What to do before, during and after a bike ride!
A car that’s out of gas won’t go.
When you go for a bike ride, whether it’s a short jaunt or a long trip, staying “fed and watered” is as important as filling up your car’s gas tank.
The difference with the human body is that you need to fill up before, during and after your trip. This essential routine will help you reach your goal for the day and shorten your recovery time.
I’m no expert in this area, and you’ll find plenty of articles on the Internet packed with more scientific facts and figures than I can provide. That said, here for your consideration is my regular routine, which served me well on the Gatineau–Tremblant Challenge—a 2‑day, 320‑km tour!
Before the ride
My usual breakfast on the morning of a ride is a glass of orange juice, two slices of toast with peanut butter, and a banana. For a special treat, I make a PB&B sandwich!
During the ride
The Challenge team does an exceptional job, providing two feeding stations and a dinner stop on each day of the tour. That said, here’s the regimen I try to follow:
- I drink at least one 750-ml bottle of water per hour. If I’m going to be riding for more than 2 hours, I alternate between water and electrolyte drinks.
- I nibble on snacks (e.g., jujubes, gels, dried fruit, small energy bars, etc.) at regular intervals. I’d say I rarely go more than 30 minutes without having a little something.
- I eat 1 protein bar (10–20 g) every 2 hours.
There are several products and options on the market. Personally, I like the little Fruit2 energy bars and BRIX maple gel. Both products are not only delicious, but made by Quebec companies, so they’re extra good! As for protein bars, I buy whatever’s on sale at the grocery store or Costco. I don’t overthink it.
After the ride
Here’s the routine I follow after a long ride:
- 0–10 min.: Chocolate milk or recovery drink (protein and BCAA)
- 10–20 min.: Light stretches in the shower to loosen up my muscles
- 20–40 min.: Complete meal to restore my energy
- 40–90 min.: Deep stretches to prevent my muscles from seizing up
The important thing when you’re biking is to keep hydrated, and remember to eat before, during and after the ride. Otherwise, your body will make you pay! 😉