Peter Stetina Checking in from the Giro d’Italia
Hello from Italy! As I write this, I am currently compressing with my RecoFit full-leg compression sleeves on one of our far too few rest days (we get two over the 23 days of racing). Recovery really has become the name of the game at this point, especially with the luck our team has had. Things started out well in the first four days, but with an abnormally horrible Italian spring, we have been skewered and left for dead. We lost Ryder Hesjedal, our team captain and defending champion, to sickness on stage 11. I personally have dealt with bad allergies, followed immediately with sickness, a round of antibiotics, a crash which has caused my right hip to stop functioning properly and then, two days ago, another crash in the wet, this time on the other side of my body. Just to even things out.
[Below: The start of the Giro d’Italia in Naples at the teams presentation]
So as we lay here, trying to pick up the pieces for one final push through the last week, it really is all about recovery. I need to recover from all that crappy luck mentioned above, while still racing five hours every day. The silver lining, though, exists in that in a month of racing, you can crash and regrow skin, get sick and fully recuperate, fail and succeed. There is so much time to remedy something. There is always mañana.
And believe it or not, I think I am finally starting to claw my way out of this dark hole I find myself in! There are a handful of brutal mountainous days coming up that would suit the “healthy Pete.” I am hoping to make the most of one of them. To do so, I have to focus 100% on recovering not only my health, but from each day’s intense physical race effort on top of that. So, in light of this, I thought I’d share some of my recovery tips:
Nutrition: I know this is obvious. But we have it down to a science. When you are putting down a Thanksgiving meal three times daily, your gut is getting even more of a workout than your legs! So it’s not only what we eat, but the order in which we eat it. No bread to start at the table, as that creates a “plug” in the stomach, forcing your body to spend precious energy digesting instead of repairing muscles. Our chef also blends fruit into smoothies to get a more concentrated nutrient kick without the added mass. After the stage, we immediately fuel up with gut-friendly rice, an omelette, and two team-created recovery shakes.
Compression: The Giro is notorious for long transfers in between stages. Often, after finishing a stage at 5:30 p.m. (for TV ratings), we face a two-hour drive. This is when the RecoFit leggings really become my best friend. Then, finally, around 7 p.m., the massage rounds start, and one might stretch or use a foam roller during this time as well. This is followed by dinner at 9 p.m.and any personal down time from 10 p.m. until bed. Then we rise and do it all over again.
Sleep: Again, another obvious one, but it is so important. The stage doesn’t truly end until after dinner. So much effort and thought has to go into what you do and how you do it. It is extremely taxing on your nervous system to always be switched on, even if your heart rate isn’t skyrocketing. So sleep is the true down time, even though that’s part of the game as well!
There shouldn’t really be any reason we couldn’t race a 22nd stage if need be. But I can tell you, that in years past, after the final day, a nice dinner, a few glasses of wine and no focus on recovery, I am absolutely wrecked. Wrecked as in I can’t walk up the stairs, legs feel like they’ve been smashed with a baseball bat. It’s amazing when you do everything right, really focus on all the small nuances of recovery, how well your body can recover day after day.
About the Blogger
Peter StetinaTeam: Garmin-Sharp
Birth Place: Boulder, Colorado
Current Residence: Santa Rosa, CA
Strengths: Climbing, Stage Racing
Pete was born in Boulder, Colo., and now resides in Santa Rosa, Calif., with his fiancé, Dyanna, and their dog, Loba. He began racing mountain bikes and gradually transitioned to road cycling. He has competed twice in the Giro d’Italia, and last year was a key ingredient in the overall victory of his team. When not away racing, he enjoys taking his dog to the park, cooking, brewing his own beer and training through the beautiful Sonoma wine country. Pete uses RecoFit as an important tool to combat swollen travel legs, as his schedule takes him all over the world, and also to aid in recovering day after day during a stage race.
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