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  1. #1
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    Opinions on recovery after big rides

    I am not new to cycling, but I went from road cycling in Miami Florida where your worst enemy was the wind, speed bumps, and traffic where I rode for anywhere from 1hr to 1-1/2 hrs 3-5 days a week. I always drink a protein shake that has some carbs because I am not cutting carbs and a lot of water and always recovered before my next ride.

    Now that I am back to living in NE Tennessee where I am getting into mtn biking and have hills and dirt to contend with my recovery time is much longer. I also ride around my neighborhood which is 16 miles if i ride the whole thing on days that i can't make it to the trails and want to ride. I am not doing anything different from what I was in Miami,
    but have always sucked it up and pushed on. I am wondering how the rest of you go about recovery?

    My main goal is to have fun and lose 40-50lbs and i am currently 232, but I am in no hurry to lose it like i have in the past where i gained it back quickly. I am just watching my diet and using exercise to lose weight. I also have a Bowflex that i use for different body parts like back and shoulders that i can't workout doing pushups, sit-ups and lunges. To me its a waste of money but does help me to workout without going to a gym. I also walk 3.8 miles a few times a week on days I don't ride. That just happens to be how far my path is and it takes me around an hour.
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  2. #2
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    Whether it's 40-60 miles on the road or 10-20 miles in the woods, when I'm done it's either a protein shake with 3:1 carbs to protein or I drink some chocolate milk. I do that as soon as I can after the ride and then I eat something about an hour later. These days I'm quasi vegetarian...actually more fruitarian with vegetables thrown in...but I do eat eggs without abandon and some meat when I feel the urge. Last year I lost 80+ pounds eating primal (Paleo). Right now I'm just in a high fruit/vegetarian mood. But honestly, since I've started eating loads of fruit, I feel like my recovery is better and faster than it was before...I'm assuming because I really load up my muscles with glycogen that got used up during the ride. I just make sure that I get enough protein in per day even if it's just a couple shakes during the day. I don't try to get crazy amounts in per day...I shoot for around 75-100 grams.

  3. #3
    Lord Thunderbottom
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    This might sound obvious or dumb depending on your perspective but a multivitamin that's specific to active people helps a lot

    I did a lot of weight lifting and hard intervals on the trainer over winter and was having trouble recovering now that I've cut calories back and started riding again

    pretty sure I had a magnesium deficiency, I'm rocking again now
    Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Whether it's 40-60 miles on the road or 10-20 miles in the woods, when I'm done it's either a protein shake with 3:1 carbs to protein or I drink some chocolate milk. I do that as soon as I can after the ride and then I eat something about an hour later. These days I'm quasi vegetarian...actually more fruitarian with vegetables thrown in...but I do eat eggs without abandon and some meat when I feel the urge. Last year I lost 80+ pounds eating primal (Paleo). Right now I'm just in a high fruit/vegetarian mood. But honestly, since I've started eating loads of fruit, I feel like my recovery is better and faster than it was before...I'm assuming because I really load up my muscles with glycogen that got used up during the ride. I just make sure that I get enough protein in per day even if it's just a couple shakes during the day. I don't try to get crazy amounts in per day...I shoot for around 75-100 grams.
    First of all congrats on the weight loss. I might not be getting enough carbs and the only fruit usually eat is bananas and some with yogurt. I don't have anything against fruit so I will try eating more and see how that goes. My protein intake is from mostly chicken, fish, eggs and shakes but like i said above i usually buy shakes without many carbs. I am not much on vegetables and that could be a lot of my trouble, plus my being over weight. I will talk to my local GNC salesperson and see what they recommend. Thanks for your reply Nubster

    Quote Originally Posted by TitanofChaos View Post
    This might sound obvious or dumb depending on your perspective but a multivitamin that's specific to active people helps a lot

    I did a lot of weight lifting and hard intervals on the trainer over winter and was having trouble recovering now that I've cut calories back and started riding again

    pretty sure I had a magnesium deficiency, I'm rocking again now
    I have been taking GNC's Mega Green Mens vitapak for two years and thats helped some. I think I am just going to have to toughen up and quit my complaining. I have lifted weights for the past 21 years and i am built for just a few reps and not much endurance. I Thanks TitanofChaos I might go see my family dr and see if he can check my blood levels for any deficiencies.
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  5. #5
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    That's how I was when I lifted weights too...if I could do more than 3-4 reps it wasn't heavy enough. Played hell on my endurance. I could barely wipe my arse without getting winded...lol...I stopped lifting probably a couple years before I started riding. It wasn't until last year (after about 4 years of riding) that I got serious about the miles and fitness. I started riding a road bike almost exclusively with 10 miles as about all I could handle. Within a few months I was doing 50+ miles up to 72 miles at a time without much trouble. Planning on some 100+ mile ride this year. I finally hit the trails last weekend for the first time on my mountain bike in a long time and what used to wind me at least a little, I barely noticed...it was like nothing. So I'm not really sure where I'm going with this story to be honest...oh yeah...eat your veggies! haha...seriously though, I'd eat more fruit and veggies. Carbs aren't bad if you get them from the right place and fruits and veggies are the right place. Try your best to avoid processed stuff and don't be afraid to hammer down some serious food after a good ride to replenish all the energy you spent riding and to get the protein in there to repair those muscles. I kinda treat every ride like a workout as far as nutrition...just like a couple hours in the gym, when I got home I pounds those carbs and protein and had a good solid meal an hour or so later.

