One of the best parts about Minnesota is the seemingly endless number of trails that run throughout the state. These trails make for wonderful bike paths and relaxing weekends where riders can crisscross safely from town to town, taking in lush greenery, fresh air, and abundant sunshine.
The only problem is that one can get caught up biking for a long time without realizing how much time has passed! Don’t get stuck far from home on an empty stomach. Having extra water and portable snacks on hand to keep your energy level up will ensure an enjoyable trip, no matter how long your ride. Keep the following tips in mind as you plan your next trip.
Before you leave, get protein into your system. Eat a hard-boiled egg, yogurt, or cottage cheese. These will help you stay full and energized during your ride. Stay away from coffee, as caffeine can dehydrate your body. Instead, go for decaffeinated black or green tea, which studies show decreased delayed-onset muscle soreness after cycling (see http://www.bicycling.com/tour-de-france/tour-features/14-ways-eat-cyclist-tour-de-france). Carbohydrates are also important before riding since they provide fuel. Before heading out, feast on oatmeal or whole wheat toast.
While on the trail, munch on energy or granola bars; they are easy to carry and won’t be too messy if you choose not to stop. Almonds, whole grain crackers with peanut butter, dried fruit, and beef jerky are also easy-to-eat snacks that hold up in the heat. If you’re heading out on a hot day, consider freezing grapes or pitted cherries to take along for the ride. You can also freeze a bottle of water to guarantee that you’ll have plenty of cold water from start to finish.
Once you return home, it’s important to rest and let your body recover. Recuperate with a fruit smoothie or a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes and other vital nutrients. Protein from tuna, chicken, or turkey will help to restore your muscles, while the easily digested carbohydrates and fiber from beans and legumes will replace lost nourishment.
A little planning before departing for your next bike ride can pay off in the end. Eating well before, during, and after your trip will give your body just what it needs to enjoy those remarkable Minnesota trails. Happy cycling!