What phenomenon is this that happened in a recovery ride

OK not all the time it happened but after a really hard block or race your leg gets super fatigued. Your muscle is tired, you can’t produce any power, when you do an easy ride even in endurance zone you get that lactic burns, when you touch your quads you can feel part of it is super duper tight, all achy, it’s like a minor cramp inside the muscle without the pain.

But sometimes when you do a recovery ride with all those things happening… About an hour in, or after the ride you stopped rest, eat cakes, then get back on the bike again in the same day… POOF all the sudden the legs work again. Its still super fatigued but the lactate all the sudden decreases, and the muscle losses up no more tightness.

What is happening there? It’s almost like the leg just miraculously changed all the sudden. If you don’t do a ride until you’re recovered you’ll be super flat, almost like coming out of base phase.

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must be the cakes :grinning:


Would guess it’s some combo of getting extra blood flow to the muscles, endorphins kicking in, easing the muscle tension by getting them moving, and a sugar hit from the cake.

Even without the cake I’ve had a similar thing happen to me quite often on group rides. I’ll drag myself out of bed despite not really feeling like it because I agreed to meet people there, spend the first hour feeling lethargic and hiding at the back of the group, then at some point start feeling better and by the end I’m smashing it on the front. Have also had times when I think I simply didn’t eat enough after a hard ride and am still glycogen depleted the next day, a slice of cake is just what I need to get me going again! Rarely happens on indoor rides though, I think because I rarely have the mental fortitude to push past that hour mark when I’m sat at home on my own and having to pedal constantly vs having the peer pressure to keep going on a group ride plus all the coasting you get when outside with a draft.


Agreed, I was on a long ride this past weekend, and felt like crap for the first 60 miles, couldn’t muster up anything above like 80%. After some more consistent eating and smooth pedaling legs ‘woke up’ and was able to smash hills at will.

I think it’s a similar phenomenon to the warm up on the indoor workouts. I always feel like garbage during the first intensity block, even if it’s just high % sweet spot, god forbid it’s a threshold or vo2 max, even for 2 minutes my legs are on fire and I feel like there’s NO way I’ll get through the workout. First interval is always a sufferfest, but by the time I get to the second I’m ok. I have no clue what the cause is, but I’m thinking it’s just the body going from recovery mode to workout mode, and the ramp up takes a little time to engage, especially after a hard block in the lead up.


I did a bergomaster workout one time…not some cobbled together thing but a real-deal bergomaster workout on a Wingate machine…next day took blood lactate readings and for the first 12 minutes of the ramp my lactate actually went DOWN until it steadied out and went back up. (that was a really crap ramp, btw. I don’t recommend that to anyone)

So one possibility is that you had residual lactate in the system from working hard. A little light pedalling will use that up w/in a half an hour.

Possibility number two! It takes about 45 minutes to absorb caffeine consumed in liquid form.