Post-ride

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REFUELING AFTER YOUR RIDE

Besides water, there are two main things your body needs after an intense ride: carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are necessary to replenish glycogen stores, which can become depleted during a long ride. Protein is needed by your body to build and repair muscle tissue.

A 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is a general guideline for efficient post-ride recovery. When putting together a meal or snack to help you refuel, aim for this 4:1 ratio by combining different food options.

WHAT TO EAT AFTER A RIDE

Below are ten great foods to eat after an intense ride, and how they benefit your body.

1. Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, which are essential in the first 30 to 60 minutes after a ride. This is when your body is racing to renew your glycogen stores, so you want to eat something that is high in carbs. Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin C, which helps to accelerate wound healing, facilitating your body’s recovery. Potassium, which the body loses through sweat, is also plentiful in sweet potatoes.

2. Eggs

Eggs have a bad reputation for being high in cholesterol. Recent studies have shown, however, that eating eggs has no effect on your overall blood cholesterol level. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, making them a great post-ride snack food. What’s more, the amino acids in eggs are the most digestible to humans, making eggs something of a gold standard when it comes to sources of dietary protein. Eggs are also high in choline, which reduces inflammation.

3. Chocolate milk

You might think of it as a kid’s afterschool snack, but scientific studies have repeatedly shown that chocolate milk is one of the best recovery foods an athlete can consume. A glass of low-fat chocolate milk comes very close to the 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio recommended by experts, but the benefits don’t stop there. The sugars in milk are simple carbohydrates, which are easily broken down by the body. Milk is high in calcium and vitamin D, and has a high water content. If you make your own chocolate milk using raw cocoa powder, you also get the added anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits associated with raw cocoa.

4. Cantaloupe

Many fruits, such as melons, have a high water content, which helps you rehydrate after a long ride. Cantaloupes, in particular, are high in potassium, so snacking on some will assist in replacing lost electrolytes. Cantaloupes are also a great source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, both of which are essential for maintaining the immune system, and are rich in vitamin C. 

5. Nuts 

Nuts are a great post-ride snack because they are high in protein. Nuts have the added benefit of being portable, which is important if you’re not going home immediately after a ride. Nuts are high in unsaturated fats and plant sterols, both of which help to lower bad cholesterol. To maximize their benefits, mix nuts with some dried fruit to get you closer to the 4:1 carb to protein ratio.

6. Nut butter

Like nuts, nut butters are high in protein. Almond butter is rich in calcium, which strengthens bones. It’s also high in magnesium and potassium, which help maintain muscle and nerve functions. Cashew butter is high in iron and has a lower fat content than most other nut butters. Adding nut butter to a fruit, such as banana, increases the benefits derived by your body. For a good 4:1 snack, spread some nut butter on a slice of bread and top with banana.

7. White rice

The simple carbohydrates in white rice are broken down more easily by the body than the complex ones in whole grain alternatives. White rice also contains important amino acids necessary for building muscle. For an added nutrient boost, cook white rice in chicken broth or coconut milk instead of water.

8. Grilled or baked chicken

Chicken is a great source of lean protein. It’s also rich in phosphorus, which helps support the nervous system. Selenium, an essential trace element, is found in abundant quantities in chicken, as is vitamin B6.

9. Berries

The high carbohydrate content of berries makes them a great choice for a post-ride snack. Berries can contain up to 92% water, making them great for rehydrating. Berries are also rich in anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation and joint pain.

10. Smoothie

Smoothies are a great post-ride recovery snack because you can make them ahead of time and can tailor them to fit your needs. To ensure you’re getting the most out of your smoothie, add a source of protein, such as whey protein powder or nuts. Carbohydrate sources can include fruit, juice, and honey. Coconut water has a high electrolyte content, so you might want to consider using it as a base for your smoothie. Alternatively, you can use coconut or low-fat milk.

CYCLING STRETCHING ROUTINE
CALVES

Standing with your feet pointed straight ahead, step forward with your right leg and bend your knee, keeping your left foot firmly planted on the ground behind you.

Keep your upper-body erect and drop your hips forward until you feel the stretch in your calf (dont bend over at the waist use your hips to move) Hold for 15-30 seconds, then rotate.

QUADRICEPS

Standing, reach back with your right hand and grab your right foot at the top of the ankle, and pull up towards your butt.

