Bread and water. Pan y agua. None of us rides on that anymore. Most of us have $5-10 worth of highly engineered nutrition on board when we take on a serious ride (define for yourself). I tend to put Skratch Labs in my bottles and some form of chewable in my pocket, plus a bar of some sort that I scarf at any longer stop, and then I always pack a caffeinated gel as my emergency-calorie-escape-pod.
I can go 2-to-8 rides in a row without using that gel, but when I do use it, you can be sure I need it. You’ve done this, right? You pull it out of the depths of a jersey pocket, rip it open with your teeth, and then try to squeeze all the goo through the jagged, imperfect tear, caking your fingers with ick. Then you gasp as you try soften it enough with your tongue to be able to swallow it.
The first squeeze more or less detonates on impact, flooding your mouth with saliva and intense sweetness. You contemplate vomiting, not because it tastes bad, just because it’s overwhelming and you’re already in a dark place. Finally, you get the first batch down, and then maybe you take both hands off the bar to lever the rest of the gel out of the sticky sachet, jamming the plasticky mess back into your pocket. You’ll sort that out later. Probably.
The saving grace is the bloom of energy it produces, the powerful, albeit finite, jolt that will just about get you home if you’ve timed it right. Splash a bit of sports drink on top of that and try to live it down.
We’ve talked about ride nutrition before, though. I’ve owned being bad at it. That’s not what I’m on about today.
How many hard rides have I returned from to sit curled on the basement stairs, a husk of myself, wrung out, empty, salty, sticky, and done? A lot. That’s how many.
And then I want coffee. For some reason a cup of java is always part of the journey back to basic humanity, for me. I often have a cup standing in the kitchen, bib straps dangling at my waist, my face still splotchy. My wife shakes her head and chuckles.
It is quite possibly the wrong thing to drink. Water makes sense at this stage, probably. Sometimes I make another full bottle of something electrolytic to quaff on my way to the shower, but my soul wants coffee. I don’t know why. Hot, too. Even in summer. Like Walter Matthau.
Is it just me? This week’s Group Ride asks, what do you drink AFTER the ride? I don’t drink, so the classic shower beer isn’t in my cards. Is there anything else? Do you have a post-ride hydration ritual you follow, or do you just freestyle it?
Image: Alphabet Arm