There aren’t many bunch rides I do that don’t end at a café but, if it’s been a solid ride, I don’t let this distract from the need to drink and eat for recovery.
Refuelling your muscles is crucial to repairing your body for the next training session, even if it’s a few days away, and ultimately getting fitter and faster.
And you can achieve this while being sociable.
Priority number one is to rehydrate. The first 15 minutes are key.
I get water back into the system straight away and my first drink order isn’t a coffee but a vanilla milkshake.
University of Texas research, led by Dr John Ivy, showed that a chocolate milkshake is the ideal post-workout recovery drink.
Dr Ivy is my favourite doctor. I just prefer vanilla to chocolate and hope it’s as effective.
After rehydration, you need to start replenishing energy stores, which the milkshake assists with.
Even back in the 1980s a training book with Greg Lemond, the only American to win the Tour de France, stated that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen reserves within the ﬁrst 30 minutes after exercise.
But don’t focus solely on carbohydrates. Aim for something that will give you some protein.
A serve of scrambled eggs on toast would be nice but I’m time conscious, at the post ride café stop, so a bircher muesli or porridge normally gets to the table pretty quickly.
Once you’re home or at work, after those early morning mid-week rides, eat something more substantial.
Something with plenty of protein to repair damaged and tired muscles – chicken, tuna, tofu – and some complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain pasta, rice or sweet potato to restore glycogen levels.
And a colourful plate is good with plenty of fruit and vegetables to restock your vitamins stores and antioxidants.
What you eat post ride plays an enormous part in your recovery, which is the key to improving. If you don’t recover all the training is in vain.
All of this is easier said than done but just keep it in mind when choosing what to eat post ride, either at the café, at home or at work.
A double shot latte, please.
Being one of the most recognisable voices of cycling, Matthew Keenan regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia.
Matt is one of the two official voices of L’Etape Australia by Le Tour de France.