So here’s something more constructive in my blog and on a slightly less flippant post. She who must be obeyed decided that she wanted to join a gym, I hope that this is because she wants to keep herself in good shape rather than wanting to be around an army of young and healthy men (pause for thought). Anyway, I went along with her as a guest for her first session (with a female trainer I am pleased to note). Whilst my wife went though her new training program I entertained myself by using some of the equipment in the gym. I did a run, some free weights and quite a few sets on a leg squat machine. Given that I have been exercising my legs by cycling I did not hold back on the leg weights and did a fairly hard session. We both finished off with a swim and an exhausted lay down in the steam room.
The next day I was predictably fairly stiff in the legs but on request of my wife we went for a 10km bike ride – nothing too strenuous but enough to loosen aching muscles, during the ride I noticed something extraordinary – my ability to quickly pick up speed improved greatly and going up hills was so much easier, so much so that after our ride I went for a tester ride up my local “hill of pain”. This hill is about 1.5 miles away and it is about 800 to 1000 meters long and very steep in parts. Anyway I found myself shooting up the hill at an average of nearly 10 mph (as opposed to 6 – 7 mph before). I was also doing the hill 3 gears higher than I did before and I kept it in that gear for the whole ride.
So here’s the point – in no way am I suggesting that one gym session made such a dramatic improvement in my riding ability but, having ridden my bike for 3 months or so with no alternate exercise, I think you muscles become “locked and jaded” in that one motion of turning the pedals, by doing a gym session it allowed my muscles to “straighten” out and take advantage of the previous cycle work but at the same time removed the jaded feeling of the same exercise all the time.
I would advise other Mambos to try this, if you feel that you are cycling more and more but seeing no real overall improvement from all your effort. I am certainly going to try and go to the gym once a week with my wife and see if this helps (and just to check out the other men at the gym are not being too friendly with my wife - grrrrr) – I will use the following day as my one day a week rest from exercise though. I shall let you know if I see the same improvements continuing long term (though I don’t expect such a massive jump in performance next time though).