The quads are the biggest cycling muscle, and deserve a very slow stretch, careful not to pull too hard too fast. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then rotate legs.

Quick tip: Heighten the stretch by tightening your butt muscles.

IT BAND

The IT Band runs down the side of your leg and helps in balance and control; the section of this band that affects cyclists is between the hip and knee.

A tight or inflamed IT band can cause tendonitis or knee alignment issues.

Stretch from a sitting position: cross the left leg across the right knee and gently push down on the left knee. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your leg. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then rotate.

HAMSTRINGS

The pedaling motion develops short and powerful hamstrings. Unlike running, which lengthens hamstrings, cyclists are prone to tightness in these muscles. This is why your “hams” might ache if you’re a cyclist who runs on occasion.

This makes it very important to stretch hamstrings slowly and carefully.

Standing, bend over at the waist and let your arms dangle toward the ground, letting the knees bend slightly outward. This stretch benefits greatly from deep, steady breathing you’ll find that you can touch the ground after several slow, deep breaths.

GLUTEUS

The butt muscles are perhaps the most oft-overlooked muscles in cycling stretching.

From a cross-legged sitting position on the floor, angle your left leg over the right and plant left foot next to right knee, so your left leg forms a triangle.

Grasp the front of your left knee and lean forward, careful to keep your back straight. Feel the stretch along your left hamstring. This releases the piraformis, a connecting muscle that often tightens after sitting on a saddle. Perform this stretch with both legs.

NECK AND SHOULDERS

Checking for traffic and other riders behind you is where the neck muscles come into play.

Standing, gently roll your head in a circle several times, then rotate directions. Shrug your shoulders upwards and hold for five seconds. Repeat several times.

CORE

Your trunk of abdomen and back muscles are the support system for your legs as they pedal.

The best stretch is actually doing crunches or back extensions to help strengthen these varied muscles.

You can do a simple back twist from the gluteus-stretch position, by twisting your trunk to look behind, one side and then the other. Feel the stretch in your abdomen

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR BIKE QUICKLY

Cleaning your bike regularly helps prevent build-up of dirt and grease that would otherwise chew through your moving mechanical parts – especially your drive train. Washing your bike after riding in muddy or wet conditions is even more important.

What you’ll need to wash your bike

  • Bucket and sponge or hose
  • Degreaser
  • Bike wash fluid (preferably biodegradable)
  • Brushes
  • Paper cloth
  • Chainlube
  • Chain cleaning device

If you’re in a real hurry following a wet ride, you can just spray your drivetrain with water-displacing lube to purge water from your chain and avoid rustiness before a thorough wash.

1. Clean the chain

Clean the chain with a chain cleaning tool and degreaser to remove old oil:

Use a chain cleaning device along with degreaser to remove built up grime, mud and oil from the chain. If you don’t have a chain cleaning tool, aerosol degreaser and a brush will work with a bit of extra effort.

If there’s loads of oily grime on the cassette and jockey wheels, use degreaser and scrub these before continuing.

2. Clean the discs (if you have them)

Use aerosol degreaser with a paper towel to wipe down disc rotors:

If you have disc brakes, now’s a good time to spray some degreaser onto paper towels and give them a wipe down to remove any drivetrain grease.

3. Wet your bike and spray on some bike wash

Spray the whole bike with bike cleaning fluid as per product’s instructions:

Wet the bike with a hose or a bucket and sponge. If you’re using a pressure washer, be sure to stay well back to avoid ruining your bearings. Spray the whole bike with bike wash and leave it to settle according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Brush it down

Agitate mud with a brush to loosen it from the frame and components:

Start at the top of your bike and agitate any remaining muck from the bike with brushes. Pay special attention to moving parts such as gears and brakes.

If there’s loads of oily grime on the cassette and jockey wheels, use degreaser and scrub these before continuing.

5. Rinse it all off

Rinse off the combined cleaning spray and loose mud:

Rinse the bike with fresh water, then check to make sure you’ve shifted all the grime off the bike, brushing again before rinsing where necessary.

6. Lube the chain

Finally lube the chain by holding the bottle and steadily dripping it onto the chain while turning the pedals backwards.

Wipe off any excess, and spray any steel components with PTFE lube, again avoiding braking surfaces.