You did it – you just completed Storming of Thunder Ridge! Time to celebrate!!!

Not so fast, says Donna Elder, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer at the YMCA of Central Virginia. She’s also a seasoned cyclist and ultramarathoner. For a speedy and healthy recovery, follow these tips:

  • Stretch – Spend 10 to 15 minutes after the ride to stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, groin and calves. You should also do stretches that release tightness in your neck and shoulder muscles.

  • Change Clothes – You’ve spent hours sweating in your cycling gear – eew! For sanitary and comfort reasons, change into clean, dry clothes. A quick sponge bath or sanitary wipes can help you get the “funk” off. And, please, be discrete and duck into the bathroom. After all, this isn’t a peep show.

  • Re-hydrate & Re-fuel – Your body needs electrolytes, carbohydrates and proteins for muscle recovery after the big ride. What it doesn’t need are sugars and fats. So be smart and resist the urge to gulp down a couple of ‘Dews and graze on thousands of calories. Instead, after the ride, drink some chocolate milk, a sports drink or water. Eat an energy bar, a handful of nuts or a slice of pizza. Oh, okay, maybe an ice cream…

  • Massage – When you return, put your name on the list for a massage. Massage helps relieve muscle soreness, promote muscle repair and growth, and reduces inflammation. Just remember to tip your masseuse! Alternatively, do a self-massage of the quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles.

  • Pat Yourself On The Back – Hey, you just finished Storming of Thunder Ridge! What’s your next cycling event?


For dinner, Elder again cautions not to overdo it. The ride doesn’t give you carte blanche to inhale an entire pizza or order the entire right-side of the menu. Eat a sensible meal that includes proteins and load up on antioxidant-rich veggies.

Lastly, don’t be a couch-potato for the rest of the day. Take a short walk to relieve muscle tightness.