How Kate used recovery technology to complete 17 hours of cycling for 17 days
March 21, 2024

How Kate used recovery technology to complete 17 hours of cycling for 17 days

Written by Kate O, Trek athlete from New Hampshire

I have always been one to do things to the extreme, so it was no surprise to my family when I wanted to cycle across America. For all of my adult life, I have been very active to the point where I didn’t know how to sit still and enjoy quiet time. I was running almost every day, doing CrossFit five days a week, and rock climbing 2 to 3 times a week. I was always injured, preventing me from having a consistent routine with my training. As with everything in my life, it was all or nothing. I was either training really hard, or I was trying to heal.


Three years ago, I started to look at my way of doing things in my training, wondering what was missing. I stopped doing CrossFit. I stopped running. I stopped rock climbing and picked up cycling as it was less impactful on my body and joints. As you can imagine, I took cycling to the extreme as well. Every chance I got, I was on the bike and always looking for the next challenge. My low mileage quickly turned into high miles, and two months into cycling, I had already determined I wanted to cycle across America. I was going to give myself a year to prepare.


Having surrounded myself with highly successful and qualified athletes, I began to notice that many of them took time to recover. Recovery showed up in many different ways for everyone. I started to experiment with all of these ways, as I didn’t have recovery as part of my training. This was a huge game-changer for me! A dear friend, coach, and highly achievable athlete gave me some compression boots to try. This brought recovery to a whole other level for me as an endurance cyclist. This was a significant part of my training to be able to complete the Trans American bike race. It was the year that many events were not held due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Therefore, I moved my 4200-mile ride to my trainer, riding all of the GPX files to its entirety all the way to the end.


I rode my trainer 17 hours a day with four hours of prepping for the next day and focusing on my recovery. That recovery schedule/routine included falling asleep in my compression boots. At the end of the day my legs felt and looked swollen.  Having a few hours of sleep each night with my recovery boots, allowed me to feel ready for the next day. Every morning, I was able to get back on the bike and ride for 17 hours. I did this for 17 days! I could not have done this without proper recovery. My compression boots were a big part of that proper recovery. Since then, I use my recovery boots every day regardless of whether I have a strenuous workout or not. It’s great to use them everyday, as sitting at a desk (or on a plane) is not healthy and is bad for circulation.  Being constantly on the go is another great reason to use them as this forces me to sit down and give me some much needed relaxing time. When I am traveling and cannot bring my compression boots with me, I do feel slower recovery with my training and have poor sleep numbers.


Having these boots as part of my recovery ritual has made a huge improvement in healing throughout my body. Not only does it help with healing, but it also allows me to sleep on a more restorative level. This is a metric that I like to keep track of, and I do this with my Garmin smartwatch. I look at a few numbers to track this progression, not just one.  I use my Resting Heart Rate (RHR), Heart Rate Variance (HRV) as well as my sleep stages.  I have been tracking these numbers for over 4 years now, I can pretty much tell you what they are going to be before I even look at my watch data. 


Having tracked these numbers for so long, I do notice a difference in my sleep numbers and how I feel when I am traveling without my compression boots versus when I travel with my compression boots. Therefore, I make it a point to try as hard as I can to bring them with me whenever possible; they are easy to bring as a carry-on. They fit very nicely under the seats or above in the compartments. Compression boots have been a great investment for my health, as well as my recovery, and I see gains in all aspects of my health.


Recovery is often overlooked or even the first aspect of training that is “let go” or not made a priority. What most people do not understand is that it is THE most important part of training!