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  1. #1
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    Gave blood a week ago then decided to race cyclocross seriously - recovery tips?

    After a long, ferocious, successful-for-me race season, I gave a pint of blood on Saturday, August 30. I am O- (universal donor) and they call me frequently to give blood. Since the season was over and I was only planning to do a few cyclocross races, it seemed like a good time to give.

    I raced the first CX of the season yesterday (Sunday) and it went MUCH better than I expected. I led the 2nd lap, but then cracked and slid back to 5th before recovering just a little to 4th. I'm pretty sure if I'd had all my red blood cells, I could have stayed out front.

    Two big races this weekend in Boulder. Both are "Gold" which awards 50% higher points for the series.

    I got an iron supplement ("Nature's Bounty Gentle Iron with Folic Acid, B-12, and Vitamin C) which says "Promotes red blood cell production" on the bottle. I've also increased my water consumption, trying to stay off my feet during the day, and planning to get more sleep this week.

    I typically perform best when I keep my training load high - daily rides with high intensity on Tuesday and Thursday. But I'm wondering if it would be better to take it easy this week. Or not. Should I go hammer tomorrow (Tuesday) evening on the normal very-fast-paced-group-ride that I usually do? Or just go ride at a moderate pace by myself?

    Bottom line: I gave a pint of blood 9 days ago and want to be the best I can be on Saturday morning. Should I keep up my normal training? Or take it easy?
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  2. #2
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    I think you'd be better asking a doctor, but not a GP as they know nothing and would just make an answer up. I can't remember how long it takes to replace the red blood corpuscles but it's a while. The fluid is replaced quite quickly.

    When I was in my teens I gave blood one evening and foolishly did karate training straight after. I never felt up nor down after giving blood so I thought I would be ok. After a few minutes felt very dizzy and weak and almost fainted. Lesson learned.

  3. #3
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    you're a good man for donating. I needed a lot of transfusions for a while (leukemia) and thanks to people like you it was available. Like Mr. Pig said check in with your family doctor. I wouldn't let it stop you from your normal routine unless you start to feel it. I still have blood drawn weekly and some times enough vials where it is nearly a pint and I don't really notice it all. I think it depends on the individual. Check in with Doc is your best bet.

  4. #4
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    Six days ago bit late.

    Everyone is different, I ride after donating as it's always on a Sunday and that's ride day.

    Drink lots of water if you feel bad stop.

    For me just a ride not racing thought.

    I read Mr Pig post wrong.

    Here in UK we can only donate five times a year now for males.
    Woman it's four.

    So how did you go in race?
    Last edited by Smoke&Lasers; 6 Days Ago at 02:06 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smoke&Lasers View Post
    Mr Pig! Every evening did you get $ for that?
    No, I'm in the UK too. At least until Thursday anyway...

  6. #6
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    From a blog I follow...

    Gave blood a week ago then decided to race cyclocross seriously - recovery tips?-donating-blood.jpg
    CRAP... I'm in the wrong gear

  7. #7
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    Not sure about the performance part, but iron can be toxic, especially to men. Most men get enough iron in their food. Men only need 8mg of iron a day. If you eat a decently healthy diet, you'll get more than enough iron. The down side of taking too much iron isn't worth the risk. Too much iron can cause muscle and joint pain/damage. In fact, there is some studies that suggest most men should give blood to deplete their iron because men tend to have too much iron in their body. There's believed to be a correlation between too much iron and heart disease.

    Check with your doctor. I'm almost positive he'll nix the iron supplements.

    I have o+ blood. Not a universal donor, but 85% of the US population can take my blood, so they are always calling me as well. I give on a regular schedule. I don't compete, so I don't really mind if my performance drops a bit.

  8. #8
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    I use a power meter and it is clear that at one week out, I was doing okay on low, medium, and even medium-hard efforts, but down on power for maximal efforts. When I continued to try to go all-out in spite of all the "back off" signs from my body, I cracked and went much slower for the rest of the race.

    I raced again this past Saturday and produced much better power numbers on average, but again had trouble with maximal efforts. I was passed in the sand because my legs simply couldn't put out the required power. I had to jump off and carry my bike a few times while wondering "what happened there?" Afterwards, it was easy to see what happened -- I needed more power! On Sunday, the race was at Boulder Valmont and I got passed on the really steep sections -- same "why is he going by me? why can't I climb this faster?" reaction until post-race reflection.

    No racing this weekend, so hopefully I'll be very close to 100% for the next event because that will be 4 weeks out from donating.

    It seems pretty clear that donating blood has little effect on low and moderate efforts. It primarily affects maximal efforts. It is a pretty severe effect at 1 week and continues to be noticeable at 2 weeks.
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  9. #9
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    Ride a race or save a life

  10. #10
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    After reading that I'm going to skip the donation next week since we're just starting cyclocross season. I gave a pint about 2 months ago, commuted home on the bike that night and then did a pretty hard 2hr workout with the regular guys, but held back a bit, overall felt quite good. I have heard it affects people differently.

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