  6. #6
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    @Nubster, i remember back when i did 4 sets of 4 on everything and had no range of motion, but could bench 385 and squat 605. That was great then because I was still somewhat lean 195, but now I am 232 down from 240 two weeks ago and 265 2 years ago when i started riding a road bike 80-100 miles per week. I now struggle riding 40 per week and feel like I've ridden twice as hard.

    I am going to try to eat better and see how i do this next week. I guess i will buy some vegetables and fruit to go with my protein. I am also going to do some kind of exercise everyday for the next 2 weeks to see if i can get my body use to change in altitude and hills.
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  7. #7
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    Yeah, I hear ya...that's pretty impressive...385 @ 195. I was doing 425 but at 260. But like you...I couldn't move. It was awesome and miserable at the same time...lol

    But that's what I'd do...work on the diet some and just some overall fitness. I was off the bike all winter but I was doing CrossFit 3 times a week. It was fun as hell and a great workout and helped me maintain a lot of the fitness I gained the previous summer although it's didn't translate over well to riding fitness. First few rides this year were rough but I gained back what I had much quicker so now I'm about where I left off last year on the bike ready to start building on that to improve even more.

    I figure adding some fruits and veggies to the diet certainly can't hurt things, hopefully they help. That and some exercise and just riding as much as you can. That's why I road ride mostly...I have to drive an hour + to mountain bike but I can hit the road from my house. So I'd rather get 3 hours of riding in when I can rather than 2 hours driving and 1 hour riding. It sucks but time on any bike is better than no time on a bike.

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=wcoyne;11217659]...i started riding a road bike 80-100 miles per week. I now struggle riding 40 per week and feel like I've ridden twice as hard.QUOTE]

    I am guessing that riding 40 miles on a mountain bike (depending on the terrain) has got to be 4 times as hard as riding 40 miles on a road bike.

    You are probably just not used to the amount of work it takes to ride mtn vs road. I ride road bike very occasionally and often find myself 20 miles in without breaking a sweat; 20 miles on the trail and I am toast.

    Giant muscles are cool, but when your peck requires a gallon of blood just to flex, the rest of your body is gonna pay the price.

    I think that's the problem I have. My legs are huge from years of hiking with heavy packs and a fat ass. So, when I am climbing, I am flexing these ridiculous muscles over and over and inevitably find myself in my granny gear (hiking or riding) long before I would like.

  9. #9
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    I know the road bike was faster on the flats here if i could find some. I keep up with my rides on strava just to give me a way of seeing my progress and too help me to push myself against others. I am climbing faster on the mtn bike than i was the carbon road bike, but i feel a lot of that is i am more comfortable on my Trek EX 8. My trek 4300 is a different story as its slow as heck. I am about two minutes slower on my usual neighborhood route on the mtn bike than i was the road bike and my times that i tracked with it here in Tennessee, were when i was riding on a regular basis and 14lbs lighter last year this time. I have always been more of a sprinter than an endurance rider and that includes when i was a kid.

    I have no trouble keeping up with people hiking that thought I would be holding them up and i guess that from having strong legs and always having to work on my feet. Plus all the years i spent on a treadmill at 3.6 mph at 12-14% incline for 45 minutes every time i went to the gym which use to be 4 days per week.

    I am just not built for mtn biking yet.
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  10. #10
    Lord Thunderbottom
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    good discussions here jumping into cardio from a weight lifting perspective

    My last 2 winters have taught me a lot, living in a climate that gets snow and brutal cold this year...

    last year I started winter with a 5x5 heavy lifting routine 3x week, eventually going to 3x3 at even heavier load

    I assumed I'd jump right into riding again but the spring cycling season was off to a really rough start, every hill was pure agony, it took months to build up the endurance I had in fall

    This year, I jumped back into the winter months with the same approach (heavy lifts) but after 2 months I transitioned into a routine with much higher reps, after a few months of that I got into just upper body lifting, still higher reps, and working the legs by doing intervals on the trainer, getting myself some much needed cardio

    when it finally started getting warm out I packed on easy riding base miles and so far I feel like a beast while trail riding, I have the explosive power for hills like I did last spring but I'm not completely gassed after the first one

    base miles are much more critical to MTB than I would have thought
    Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't

  11. #11
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    I went trail riding again today and did good in my opinion for the first 3.2 miles at 28 minutes. The I tried another trial that other people say they take and laid my bike down going 8-9 mph going around a muddy switchback and it took me 25 minutes to get my heart rate to slow down. I turned around at that point and went back the way i came but never was able to keep calm. Dang adrenaline

    I definitely need to eat more before rides because after i ate 30 minutes or so after riding I felt like I could go again and still do. My legs hurt less today and I rode 2.4 miles farther today than i did wednesday, so maybe thats a good sign.

