Recovery after a big ride for older cyclists.


Legendary Member
I'm just coming up to my 59th birthday and am finding that recovery from a big ride is taking much longer than even a couple of years ago. Three days ago I did a 52 miler with 4000 ft of climb at touring pace (it was windy and I had two teenage riders with me) and when I nipped out last night for a leg-stretcher I felt tired. I've considered using whey protein to help with muscle recovery in between rides.

What do other older cyclists do about this chronic spring/summer muscle tiredness? Any experiences to share?


If 6 Was 9
I'm 60.
I find that having a snack, such as a chicken salad sandwich, helps.
It's either that, or the beer and an afternoon nap. Can't quite make up my mind.:laugh:

Geoff Crowther

"... travel far, not fast", Ted Simon
I'm 61. First - it's easier for me cos I'm retired, but I get exercise pretty much every day, with only occasional gaps. Minimum for me is a 90 minute walk up and down local hills with our dog, always carrying a rucsac (not just for safety but extra fitness). I usually get a couple of bike rides in too, often only 10-15 miles or so. The result of all this is, whenever I do a longer hillwalk or bike ride, I rarely get any aches or pains or really noticeable tiredness. I do feel tired but in a normal/pleasant way, if that makes sense. I hope that doesn't sound too smug - it's not meant to. But for me, it seems, "little and often" works. I don't do anything clever re food/drink.


Puzzle game developer
This is a question that was on my mind after my hard ride yesterday! 71 miles, 7,500 ft of climbs

I coped well with the ride itself, but felt pretty stiff, sore and tired after I got home and still do this morning.

I think that being adequately fit and flexible before tackling hard rides would help minimise the damage. The fitness should come naturally with enough riding, but I suffer from a stiff neck and tight hamstrings, both causing problems on long rides and not improved by cycling. I reckon a regular stretching regime would be very helpful, but I struggle to get into one.

You can get away with a lot when you are young, but need to look after yourself better once youth is a distant memory. For example - I used to drink 10+ pints a night for weeks at a time in my early twenties. I reckon I would be dead (or wishing that I were!) within a week if I tried that now!

I do not eat meat so I should probably make more of an effort to get protein elsewhere. I did calculate once how much I was getting in my usual diet and the numbers looked ok, but perhaps a bit more would help. Chocolate milk shake is supposed to make a good recovery drink!

Geoff Crowther

"... travel far, not fast", Ted Simon
Re Colin's point. Saw an experiment on t'telly not too long ago that seemed to prove that milk is one of the best recovery drinks you can have. Think it was with rugby players but valid nonetheless.
I increase my complex carbohydrate intake, as well as my protein intake. The complex carbs actually help metabolites to cross cell boundaries, and thus aid recovery times. That totally winds up the 'carbs are bad mkay' brigade, but tough, that's the way it is. :smile:


Legendary Member
Where's the nearest cow?

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Growth of baby cows.
Mother nature is very good at finding something that works and extending it. Whilst milks of different mammalian species differ a bit in their composition* their main aim is rapid building of bodies. Fortunately Cow's milk seems to work pretty well for most humans and what's more it's readily available and stupidly cheap.

* Saw a great lecture in the Netherlands regarding this which demonstrated a good relationship between the composition of milk and growth rate of the baby animal. Human growth rate is low compared to many other animals that have much less parental care and more hazardous environments where getting big quick is crucial to survival.

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I stop often for tea
East Devon
190 miles last Saturday left this 62 year old a little tired the following day. I blamed the wind, the temperature, my lack of miles, but I do notice that I'm slower up hills than, say, 20 years ago.
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