to put it bluntly, i usually know what i'm letting myself in for. when stuff arrives at washingmachinepost cottage for testing or review, i have generally more than the faintest inkling as to the intended nature of the review and, indeed, just how the object in question works. it doesn't take a genius to figure out how to wear a casquette, a short sleeve jersey, or how to put on a pair of bibshorts.
similarly, clipless pedals are rarely beyond the ken of even the biggest technophobe, and even i can figure out how to put a new stem and bars on any of the cycles in thewashingmachinepost bikeshed. of course, there's always the assumption that if one has placed oneself squarely in the market to carry out such wide-ranging reviews, any technical wherewithal will be second nature.
there are, now and again, exceptions to this rule; i spent an inordinate amount of time trying to unfold a brompton in completely the wrong way before realising my error. and often the boxes in which bicycles arrive state quite boldly on the top, that to ensure safety of the rider, it should only be assembled by qualified personnel. that, apparently, means me.
however, with the speed at which both technology and developments in fitness and nutrition seem to march, there's bound to be a point on the timeline when my knowledge and reality fail to match. such is the current case in hand.
much has been written and discussed regarding the wearing of compression clothing after serious exercise, as a method of resuscitating tired and aggrieved muscles, while ostensibly loafing about the house. some take this a stage further and encourage the wearing of compression clothing during the serious training we have already mentioned, but to me that seems just a step too far.
while there are many proprietary brands of compression clothing on the market, it's nice to see guys like mick and andy at prendas providing their own, alongside all those fabulous jerseys. made in italy by those who supply prendas' normal socks, the compression variety are long even by larry's standards, reaching from toe to knee. the compression is empowered by a mix of power lycra and skinlife meryl fibres, offering a graduated compression (differing pressures across the height of the lower leg and foot) and thus promoting increased circulation.
having had no experience of this procedure whatsoever, i wasn't really very sure what to expect. i've known mick and andy for a number of years, and i'm pretty sure that if this was all smoke and mirrors, they'd have sussed that at source and simply ignored from there on. their endorsement speaks volumes. however, that still didn't explain the expectation.
just in case the socks would know if i'd been cheating, i diligently went all out for a few hours on the cielo, making sure that those legs worked as hard as they could. at home time, bike carefully stored in the shed, and before divesting one's outer garments, prendas compression socks were pulled on. after lunch, i simply sat around. for a while. waiting.
the effect is subtle; so subtle, i was thinking of the emperor's new clothes, until realising a subtle nuance when marching upstairs.
if i kick ass on the bike (by my way of thinking), there's always a good hurt when climbing stairs, a hurt that lasts until bedtime. this time it was gone by teatime. sure that i may not have been kicking enough ass, i did the same again after an extended visit to jura, a trip that involves a lot of climbing and, in this case, a lot of cold, crappy weather. yet again, larry's socks did the trick.
so, on the basis of my loafing around after riding, i'm pretty sure that compression, as a means to recovery, has a degree of efficacy, and for a cost of only £14.50. in order for the socks to work, you need to check how big your calves are; makes sense: too big and no compression will be realised. check the prendas website for more details.
posted tuesday 8 june 2010..........................................................................................................................................................................................................