    TitanofChaos, I do 5 sets of 10-12 reps now when lifting weights at the gym. I also do some light cross fit which i can do at the house which is a variety of pushups, sit-ups, lunges, air squats, and i change up between back and shoulder on the bowflex doing 15-20 reps of 4 exercises without stopping then i take a 2 minute break and repeat two more times. I am nowhere as strong as i was 10 years ago, but i didn't take me long to get back to what i think is respectable strength for the amount of reps I do.
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  12. #12
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post

    I agree 100%, but i am 36 days sober and now i only drink water and protein shakes. Beer and pizza have been my weakness for the past 13 years and probably have a lot to do with my being this overweight. This is the second time I have stopped and the first was after I realized drinking wasn't as fun once you are of age.

    Beer always made me feel better after mowing the yard or working all day in the sun or hot buildings. On my longest ride which was 78 miles from North Miami to Key Largo. I stopped twice to eat and had a beer and drank another 6 once the ride was over. I remember when i was 16 helping my sister and her ex move and my family and I were exhausted. Someone started passing out beers and two beers in we were refreshed and went back to work unloading.

    I might drink again someday, but that will be a good while off and when i break 180lbs.

    Sorry for getting personal

    My lack of beer could be a good part of my having trouble recovering from rides.
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  14. #14
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    I've found that plain old coconut water (the pure stuff without anything in it) seems to help me recover faster and get on about my day, even better than chocolate milk. - Point of reference, I'm 5'11" and 250lbs riding in swampy Houston.

    The only thing I can figure is that I must be sweating out a bunch of minerals, and even a 1hr trail ride with my daughter yesterday was enough to sweat out my shirt.

  15. #15
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    I will look the next time i am at a grocery store and see if i can find some. I remember the gym i went to in miami selling some at their juice bar, but never tried any.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by worldskipper View Post
    I've found that plain old coconut water (the pure stuff without anything in it) seems to help me recover faster and get on about my day, even better than chocolate milk. - Point of reference, I'm 5'11" and 250lbs riding in swampy Houston.

    The only thing I can figure is that I must be sweating out a bunch of minerals, and even a 1hr trail ride with my daughter yesterday was enough to sweat out my shirt.
    Coconut water is an excellent electrolyte drink. It would be a great recovery drink but...the whole idea behind chocolate milk is that it has the "perfect" carb to protein ratio. Chocolate milk isn't for recovering from dehydration but rather to refuel the muscles after strenuous activity like a protein shake would. The goal is getting protein in the muscles for repair and building.

    So it really depends on the goal. If you treat riding like a workout and want to recover in muscle building, then you want carbs and protein. If you need to recover from dehydration, coconut water/water and electrolytes. Or mix them. I sometimes make smoothies/protein shakes with coconut water and they are excellent. The key though is to not get dehydrated in the first place. You should be getting in a bottle of water per hour when riding and adding some energy source for anything longer than a couple hours. If you are a heavy sweater or you're doing a longer ride it wouldn't hurt to add an electrolyte replacement in there too...something like Skratch Labs or some Endurolyte pills or GU Brew fizz tablets...ect. Even just adding some salt to your drinks will help. You can easily and cheaply make your own electrolyte replacement to add to drinks or buy some gel caps and make your own pills to take.

  17. #17
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    I started drinking a GNC's amplified wheybolic 60 protein shake 30 minutes after riding and taking a GNC vitapak of the mornings along with eating fruit with my breakfast and lunch. Recovery is getting better and I am having longer rides without my legs giving out. I am still having trouble with breathing, but feel that will get better as I continue to ride. My trail rides have increased to 1-1/2 hrs covering 7.2 miles and my neighborhood ride which I only want to ride an hour I am going 13.4 miles now. My neighborhood ride has more elevation change than the trail so it isn't much easier.

    Thank you to those who have commented.
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  18. #18
    JHH
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    Healthy blood pH is one of the foundations to sustained speedy recovery. Raw foods low in sugars are the best way to help your blood pH stay alkalized instead of acidic. Eat more veggies and less fruit. This also aids in digestion which ultimately helps you get the most from what you eat.

    Stay away from overly processed stuff. Eating multiple servings of powders and exilirs instead of real food each day isn't ideal. Try to minimize your intake of snake oils from GNC.
    Keep pedaling no matter what

  19. #19
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    Drink beer

  20. #20
    I Strava Hamburgers
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    It sounds like you're not eating correctly FOR the ride. You're recovery sounds fine, but if you're suffering through your ride, you may not be nourished properly.

    What are you eating 3-4 hours before your ride, and 15 or so min before you jump on the bike?
    My EBB so loud
    I'm mashing...

  21. #21
    The White Jeff W
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    Re: Opinions on recovery after big rides

    I'm no expert but add me to the list of people having success using chocolate milk for recovery.
    No moss...

  22. #22
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    I started using Endrox R4 after hard rides. My recovery time has dropped a lot.

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