doesn’t necessarily mean putting my legs up, and do nothing. It means no hard training. Yesterday, I did 15 minutes of stretching, followed by a 30 minute, simplified core workout, and then a 2 hour walk in the afternoon.

Test days are also days that I plan to complete a few chores & errands. For example, yesterday while out for a walk, I got a haircut, shopped for electrolytes, and coffee for the week. This way I keep training days free from errands when I have less time, or want to train more.

Sometimes, rest days include a recovery ride. Other times, I’m too tired to even do errands. So, I take each rest days as they come. If I’m feeling really well, I may skip it altogether, and fit in a workout. I have also discovered I can do upper body, or core weight training sessions more often than leg workouts. I may do arms, shoulders, or core training on rest days without affecting cycling recovery.

You can see rest days are flexible. I do as little, or as much, as I feel like doing. If I feel well rested, I do more, but don’t overdo it. If I feel tired, I may do nothing.

How do I determine how I feel? Well it’s somewhat subjective. First, I check my resting heart rate after getting out of bed. If it is in the mid 30’s bpm, I’m usually well rested. I have seen it as low as 31 bpm. If it is 42+, I need to rest. I have seen it as high as 45. I also pay attention to how my legs are feeling. If they are unusually stiff, or sore when I first get up, they usually need more rest.

Rest days are key. This is when your body adapts, gets stronger, and more flexible. It is a mistake to skip them, because they enable you to train harder when you return to training. But for me, these are the most difficult days of the week. I don’t like them. For years, I never rested. I’m so accustomed to getting up, and training for a few hours.

I need to work on this.

How I schedule rest days …

I have rambled on about STRAVA several times.

I have rambled on how I didn’t like it at first because it turned every ride into a race. I rambled on about how I gradually learned to understand, and appreciate the app; how it helps me find new routes, meet other cyclists, and inspires me to train smarter.

Last year, I noticed that athletes were recording all of their workouts, not just their rides. Triathletes recorded their rides, runs, and swims. Others, recorded their weight training sessions. Some posted yoga, or Pilates sessions. And, some logged their walks.

At first, I questioned the value of doing this. Then I discovered that STRAVA has the ability to estimate my recovery, and relative freshness by using power, and relative effort data. It’s only an estimate, but consistent. When I realized this, I began recording all of my activities; indoor and outdoor rides; weight training sessions; and my daily hikes up and over “Little Mountain”. I learned when estimated fatigue is greater then the fitness measure, I am not at my peak, and this would not be the time to schedule a cycling event, or hard training session.

The more I monitored this, the more I realized it’s accuracy.

I am recovered when Form is zero or higher. I use this to schedule rest days, rest weeks, and training sessions. I use it to plan when to do intervals, repeat hill climbs, and recovery, endurance, and tempo rides. Some days, I feel like working harder, and I do. Other days, just the opposite. I have learned to trust how I feel, and not to train because I had planned to train that day.

After years of training, I trust how I feel. And, I have STRAVA to thank for that.

What recovery looks like …

What does a recovery week look like?

I know what it looks like. I just haven’t been doing it this past year. All cycling events were cancelled because of COVID, and without one to train for, I became less disciplined. I still cycled, and set new goals, but my training was less structured. Although COVID is still with us, and very likely events will be cancelled again, I plan to return to a more structured schedule. For me, that means monthly training blocks with 3 weeks on, and 1 week off.

This week is a recovery week, the first in a very long time.

What will it look like?

Well, the plan is to only stretch, and walk, for 3 days. Maybe longer if I am still feeling tired, or my RHR is elevated. Over the years, I have developed dynamic and static stretching flows that take approximately 45 minutes to complete. I’ll do them every morning after a cup of coffee. Also, if you have been following this blog, you know I walk for 1-2 hours every day, usually up and over “Little Mountain”. I’ll continue to do that but take the easiest route to the top, and only climb it once. I’ll try to get more sleep, eat well, and reduce as much stress as I can.

I’ll also spend time reviewing my training during this past month. You can see in the above schematic that I trained every day during January. Usually that included 1 or more sessions on the smart trainer, a targeted weight workout, and a walks over “Little Mountain”, averaging about 20 hours per week.

Was this the right amount? The right distribution? Or, was it too much? These are the questions I will explore over the next few days, with the intent to come up with a more effective plan for February.

