What Is A Rest Day?



Tomorrow is a rest day on the Tour de France ,if it was me that would mean a sleep in and a day lounging around the pool doing absolutely nothing. Then again I am no athlete and and any type of exercise on a day off isn't a day off in my book. That is what rest is surely all about trying to recoup your energy and rest your tired body. A professional cyclist is a different beast though and is not really a rest day as we know it.

They may have a short lie in, but most will spend two to three hours cycling. This is to prevent any lactic acid building up in the muscles making sure they are ready for the next day of the Tour. Normally the next stage is from the same town as the rest day so no travelling is required.We tend to forget they spend time checking in and out of accommodation every day as the race doesn't stand still.


Once they have finished the bike ride they will have a healthy lunch and spend the afternoon doing sponsors commitments and any press conferences they have to do. This sounds like a day full of things and not really a rest. For them though this is more about a break from riding for hours on end every day and the tour has two such days for them to relax.

When I say a few hours of riding it is not at a high temp but it is just about getting the legs moving. Every cyclist has a different type of ride and Alberto Contador used to basically do another race leg as his gentle rest day ride. His words were that his body is used to this and he hates to change routines. he will ride a few hundred kilometers for his rest day ride whilst others will do 30 or 40 Kilometers at a slow tempo.


These are super fit athletes even if some of them are juiced up and covering sizeable distances day in and day out isn't a problem.

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I have always admired cyclists ... if you do not love this sport you cannot practice it ... too many sacrifices, training, renunciations, sweats, time taken away from the family ... then traveling hundreds of miles a day, facing the fatigue of a climb to 12 -15% and then dizzying descents ... I really respect them. they are unique examples of love for sport


I agree with what you say and it is something you have to be totally dedicated.

Some riders have a really tough time digesting a rest day. Even though they still go for a loose ride on the rest day, the break of the rythm can be very hard to handle for some people's bodies. If after a rest day there is a mountain stage, you can be sure that some of the favourites will fall through the ice that day... Luckily, Le Tour has planned an easier stage this year after this rest day. And also next Tuesday, after the second rest day is an easy stage!


I enjoy the mountain stages over all the others as the race just changes so much. Also when there are crosswinds as in the past large groups have been caught out and riders can lose minutes.

I have always been impressed by the endurance that the athletes have that compete in this contest. It is just amazing how they can climb those hills at such a rapid speed. I get winded just going up a small incline. Great point about most of them being juiced up though :)

Even on drugs cycling is grueling!! Its a tough sport.

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