Today’s article started with a simple question on our Bike198 Facebook page, what is your favorite post ride beer? What resulted is one of the most commented updates the Facebook page has ever received. While there were several Fat Tire mentions, everyone had their own favorite brew to bring to the trail head for that post ride liquid enjoyment.
Mountain Bikers and Beer
The relationship between mountain biking and beer is not a new revelation. Ever since the conception of putting over-sized tires on forest service roads, mountain bikers have been enjoying a beverage after rides. It has almost become as much of a staple in the industry as gears on bikes. You go kill yourself on the trail, then come back to the cars with a swig of your favorite brew. It is tradition in our industry.
While road bikers share our love of the hops, they typically do not congregate after rides in the parking lot (or at least that is how it is in our area), so the post ride ritual is not performed. The act of post ride consumption with other obsessed dirt go’ers is reserved for those with the love of fat tires (bmx and DJ crews are included in this bunch).
Side Effect: Beer Is Actually A Recovery Drink?
While I am willing to bet that no one is drinking a beer post ride as a real recovery drink, but there was a recent study done by researchers at the Technical University of Munich proving that non-alcoholic beer actually aided in the recovery of marathon runners. According to the study (nytimes link), consumption of 1-1.5 L/day non-alcoholic beer for three weeks before and two weeks after marathon competition reduces post-race inflammation and URTI incidence and those same men in the blind test were sick less with better overall immune system health.
Apparently, the beer allowed the marathon runners to recover quicker and train more due to the decreased inflammation and better overall health.
Just how nonalcoholic beer eases the ravages of strenuous marathon training and racing is still being investigated. But, said Dr. Scherr, it almost certainly involves the beverage’s rich bouquet of polyphenols, chemical substances found in many plants that, among other things, “suppress viral replication” and “influence the innate immune system positively,” all beneficial for fighting off a cold.
Alcoholic beer happens to be drenched in polyphenols, too — “even more than nonalcoholic beer,” Dr. Scherr said — but has the signal disadvantage of being alcoholic. “We do not know whether the side effects of alcoholic beer would cancel out the positive effects caused by the polyphenols,” he wrote. “Furthermore, it is not possible to drink one to one and a half liters of alcoholic beer per day, especially not during strenuous training.” We all knew that, right?
Now, I have to imagine through life experience that there is a law of diminishing returns on this. I have never known an overweight alcoholic to be a great marathon runner, but it does bring interesting light into what the ingredients of a beer outside of the alcohol and calories do to the human body.
At the very least, your body gets some calories right after your ride and you have the excuse to hang around the cars recollecting mountain bike stories that could be as young as 5 minutes ago and as old as years past. The post ride beer will forever be a part of the ride experience even if you do not personally partake in the ritual. It is engrained in mountain biking.
What is your favorite post ride brew?