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Recovery is one of the least fulfilling parts of cycling. It feels like there's nothing to do but sit around feeling sore. This couldn't be further from the truth and this guide will set you down the path to quicker, more effective recoveries.

1. Cool Down
Be sure to spend at least 10-15 minutes cooling down on the bike after completing a demanding ride. Pedal lightly and allow your body to return to business as usual. Your blood vessels have expanded during the ride and need time to retract to normal. Skipping a cool down can make you light-headed and cramp up, not to mention restricting the amount of oxygen being cycled through your blood. Massage your legs when you get home with a foam roller and run through some light stretching.


2. Eat and Drink
Drink plenty of water during rides. Soon after finishing your ride and cool down, have a recovery drink; chocolate milk is a favorite of riders around the world. Additionally, within 30 or so minutes of finishing your ride, make sure to eat a carb-rich snack. You've depleted your system and it will be in need of some replenishing. Eat a full, balanced meal within an hour or two of the snack as well. Include plenty of protein, as it will boost your glycogen levels during recovery.


3. Rest
After all this, be sure to spends some quality time on the couch relaxing. Read a book or watch a movie; let your body do it's work without the stress of moving around. Finally, get plenty of sleep. So much of your body's recovery occurs when you're sleeping, so try to get a full 8 hours the night after a big ride.


Follow these simple steps and you'll wake up the morning after a ride feeling refreshed and ready for more action.