T Nation

Bicycling Recovery


In a week, I might be going on a bike ride that spans over a six day period. Each day we'll be riding about fifty miles, so the whole trip will be around 300 miles. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to do the ride, but I was wondering if anybody has tips on what I could do to maximize my recovery each night so I can perform well the next day. I'll be at like campsites so that might reduce my options.

However, if anybody has ideas on stretching, nutrition, warm-up, cool-down, I don't know really but just things that would help. Thanks in adavance.

And, I'm almost seventeen and skinny if that matters.

P.S.- did I spell Bicycling right?


Eat lots of food. Eat while you ride. Stay hydrated.



First things first...

What is the farthest you have ever gone on a bike?

Have you ever been on a bike and consumed any measurable amount of calories and not fallen to gastric upset?

A very big key to your recovery/health is your nutrition during the ride. Unfortunately, if you have no idea how your stomach reacts to energy gels you could be in for a nice day of vomiting. Some people can down the gel at once, I on the other hand go very small and let it mostly dissolve in a mouthful of water.

Depending on the speed and effort level you will be cycling at, your recovery will vary. Also, the type of bike can depend as well... from mountain bike to triathlon bike the geometries will change as well as the toll it will take on your body.

Also, will you be using clip pedals, straps, or just plain pedals?

Give me some more details and answer the above and I can go over some recovery and pre-ride stuff.

I can already tell you it will include two scoops of Surge p/ day and 2-4 scoops of Grow! p/ day as well as ZMA.


In response to TriGWU...

  1. fifty miles in a day is the farthest ona bike
  2. I'm not sure about the calorie thing, but I don't get an upset stomach easily
  3. What's gel?
  4. Mountain bike
  5. Regular pedals

This ride is for the Boy Scouts and the previous training I've done is two fifty milers and various ten, fifteen, twenty-five, etc. However this has been over a large period of time.


  1. Okay so not too bad. It's going to get rough to keep repeating that day after day.

2+3. Calories are going to have to be pretty decent. I'd go with low-fat granola (Whole Foods) instead of oatmeal for your morning breakfats. On long training days I'll generally go with 1 cup low-fat granola, 1 cup cottage cheese (2%), 1 banana. If things are starting to get hellish about refrigerating, 2 scoops of Low-Carb Grow! would work as well. I'd try to get two meals in before your cycle if possible, but if not we will manage.

You're going to want to go with Gatorade Endurance Formula during the ride. Make sure you get powdered as the carbohydrates they use are more readily digested than the premixed stuff. For every 20-25 g/ of carbs I would add 5-7 grams of aminos (not just BCAA). Make sure to keep this light. You want at least one bottle or source of pure water and another source of a light mixture of this. I would not go over 200 kcals of mixed Gatorade.

Every 45-60 minutes you're going to want to consume an energy gel. Stick with chocolate as the rest just taste like flavored lugee. Make sure not to just cram this down. I've tried and like GU and CliffShots, GU uses a better carbohydrate source. Depending on how you react to stimulants I would avoid the ones with caffiene. This was a mess for me as by the end of some rides I had probably consumed a bit more caffiene then I could afford.

10-15 minutes post workout you want to consume your first serving of Surge. I mix it with Power Drive, I think it tastes better (personally). 45-60 minutes later another Surge. At this point it is going to be all about glycogen replacement. My best experience has come from using canned peaches. Open up a can and consume the entire thing (excluding the can)... this includes the syrup. Keep your carbs up and slowly taper them off right up until bed. Your final meal should be an orange or high fiber fruit with 1tbsp olive oil 1tbsp flax oil in 2 scoops of Low-Carb Grow!.

  1. This will be a little less energy effecient, but the least of your worries considering what we have to work with.

  2. Try and see if you can pick up some toe straps. From a cyclist's perspective you will preserve much more energy if you are spreading your pedal stroke over a 360 degree turn. You want to push and pull at the same time. IF you are without toe straps you will be putting in max effort over about 90 degrees which can send you right into anaerobic work and highly fatigued quads. They should be about 10 bucks at a local bike shop

Hope this helps, feel free to keep the questions coming.


Tri- I think this is a recreational type ride thing.

The very first thing you are going to experience is sore butt. Look into a really good gel seat that will put off the mild bone bruising you will experience.

The other stuff has been pretty well covered. Stay hydrated, eat plenty of good stuff, and don't forget to stretch.


Sorry sorry... You only get to talk about this so much on T-Nation.

But the more prepped the better you will feel. 300+ miles does not come easily.


