Crashing hurts. And unfortunately it’s a part of cycling. And while broken skin is easily patched up and covered, the next day your bruised and battered body can feel like it’s been hit by a truck. Here are some recovery tips by ALP Coach Alison Powers who has had her share of run ins with the pavement (see picture).
When you hit the pavement, it can cause the obvious cuts, abrasions, road rash, bruising and swelling. But crashing can also cause inflammation in the body that we can not see. So here’s how to take care of your body:
– Get medical help if anything is seriously hurt or broken. But for minor injuries:
Clean and cover
– The first thing that needs to be done after a crash is to wash the road rash and any abrasions to the skin. It’s important to clean out the wound(s) as best as possible to avoid any infections. Once cleaned out, there are differing opinions on how to best heal road rash. Some suggest leaving the wound open to let it dry and scab, other suggest covering the rash with Tegaderm to keep it moist. My vote is Tegaderm.
– After the visible road rash, cuts and scrapes are cleaned and covered, the next thing to address is the bruising and inflammation. Anything that hurts or is already showing signs of swelling should be iced. Apply ice to painful areas for 10 minutes and plan to ice for 10 minutes of every hour (10 minutes on, 50 minutes off).
– IbuProfen is great to help inflammation and pain management from the inside out.
– I also like IbuProfen because it helps me sleep after a crash, and sleep helps healing, making it so I don’t feel as bad the next day.
– The days following a crash can be tough. Your body can hurt; new bruising, aches and pain show up; and road rash can start oozing and scabbing. You may not feel like it, but the best thing you can do is get out and move around. Either go for an easy walk or get back on your bike and spin the legs easily. This active recovery will help promote blood flow (which brings nutrients to the injured area), start to break up and move the inflammation, and gets stiff joints moving and feeling better.
– Keep icing areas that are swollen and sore and change Tegaderm or any bandages daily.
Take it easy
– Most of all, in the days following a hard crash, it’s important to remember that your body is healing. The harder the crash, the more trauma your body has to deal with and heal. So, take it easy: go on easy rides, be mindful of fueling your body with good hydration and good nutrition.
The better you can take care of your body and provide it with good nutrients, the faster it will heal itself and the faster you will be back on your bike and riding strongly.
Your questions for Alison or any of the other ALP Cyles coaches don’t need to be limited to the topic at hand. Ask them anything! Post your question in the comments below or send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #weeklywisdom or #askalp.
ALP Cycles Coaching is a Boulder-based coaching company with three female coaches at the helm: Alison Powers, Jennifer Sharp and Patricia Schwager.
Each coach brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. Roading racing, track, endurance mountain biking, time trialling, making the leap to living and racing in Europe – they’ve got you covered. Find out more about Alison Powers and her Alp Cycles coaching company at here.