The following STRAVA schematics show that I completed over 100 training activities over almost 90 hours, cycling almost 745 km on the trainer with an elevation gain of over 11,000 metres, representing a 21% increase in “Fitness” during this period. Whatever that means.

So, what did these training session look like?

I follow a local professional triathlete on STRAVA. She has completed over 40 triathlons all over the world. This past summer she was hit by a truck while training on her bike, and broke her neck. She can’t run, or ride on the rode yet, but she has been spending a lot of time racing on SWIFT. She has taught me how to mix trainer session up. Sometimes she will do long sessions from 2-4 hours. I find these mentally difficult. Other times, she will do a series of shorter ones for 30-45 minutes. I liked this idea, and began doing 3 shorter sessions with a modified weight workout between each trainer session. These workouts would take me 2+ hours, and I felt they were more effective than longer sessions. I would vary the 3 bike sessions. For example, I might start with a 30 minute flat tide, followed by a 30 minute climb, and finish with a short climb with a fast descent. And between each ride, I would do a 20-30 minute weight session focusing on different areas of the body.

I liked this approach. It gave me an opportunity to try a variety of virtual rides. This helped to keep me motivated, and challenged. Over the next few days, I will consider how I can improve on this approach. I’ll also refine the training mix. This time of year. I like to spend more time on strength training, and working on specific cycling skills.

I’ll also evaluate my walking sessions. I have been making them progressively longer, faster, and more difficult. Do I continue doing this, or spend more time on the bike?

That is what my recovery week looks like. A time to rest, reflect, and re-evaluate. At the end of the recovery period, I’ll do another FTP test. This will help me establish a new plan.

Training hacks …

I have to admit. I am a Juliet Elliott fan.

Juliet is not a cycling professional, although she makes her living cycling. She is a YouTuber with thousands of followers. She is also an accredited cycling coach. She has raced in all disciplines, and has some down to earth, practical training suggestions. Her latest video outlines what not to do.

I agree with all of her suggestions. Do I follow them. Unfortunately not. My biggest downfall is not resting enough. I just reviewed my “Training Log” on Strava. For the past 12 weeks, I have not taken any days off, or for that matter, a week off. I have included a few days of reduced intensity. I suppose that helps recovery, but my legs feel the consequences of over training. They feel heavy, and tired. Once I get moving, they begin to feel better, but as each days passes, I notice the fatigue building.

Generally, I follow a three week on, one week off training cycle. The week off may not be off completely, but considerably reduced intensity and duration. Shorter rides. Fewer climbs. No weight training. For some reason, I got away from this pattern. I think COVID is partly responsible. With all of the cycling events cancelled, there was nothing specific to train for. Also, despite my age, I seem to recover quickly. I sleep 7-8+ hours nightly, and my resting heart rate is consistently 32-35 bpm. If it is elevated above this, I’ll go easy for a day.

This is not good enough. I know that. Recovery weeks are as important, maybe more important, than the training itself. I have to be more disciplined about this, if I expect to make gains.

So, I’m turning over a new leaf. Beginning in February, I’m going to return to the 3 week on, 1 week off schedule, with the first week of every month as a rest week. Rest will not mean doing nothing. I’ll ride, but not for as long or as hard. I’ll walk, and stretch more. I’ll use the roller, and massage gun every day. I may even take a hot bath. I’ll rest. During the following 3 weeks, I will gradually increase the volume and intensity of the workouts. Longer, more difficult rides. More weight training volume. FulGaz has an FTP training programme lasting 8-12 weeks. In addition to exploring the Spain, Italy, and France on the trainer, I’ll complete 2-3 of these training rides each week. These workouts will provide the structure I have been missing this past year. And, when the weather permits, I’ll get outside on a bike. I haven’t done that for 2 months.

That’s the plan. There may be cycling events this season. If so, I want to be prepared. If not, I’ll arrange one myself.

One last thought about STRAVA … 🤦🏻

I have one more thought about STRAVA.

When I first began using the app, I didn’t think of it as a journal or training log. For years I kept a spreadsheet detailing every workout, and training goals. At some point along my STRAVA journey, I realized there was no need. STRAVA actually keeps a more detailed record of every workout, helps me set goals, and monitors my progress. I use it to record strength workouts, walks & hikes, indoor smart trainer sessions, in addition to outdoor rides. Everything all in one place.

When I first began using STRAVA, I underestimated its usefulness. Now, years later 😂, I understand it’s value and potential for athletes of all levels.

