Yesterday after dinner we went for a little walk to help the meal settle. The little walk involved going up a couple hundred meter hill on mowed grass. We got to the top and as we started down, I could feel my quads engage. I knew, from experience, that it was going to make me sore this morning. I said, “This is going to kill my legs.”
This guys all laughed. They couldn’t imagine how walking downhill for a few minutes would do anything to leg muscles that can rotate in circles for hours upon hours. They just didn’t get it.
I know I’m not alone in this “issue”. Professional cyclists are notorious for not wanted to stand or walk for any period at all. Especially downhill. We just don’t have the muscles for it. I don’t understand the biomechanics exactly, but for some reason, pedaling doesn’t develop those muscles.
Now, walking uphill is a different story. We can walk uphill great. But mostly, we still avoid it still.
I can tell you a story. A long time ago, National Road Championships were in Bisbee Arizona. I had just finished the Coor’s Classic, went to Aspen and then drove to Bisbee. I was pitiful at Nationals. I got spit out the back early in the race. It was the first time I’d ever been dropped out of the whole field in a race.
After the race, my brother Kris, and this friend from Kansas, Dennis decided to go to the Grand Canyon and do a week long adventure. We camped at the top and got a late start heading to the bottom on the Hermit’s Rest Trail, which is a more primitive trail that the Bright Angel or South Kaibab. We had way too much stuff in our packs, since it was so cold at the top, not realizing it was going to be 100 degrees at the bottom, 5000 feet below.
When we got to the bottom , it was late and our legs were wobbly. Like barely able to walk bad. It was so warm, we just laid on the sand on the beach by the Colorado River. I’m sure we slept like rocks, but when we woke up in the morning, we all had major issues. Like not being able to stand up issues.
I had to crawl to over to a small tree and use my arms to help me get vertical. And even then, I could barely take a step. All of us were completely incapacitated. We ended up staying there for two more nights before we could walk. Even then we turned around backwards to walk downhill the first couple days.
Same thing happened when Ned, Trudi and I hiked up Mt. Fuji in Japan, after a Specialized Cactus Cup. We hauled uphill, the about 1/2 way down, I couldn’t stop myself. Both Ned and I ended up walking the last bit backwards, while Trudi was bounding downhill completely fine.
We stayed in Tokyo for the next week and I couldn’t even step off a curb.
So, I know by experience, that cyclists have super muscles for going uphill and nothing for downhill. Standing just tires legs. It doesn’t necessarily make my legs sore, but I’m not good after Christmas shopping, etc.
So, guys I’m staying with. I told you I wouldn’t be embarrassed admitting this and would just post it. It is a fact and I can’t do anything about it.