Just wondering about what other people experience when it comes to recovering from a ride, especially people over 50 since that is what I am.

I typically ride 18-30 miles before stopping for at least 2 hours. The first 11-12 miles are usually relatively aggressive, but after that I usually back off and the only real strain comes from riding up a couple of hills that are not very long. After the break, I ride 14-16 miles home, but usually take it fairly easy most of the way.

Right now I generally do this every other day, giving me a one day rest. I find if I really push hard for the first 11-12 miles and/or ride pretty far in total (close to 50 miles), even with the rest day, I have less energy the next ride. I might feel fine at first, but if I were to really push the first half mile, that I have little left for pushing any further.

The difference for those first 11 miles from the big push day to the follow-up a couple days later will usually be a change from averaging 16+ to 17+ mph and then drop to 14 to 15 the next trip for that part of the trip.

Is this normal? Is there something I should do to avoid the dropoff? Right now I generally view my recovery as being the first rest day, but then include the next ride, taking it easier, as well as the rest day after that. Then I'm ready for the next big effort.