SMART Ride is a 165 mile, 2 day ride. We want nothing more than for all the riders to enjoy their ride and complete as many miles each day as they would wish. In order to complete the ride without health challenges, you must prepare by training. Not only on your bike, but also preparing your core strength and muscle length. Note that if any movement is painful, you should stop doing that stretch/exercise and seek medical assistance for guidance. Pain is your body sending you a message and you must translate that through either experience or a medical professional.
Why Stretch & Strengthen?
You must have good range of motion in order to prevent your muscles from tightening on the long days on your bike. If you are not familiar with effective stretches and your range of motion is already limited it will make your days on the ride much less enjoyable. Similarly, you must have good core strength to maintain healthy riding posture all day on your bike. Otherwise, your core muscles will begin to let you down. As muscles fatigue, the body builds work-around patterns to continue pushing to reach your goals. These work-around patterns use secondary muscles to do the work of primary muscles and they can’t do that without causing more pain and tension in muscles and joints.
When to Stretch
Stretching before exercise is a good general practice. However, the stretches that make the largest difference in your program will be those done after exercise. When the muscles are hot, like after exercise, they will stretch with less resistance and retain their new length much more efficiently than after a light warm-up or when cold. Stretching after exercise helps to avoid muscle soreness and directs the muscle repair systems in the body to strengthen the connective tissue of the muscles stretched. During training, the most important time to stretch is post-ride & at breaks. However, on the event in November you should stretch every morning, at every rest stop & at Hawks Cay when you arrive.
How Far to Take a Stretch
Stretching should never be painful. Only go far enough to feel “the edge of discomfort,” no further. If you’re trying a new stretch and you don’t feel the target muscle stretching, review your instructions and try again with careful attention to the details of form.
How Long to Hold Each Stretch
The Golden Rule of stretching is to always hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds. If you are having problems with a muscle group, hold all stretches for that group one full minute.
Please honor your body’s natural goal of symmetry and stretch both sides of the body evenly with each stretch performed.