For many of us, hard rides are immediately followed by sleep, work, or social obligations. But here are three important things to do first before going for that nap, rushing off to the office, or spending time with friends and family.
The most urgent item on this short list is recovery. A common mistake made by many cyclists is giving in to the fatigue and sleeping before providing the body the necessary nutrition for recovery and repair.
Consuming protein and replenishing your body’s energy stores after a hard ride will reduce the muscle soreness and aid in muscle repair. Protein shakes are a good way to get a good dose of protein in your system as quickly as possible but it is also recommended that you eat a proper meal before knocking off to sleep after a hard ride.
Launder your kit
Lying down immediately after a meal is not a good idea so after taking protein and carbohydrates allow your body to digest and absorb first. This is a great time to look after your kit because dirt and grime can be very hard to remove once they set in your precious kit. Leaving padded shorts soaked in sweat for extended periods also invites fungal and bacterial growth so get your kit in the laundry as soon as possible.
Of course, if you are really pressed for time you can just pre-soak your cycling kit first and then get back to finishing the wash later on.
Wipe the bike down
Lastly, look after the bike. Fanatics will probably do a full wash but for the more casual cyclist a wipe down should be enough. Sweat can be particularly caustic on the finish of your bike so take the time to get any dried sweat off your bike’s paint. You will also have to pay attention to steel components that have been drenched by perspiration because our sweat is particularly corrosive and will make your bolts rust if left unattended.
Unfortunately, a cyclist’s obligations do not end after uploading that ride to Strava. But after attending to these three simple things you can go to sleep or work or out for socials knowing that you have done right by your body, your kit, and your bike.