I agree with Tri on this one. Also get some Surge and good shorts and dont forget to ride hard.

Have fun TR


Or bike shorts. But yeah, after a few days of this, your ass is gonna hurt.

Just because it's not a race doesn't mean you can't follow Tri's advice though. Since you've barely ridden 50 miles before at a stretch, I'd still go with his advice to keep yourself from keeling over.


Is it Mountain Biking on paved roads or is it mountain biking off-road?


My wife is the oldest female to be a official finisher in RAM. The bicycle race across Americia. I have completed several 7 day bike trips like you are going to do. Eat small amounts of food as often as you can. Your age you need at least 200 colories a hour while rideing. Mix your gatorade with water about half and half. Drink about 32 ounces every 11/2 hours. More is just fine.

Some times on bike trips like you are doing you will not have a choice about what you eat. So just pick what you think is best for you and eat. You will be stoping at quick stops and 7-11 type places on the ride, not health food stores.

Twinkies,bannas,cookies, pay-days and things like that are OK on the ride. When I am realy tired twinkies work best for me. My wife says if you want to eat it do so. She ate a million grapes on here ride. Good luck, and just have fun. Mike


No need to apologize. I know what you mean and your enthusiasm for your sport is showing :wink:


hmmm. lots to say but 50 miles a day isn't so much so the nutriton should work itself out. just don't get behind. a supplement like cytomax will help you clear lactic acid and other wastes which will help you late in the day and improve your recovery a ton. the achilles heal of this ride will be definitely be your taint. personally i ride a hard smooth saddle w/ very thin padded shorts. gel saddles/padded saddles are definitely more comfy to sit on but they grab and cause a good bit of friction because of it. they'll hurt you long term for the same reason i don't like saddles w/ stitching on them-they grab your shorts, your shorts grab you. the worst recipe for friction and heat is the combination of a soft saddle and thickly padded short. go one or the other and don't even think about doing this w/ out some lube and powder. here's some good tips from dave zabriskies website davezabriskie.com . if you don't know dave is a pro rider for team CSC:


An often overlooked part of being a healthy and fast cyclist is the taint. The taint is the part of your body that contacts your saddle. I believe the name was derived from the taint not being the parts that are well know by name: as in it taint that and it sure taint those! If you can?t comfortably sit on the saddle you taint gonna be able to ride your bike very far. This can negativly effect training and racing, so one must keep this area well main-taint-ed. There are three simple concepts to accept and follow: Cleanliness, Lubrication and Dryness. Trust me all of this was learned by experience! Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Begin with a clean taint and chamois (if you are a hairy beast like me you may want to shave the area?USE CAUTION!)
    1. Generously apply chamois cream
    2. Ride, Train, Do what you do
    3. Dismount bike (Follow the next steps immediately and without fail)

                                                          i.      Remove chamois
                                                        ii.      Shower
                                                      iii.      Use a truly antibacterial soap like Hibiclens
     4. Exit Shower
                                                          i.      Dry taint with towel
                                                        ii.      Dry taint with air
    1. Either remain naked while making your after ride meal or use hair dryer

    2. Antique yourself ala Jackass with a handful of Baby Powder

Why do we do this?

The chamois cream, helps reduce chafing that occurs while riding. There are a number of products out there and here are a few that I know work well:


Butt Butter

Bag Balm

Assos Chamois cream


Try them to determine what works best for you. Often when things are getting a bit raw I mix a few to exploit the full potential of each. Do yourself and your training partners a favor by not using too much. I have been known to have a little seep out of my shorts and it never fails to gain the attention of those behind me. Make sure your chamois is in good shape. Don?t use one that is old and worn out. After the ride get out of your shorts ASAP, you don?t wanna start growing mushrooms down there. Get into the shower and wash up, if you are having ?problems? use Hibiclens, it is a surgical scrub and very powerful. I take it to races because each hotel has different soaps and who knows which could cause an irritation. After the shower make sure the area is dry either walk around naked for a while and let it air out or use a hairdryer. The final dose of goodness comes from a little shot of baby powder to the taint. By following these steps you should be main-taint-ing fairly well. If you are experiencing some saddle sores sometimes the only way to get rid of them is to stop riding for a couple of days. If it?s really bad you might have to see a doctor. I am sort of an expert so if you want you can send pictures and I?ll give you my opinion on the best way to proceed. PLEASE DON'T!

Oh yeah one more thing I think that can help is to shave all of that ?bum fluff? down. It can be tricky, use electric clippers and be careful, I recommend a mirror.