Eating for the Ride
One of the most important parts of endurance cycling — but also one of the least discussed — is eating for the ride. Even Grand Tour riders average around 110 miles per stage, and they can consume 8,000 calories and three gallons of water doing that.
Accordingly, riders need to bring food along to make it across the finish line in Iowa. RAID is about three times the average Grand Tour stage, so riders should expect to burn about 24,000 calories and sweat through nine gallons of water! Riders need to take care and plan ahead of time to get to Dubuque safely.
Here are a few crucial dietary tips RAID riders need to take into account before hitting the road:
Eat before you’re hungry, and drink before you’re thirsty.
This is an oft-repeated mantra in cycling circles, but its importance is never understated. Water acts as a coolant for your body, keeps your blood going, lubricates joints and countless other positive things. You’ll be burning through tons of calories and fluids, so make sure you are replenishing your body’s stock before it runs low.
Don’t forget electrolytes.
Water isn’t enough! When you sweat, you’re losing sodium and other minerals that plain water doesn’t fix. Luckily, powdered drink mixes are an easy (and good-tasting) addition to your water bottles, and sports drinks like Gatorade are a great source of electrolytes as well.
Carbo-load the night before.
Have your fill of pasta and bread the night before, and don’t feel a hint of shame. You’ll need all the energy carbs provide, and you’ll need your muscle and liver glycogen stores are full for the next morning. Carbs take a longer time to process and digest than other foods, so giving your body an overnight chance to digest helps immensely.
Do what the pros do.
When in doubt, do what others have done. There’s a few recipes online about what pro cyclists eat, but one recipe I’ve found particularly beneficial is the recipe for rice cakes that Team Sky uses. It’s a great-tasting snack with the energy you need to make it.
Don’t skip breakfast.
Suit up, stretch, get your helmet on and drink some water — but don’t dare get in the saddle before eating breakfast. Think small and nutritious, and avoid greasy eggs and sausage.
Do you have any more tips for eating on long-distance rides? Let us know.
Photo courtesy tejvan via Flickr Creative Commons