10. Beer. Surprised we said that, aren’t you? Even we can’t deny how delicious a cold beer tastes after riding 67 km of gnarly terrain. Timing is everything, however. Hydration and recovery first, beer second. Your muscles (and stomach!) will thank you.
9. Finish line hugs. Nothing feels better than having your friends and family celebrate your victory with you. Crossing that finish line is a major achievement and it is wonderful to have someone to share it with. Bonus points if you are covered in mud and/or blood and your cheering squad are all wearing white.
8. Take a million photos with your bike, your other race buddies, and your fans. This is so when you are lying on the couch later on that night and can’t move, you have lots to look back on. Whether it’s your first Test of Metal, or your 8th, each experience is different and memorable and requires at least one selfie.
7. Hang out! Just because you crossed the finish line, doesn’t mean the party is over! This event is so successful thanks to the many vendors that participate, so take the time to check out new bike gear, buy a souvenir item, try on some sunglasses, watch the Lumberjack show and stick around to maybe snag a sweet draw prize. Come for the ride, but stay for the swag and to hear about other people’s experiences. Celebrating is way more fun with 800 other sweaty people.
6. Take a wee nap. Even a quick 15 – 20 minute catnap in your car, or on the grass can reset your system and provide the boost of alertness you need to hang in there for the rest of the afternoon. A good night’s sleep is what your body needs to repair and recover, so once the party is over, head home for a solid 8 hours of shut eye.
5. Share your battle story. Think of the Test of Metal like the opposite of Fight Club. ALL you should do IS talk about it. Your friends will eventually tire of your non stop play by play of each and every gruelling kilometer, but until they do, keep talking. Bragging rights are part and parcel of being a racer.
4. Get a massage and stretch! Find a friend and get them to give you a few minutes of glorious massage. Focus on loosening large muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings, which have been powering your bike for the last many hours. Don’t neglect your upper body either. Take time to stretch your neck, shoulders and forearms as these areas can become tight after staying in one position on your bike. Massage also helps you relax and reduce stress, and is a great way to wind down after the adrenaline of your race.
3. Roll, baby, roll. If you can’t find a friend, this is the best form of self-massage. The worst thing you can do is get off your bike and sit down. You may not get back up. Foam rolling is a great way to break up adhesions and scar tissue and speed up the heading and recovery process. It also makes stretching more effective, since the muscles are more pliable. Check out the Muscle MLK recovery zone for mats and rollers to help ease your pain.
2. Chill in the #MuscleMLK Recovery Zone in our legendary hot seat. We’re bringing the bean bag chair back, and trust us, you won’ t want to leave this cozy spot. In fact, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a #MuscleMLK, which brings us to our last point…
1. You know what the number one way to recover is…we’ve saved the best for last. Drink a #MuscleMLK! After you have put pedal to the metal for 3 hours or more, you need to feed your body the fuel it needs to recover. Consuming protein in the 30 – 45 minute window after exercise is optimal for muscles to repair. You might be surprised how much protein you need after doing an intense event like this, but remember that you can’t absorb it all at once. Assume you need 1 gram of protein (or more!) per kg of body weight. Try to spread out this intake throughout the day, with the focus being immediately after the event, and the recovery meal that follows.
See you at the finish line!