Anyone can ride hard today. Just go out and pedal like a crazyman. How fast you are is relative, but you can work hard regardless.
Now, get up the next day and do it again. What, can't do it? You are tired? Legs dead? Butt draggin'? I understand. Here is a word for ya, lesson of the day: Recovery.
The holy grail of performance enhancing products is the pill or powder that allows you to run faster, jump higher, swim deeper or pedal like the wind without working too hard for it. But, outside of the kind of drug that often leads to blood tests and congressional subpoenas, it ain't happened yet. It still takes hard work AND the right genes AND a good nutritional program, including go fast stuff like Gu, Accelerade, Hammer products, etc.
All that hard work makes ya tired and uses up the body's stores of energy in the form of calories burned, glycogen used, etc. So, the next day after a hard effort can be tough to bounce back from, especially when you are older like I am. Recovery is key, recovery being the ability to restore the bod's fuel reserves and keep on keepin' on the next day.
Now I am no sports nutrition expert, but I do know when I am tired and when I am not. 20+ years of being an athlete have required that I pay attention to how my body reacts and responds to stuff. For recovery after a ride, I have recently being using this stuff:
Yep, yummy chocolate milk. I have not won the Happy Place contest yet, but I expect to hear from the bunny any day now. Chocolate milk is actually a pretty fine recovery drink (Google it if you don't believe me) and it tastes like a hug from grandma. Hard to beat that. But it is not perfect.
I have been reviewing this for The Bike Lab and so far it has been perfect. I will let you do your own research at the Fluid site and you can read about it for yourself, but so far I am amazed at how I feel the next day after I follow up a hard ride with a bottle of Fluid.
I want to finish the jar of Fluid before I pronounce it truly blessed, and I plan on doing some very long rides this year and next. As of right now, you could not pry the jar of seemingly magic powder out of my cycling gloved fingers.
"Please don't let me die."
4 years ago