There is a strangeness to riding far fewer miles. I don't have any residual tiredness in my legs. So I feel stronger without having gained any speed. I climbed for two hundred yards out of the saddle just to prove I could. No real pain and only slight breathlessness. Riding up to twenty miles is still effortless so far. Though I haven't tried to go very much further for quite a while.
I suppose you could say that my former fitness level allowed me to ride much further and probably faster without much tiredness. Fifty miles was no problem at all. Only greater mileages tended to drag on simply because of the length of time I was in the saddle. I always had a very poor eating and drinking regime when on longer rides. I never felt like eating or drinking and this really wasn't very sensible.
If I ate ordinary chocolate bars or sweets they repeated on me. My mature cheddar sandwiches became a routine but I wasn't sure how much energy they contributed. Later, I discovered muesli chocolate bars but they usually gave me indigestion. I do wonder, sometimes, whether I am chocolate intolerant. I almost always get "heart burn" after I eat chocolate.
My day would start, as usual, with a bowl of organic muesli with low fat, organic milk. I'd drink one mug of coffee and one of tea before instant morning coffee with two rolls and marmalade. That usually kept me going until well after lunch. I'd rarely drink anything on the bike even if I bothered to take water with me.
Though I did needed it very badly on one 83 mile ride in very hot weather. I'd run out of water at one point and was lost as I rode southwest, diagonally, right across Fyn from Nyborg. I tried asking a southern coastal town's bike shop for a refill of my water bottle. To be told by the owner that I could use the filthy hose lying on the even filthier asphalt in the yard outside the workshop! There was a sink with taps and within arm's reach as I was standing there all parched, weak and wobbly. I finally obtained a refill for my water bottle in the toilets at the local Co-op supermarket a hundred yards away and soon felt much better.
Pure apple juice was my later choice but I'd still drink only one little box all day. A banana would help after lunch. Which, of course, I'd missed, simply because I wasn't at home. So I was already in an "energy deficit" compared with my normal home eating routine. Eating sandwiches at home is a tad too late if one desperately needs more energy out on a ride. There is no vast network of "pubs with grub" in Denmark. Nor "greasy spoon" cafes. So they weren't a viable option even if I felt remotely like a pint and a pie.
The hideous truth is that saddle soreness was always my real barrier to longer rides. The Brooks B17 was always the best option. Though even this did not preclude miserable discomfort after a few hours. I'd deliberately wear bibs on my longer rides when I knew beforehand that I was actually going on one. It was always in doubt whether I would actually be allowed out all day, just to "run away."
Only much later did I discover trouser braces [US pant suspenders?] worked wonders with decent padded shorts like Wiggle's DHL. Though you have to get the more gentle, plastic clamp variety. Not the metal piranha type. Which would soon shred the flimsy cloth. The braces kept the shorts comfortably tight against my crutch [to avoid rucking] but they also stopped the shorts from catching on the typically sharp nose of the B17 when climbing out of the saddle.
Braces are far more sensible than bibs while out on a long ride. Where a visit to the Co-op or churchyard toilets can mean stripping completely naked! After only one attempt with freezing cold, petroleum jelly, I could never bring myself to apply anything between myself and my shorts ever again! No nether-regions grease, please, we're British! 😬