Question: For a recovery drink right after a ride, I tried five teaspoons of sugar in a large glass of low-fat milk. Is this good? What should I eat next, and when? — Jay P.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The amount of food you need to speed recovery depends on your size and on how long and hard you rode.
For example, I weigh 160 pounds. After a hard 3- to 4-hour ride I like to drink a recovery beverage as soon as I get home, then have some solid food.
Your homemade mixture should work and, of course, there are recovery drinks specially designed for post-ride replenishment. The idea is to get some carbohydrate into your system as soon as possible after the ride, then follow it up with solid food.
I shower and clean up my bike, then eat something substantial like a bowl of cereal with skim milk and a banana. A sandwich would work fine, too. You’ll have to experiment with how much of the drink and how much food you need to restore your glycogen levels quickly.
One other point: On an ambitious multi-day tour like a cross-state ride, it’s virtually impossible to eat enough. Several years ago I rode 3,400 miles in 24 days on Lon Haldeman’s PAC Tour from Everett, WA, to Yorktown, VA.
We averaged 140 miles a day and were like a column of army ants, eating everything on the route. I suspect that some towns haven’t replenished their larders yet.
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