Give it a try, if you haven’t already ✌️

Thoughts on STRAVA … 🚴🏻

Unexpectedly, STRAVA has opened new doors for me.

I never appreciated the social features of STRAVA as much as I have since the start of the COVID lockdowns.

I have a new set of cycling mates 😂 I actively follow local cyclists that get out regularly to learn new routes, and share “kudos” and messages of encouragement. Since all of the cycling events have been cancelled, and group rides discouraged, I look forward to sharing rides with my new friends.

I follow men and women of all ages that live in the area, that have cycled 3,000+ km to-date this year. I’m surprised how many serious cyclists live nearby. And, I’m surprised how strong, and fast some of them are. Stronger, and faster than me ☹️ Some are a real inspiration. One woman gets out EVERY morning at dawn for a walk and coffee posting beautiful pictures of the sun rise. Another young woman, who just returned from Europe after completing her PhD, completes all of the local routes in record times. One fellow, a local cycling coach, climbs all of the local mountain regularly.

My new mates are an inspiration. They get out regularly, and encourage me to do the same. I actually feel I’m letting them down if I don’t ride 🤷‍♂️ And, they don’t just post rides. They also record swims, walks, SWIFT sessions, and Peleton workouts.

I walk a lot these days, taking every opportunity to get outside, and have begun to record these as well. A walk is a workout, right?

If you aren’t already using STRAVA’s social aspect, I encourage you to check it out.

Packed … 😞

Well, I’m packed.

It’s a bitter sweet moment. I’m sad to leave, yet pleased to go home.

I have been at the cottage for 2 1/2 months, mostly on my own, without TV or internet. Few would think this would be much of a holiday. No amenities. A lot of cycling. 200-250 km a week. A lot of reading. 10 eBooks – biographies, historical and mystery novels. And, simple, wholesome meals.

Time alone helps me focus. I train better. I’m more sensitive to what needs the most attention. Cycling is different in these parts. The terrain is flatter but there is a relentless north-westerly wind almost every day. I ride on the drops mostly, and stay on the small ring when fighting a headwind. I eat better. I prepare simple vegetarian meals – vegetable wraps, frittatas, salads, sandwiches. No desserts. No sweets. And, I sleep better. To bed at dusk and at sunrise. This is the recipe for successful training, and why I have begun to refer to the cottage as Camp PedalWORKS.

On the side of my bike travel case, I have an oval sticker of a cyclist heading down a windy road. What do you think? Would this make a good tattoo? And, if so, where would you put it? On the forearm where it can be readily seen and enjoyed? On the back of the calve so those in hot pursuit know you will not be easily passed?

What are your thoughts?

I’m serious about this. I figure it’s about time. While I was packing my bike this afternoon I began looking more carefully at this sticker, and thought, it is me. It is how I enjoy cycling most. Alone on quiet, rural roads. It would make the perfect tattoo for a cycling enthusiast like me.

How appropriate! The perfect tattoo 😏


I’ve been at the cottage a month today. 


I’ve been at the cottage a month today.

Alone without TV, or the internet.

Time has passed quickly. I’m never bored or lonely. There is always something to do. Cycle. Shop. Cook. Eat. Read. Cut the grass. Vacuum the floors. Write. Text the kids.

I have accomplished a lot. I found necessary services easily. A gym nearby that I never knew existed. A hair cutter that does a better job than the one at home. A group of like minded cyclists who do a weekly group ride. A contractor to install double-paned windows. A local shop where I could purchase a light touring kayak I have wanted for years. An arborist to trim back a 50 foot blue spruce. A contractor to install a gas fireplace. And, a seamstress to make curtains for the bedroom windows.

I’ve read 5 books. eBooks that I could find, and pay for easily. Books from a summer reading list provided by a gym colleague I respect. Books that have given me insight into South African apartheid, the Haiti earthquake, cycling around the world on a “safety”, West Coast indigenous culture, and a “who-done-it” set in northern Ontario cottage country. And, I listen to CBC Radio One throughout the day. It’s commercial-free, informative, and an entertaining glimpse into Canadian culture.

I cycle everyday. Well, everyday it doesn’t rain. There is always wind. A north westerly wind ranging from 10-30 kph. A hurting wind that tests my metal. No matter which direction I head out, I always find the wind. If not on the way out, on the way back. I ride on-the-drops most of the time. There may not be hills, but there is wind.

