Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Nap


For a PRO, the nap is de riguer, as much a fact of the life as training or crashing. It is part of the daily arc of a PRO’s life that makes them as alien to us as, well, the experience of pounding cobbles in the big ring. For the Average Joe, the nap is one of life’s stolen enjoyments, dessert for the legs. To take a post-ride nap is indeed a guilty pleasure for anyone who has pledged their life to others. Once there is a wife or children in the picture, any hour devoted to the comatose state of the spent is an hour stolen.

Over the years, I’ve noticed a number of species of naps. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Versus Nap: This nap can be found most frequently during the coverage of short stage races. Long road stages where breaks go up the road and are absorbed in between commercial breaks can lull the watcher into a supremely relaxed state reassured that the PROs are hitting it hard. No matter how interesting we find the unfolding of events, we can find ourselves waking to the shock that Alexandre Moos is no longer in the lead group. What happened? If you have ever used Tivo to rewind the action, you’ve taken this nap.

The Enforced Nap: This one can be identified by the salt crystals left behind on the blanket. Like the Versus Nap, it is generally taken near the TV, but the difference is this nap comes as a crushing blow to the consciousness. We see them coming and have time enough to select a position, no more. They frequently begin before we’ve had a shower, sometimes even before finishing a post-ride meal. We wake a little disoriented, sometimes an hour or two after the lights went out. Mouth open, cats and dogs have been known to climb on and off unnoticed during the course of this incredible recovery aid. On waking, our guilt usually gets us to the shower and productive even before we have gained an awareness of how much better we feel.

The Optioned Nap: The rarest nap of them all. Faced with options including items from the honey-do list, the bike work our baby deserves, unfinished work from the previous week’s work, it is that odd weekend afternoon when we are on our own and have just few enough tasks on the plate that we feel confident we can catch an hour or two of shut-eye before rejoining the human race. We fluff the pillows, climb in bed, sometimes even set an alarm and settle in for a special weekend-afternoon edition of the best recovery aid of them all.

We can do all the miles we want, but everyone knows that getting fast requires recovery. Here’s to the speed that sleep brings.

18 comments:

Parker Holt said...

I LOVE the Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon nap, following a good hard effort earlier in the day. Turn off EVERYTHING and get in the bed, under the covers and sleep, not doze, for a couple of hours.

megA said...

ride
soak in hot tub of salts
crawl into bed warm and nekked. . .

i am so PRO at napping

Anonymous said...

You forgot the "Sneak Attack Nap". It's the one that overwhelms me when I'm sitting in my office chair, usually after a meal. I'll be surfing Velonews, BKN, and others on the internet and then the phone rings ripping me awake. I wipe the nap-spit from the corner of my mouth and realize that I was briefly in the arms of Morpheus.

Garnet said...

As a college student, I find myself most frequently napping with a book on my face (or my face in a book, whichever object gravity sees fit to act upon). I'll take a ride before dinner, shower, eat, and go to the library to hit the books. The I'll wake up at 9 with spit stains on whichever page was unfortunate enough to become my ad hoc pillow. Not exactly the most productive way to get work done, but who am I to deny the urges of the body, especially those brought on by the lifestyle I've chosen?

Padraig said...

The Sneak Attack Nap does seem to deserve it's own category. I considered it a variation on the Enforced Nap, but can see it merits its own mention. It happens to me most often in that first hour at my desk following a ride, whether in the morning or at lunch.

And I WISH I was a PRO at napping.

Todd Colby said...

Oh you are so good! Wonderful!

Anonymous said...

i work 20 hours a week, ride 20 hours a week, and nap every day.....still light years from being a PRO.
keep em coming BKW
Surferbruce

Holden said...

In my house we call the Optioned Nap the Full Surrender or White Flag Nap. When you crawl into bed and get under the covers, you've waved the White Flag and surrendered. The other naps allow you to say, "I just fell asleep."

rmckittr said...

I am not nearly PRO, but I am a teacher who gets home every afternoon by about 2:30 or 3:00. 50% of the time I steal a short nap before training in the late afternoon/early evening. I would be lost without this nap.

Jim said...

I'm totally down with the Post Shower Kip. It sets in after long base rides, or hard 2-3 hour group rides.

Get home, throw down a smoothy (3-4 pieces of fruit, ice, soy milk, maybe some sports drink mix if I'm real spent), take a hot shower, shave the face, shave the legs if there's stubble, towel off, comb the hair, turn on the ceiling fan, lay on the bed on top of the covers, put a pillow or three underneath my feet and just enjoy the. . .

Where was I? 15 minutes to two hours later, I get up and have a very productive day, legs loose, mind and body fresh, wife only mildly irritated. "But you were only going upstairs to take a shower..." I can deal with the hassle because it's the best I'll feel physically all week.

Anonymous said...

Great topic, great entry. I always called my favorite naps Dog Naps. For years I worked 4a-noon shifts, then rode, then came home to my Pembroke Welsh Corgi and a few free hours before the wife returned. The dog would watch me eat, then she would yawn--the signal--and we'd both end up on the couch with bike racing or the Masters (best nap TV of all) fading behind our eyelids.

Anonymous said...

great post! My day is somewhat like this: get up at 9, eat, train, dinner, nap, study... "The Nap" is lifesaving

Roman Holiday said...

"Rest = Recovery = Improvement"

oldFonzie said...

I used to train with a guy who was a pro, former teammate with Sean Kelly.

He introduced me to the mid-training ride nap. Go out and ride 120 kilometers. Stop and drink a six pack. Pass out. Wake up and ride home.

Anonymous said...

Oldfonzie, thats hard-man! Jim - wife only mildly irritated. You have her trained well. Mine is not nearly as PRO!
AussieJoe.

Brewmeister said...

I call the Vs. nap, the Phil and Paul Blanket Show. It seems their voices have a soporific effect. Nearly guaranteed after a long ride.
HH

Dan said...

I remember the Versus nap well and the OLN nap best...2002 especially. Work until midnight or 1 am at the coffee shop, return home for the two World Cup games, then, dear god, somehow try to stay up for the Tour as well...bloody murder...and bloody awesome. The Tour must always be watched live...even if live means on a drool stained pillow, with headphones on, trying not to wake the spouse...

Erik said...

The Nap Denied is my favorite nap. Even though it hurts it is so worth it. Thanks BKW for motivating me! No where near PRO but I'll work on it.