The Post-Ride Routine
On the Mission Cycling trips to Europe we obviously ride our bikes a lot. We ride up and over unbelievable mountain passes, through medieval villages and on the most important roads of cycling's racing history.
And that is all unforgettable - always in different, unexpected ways. But there comes that moment - sometimes it's 15km from home, sometimes, more often really, it's a little after we roll out for the day - when I start thinking about dinner that night. I do this at home, too, I guess. But when we're in Tuscany, we have something a lot more special to look forward to.
Most of us don't have access to a private chef - much less a private chef from Tuscany who specializes in creating the greatest food human beings have ever eaten. So it's sorta tough not to think about what's for dinner all day. It'll get your ass back to the villa on a long, hot day and it'll get you up the climb home with a little more zip than you would normally have.
After several years and lots of trips, my post-ride ritual is pretty locked in. As soon as we arrive for the week and the bikes are assembled I've pretty much always got part of my brain focused on the Aperol, amaro and prosecco situation. And the ice situation. This is Europe. You have to stay on top of the ice situation. I like to make sure we've got plenty of water freezing each night because when the post-ride ritual starts, you really don't want any "out of ice" issues.
Here's how it goes for me. Get home and immediately mix up an Aperol spritz or an Americano. First thing. This is important. You've just done a long ride, you're not thinking straight. If you let your hydration-depleted brain wander you'll end up spacing out and wasting valuable aperitivo time. The stretching or whatever "fitness" routine you have can wait a damn minute. Get that ice located and get that drink mixed. Practice these recipes at home if you need to because what you don't need is to be improvising at this critical juncture. Then, get ahold of some snack material. There's a lot to choose from but I usually go with the salty Italian version of Lay's potato chips. These things are the best (1) because it's been a long sweaty day and you've just lost all the salt in your body and (2) have you had these chips?
After that, it's a few minutes of chill out/brain regroup time. This is a good moment. This is when you can start smelling whatever it is the chef is cooking for dinner. Fried Sage? Olive Oil and garlic? Truffles? Whatever is happening in the kitchen will, at this point, be filling the whole place with the kind of smells that, had you not already made yourself a refreshing drink, would probably drive you into a calorie-depletion rage. Take a sip, eat a chip, smell these amazing smells Once you've got your head screwed on straight again, drink a bunch of water, stretch a bit, jump in the pool. Then, pour another, bring it to the shower and get ready for dinner. Finally!
Join us for this year's trip to Tuscany.
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