I eat well. Homemade energy gels for cycling made with dates, raisins, lemon and lime juice, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt. Homemade post-ride smoothies made with berries, banana, more peanut butter, and almond milk. Frittata. Quinoa salads. Cold pasta and vegetable salads. Imaginative stir fry with rice. Wraps with tofu, rice, vegetables, and baby spinach. And, veggie burgers when I want a quick, easy meal.

This is the first year I have been here in the spring to witness the area awaken. The leaves form and blossom on the trees. The Canada Geese parading by with their young in tow. Mosquitos. Lots of them. This has been an unusually wet spring, perfect breeding ground for the little pests. Higher than usual water levels, the result of unusual rainfall. Farmers ploughing and sowing their fields. Weekenders arriving to open up their cottages, and launch their boats for the season. And birds. Geese, Osprey. Herons. Loons. Owls. Robins, And, a plethora of wetland birds I’m unable to name. All harmonizing to the tune that is spring.

I’ve frequently seen the hot, humid summer days. And, the cooler, more colourful fall ones. But I have seldom witness spring here.

It’s the change of seasons that I miss on the West Coast.

Rest days … 😠


Rest Days.

They are the hardest. Harder than repeat hill climbs. Harder than all out sprints. Harder than a century ride. Resting when the weather is sunny and warm is difficult. I don’t mind taking a day off when it is raining or cold, but when the weather is nice, I’d rather be cycling.

This time of year, I have to force myself to rest. I know I must. I know that rest is as important as working out. I know that if I don’t rest, my workouts will suffer. I know that without sufficient rest, I am more prone to injury. I know that as I age, it is even more important. I know that full recovery takes longer now. As carefully as I manage my sleep and diet, I must still rest. I am careful to get 8-10 hours of sleep a night. At Camp PedalWORKS, I go to bed when the sun sets, and rise when it comes up the next morning. And, my meal plans include a 4-1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins, proportions recommended by many coaches.

So, at least once a week (sometimes more frequently), I take a day off. No cycling. No gym workouts. A day to putter, do household chores, food shop, clean and tune the bike, and these days, sit in the sun.

When I was younger, it didn’t seem to matter as much. I recovered more easily. Or, thought did. I was invincible. I also suffered a number of injuries that I still suffer from today. I wonder why 🤔

So, today is a rest day. I drove to the dump to discard some “hazardous materials”, old paint cans, and met up with a local cycling legend for coffee. Like me, he is a “senior”, and organizes weekly, Sunday morning group rides in the lake region ranging from 30-100 km. I have decided to join them for the summer while I’m at Camp PedalWORKS to help prepare for the 2017 Whistler Gran Fondo, meet other road cyclists in the area, and learn new cycling routes.

Last week, I discovered a gym that I didn’t know existed. And today, I discovered a cycling group, some of who are also training for the 2017 Whistler Gran Fondo.

It is a small world.

Hydrotherapy … 🤔



I spent the past weekend in Whistler|Backcomb where my daughter treated me to a Scandinavian Spa experience. I was sceptical. I have a steam bath most days at the club. Why would I want one with a whole lot of other people for 3 hours?

Boy, was I wrong. I can’t wait to do it again!

Do you know what hydrotherapy is? I didn’t. I get wet a lot, but never considered it as therapy.

This is how the Scandinave Spa Whistler’s website defines hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy is the use of water with contrast in temperature to revitalize, maintain and restore health. The recuperative and healing properties of hydrotherapy are based on its thermal effects. Generally, heat quiets and soothes the body. Cold, in contrast, stimulates and invigorates, increasing internal activity. Alternating hot and cold water improves elimination of toxins, decreases inflammation and stimulates circulation.

For 3 hours we wandered the facility, experiencing the heated pools, saunas, cold baths, and relaxation rooms. Heat for 10-15 minutes 😀 Cold water for 10-20 seconds 😕 And, then relation rooms for 10-15 minutes 😀 We did this circuit 5 times.

Oh. I forgot. You can’t talk. There are hush signs everywhere 🤐 Three hours of heat, cold, relaxation, and quiet. That was the hardest part. I’m gregarious by nature. I like talking with people, even if I have never met them before. I didn’t dare make eye contact with anyone.

At the end, we sat in the sun with a warm cup of tea before having a cleansing shower.

Now I take my steam baths at the club differently. I stay in 10-15 minutes, take a cold shower for as long as I can stand it, wash off in warm water, and then slowly towel off, dress, and pack up.

Heat. Cold. Relax.