They say that you are what you eat….
This is so true when it comes to eating while you ride. I love food! People that know me know I really don’t have any issues with eating but on a bike – it’s a different story! Paying more attention to what I eat off and on the bike has been this week’s focus.
A friend of mine who is about to take on The Cape Epic (Go Heather & Roan (#totallystoked2020)!!!!!!) suggested I go see her sports dietitian, Sarlene to get a better overview of where I stand on the nutritional side of things… what an interesting thing to do and I can recommend that everyone should try this little exercise.
What I have discovered has been very motivating… I am not as overweight as that I thought I was! I am currently carrying 25.5% of body fat which is lower than what I was expecting. This puts me in the lower end of the “healthy” range where you move into the “underfat” range at 23%. The other part of the % is made up from “Fat Free Mass” which is muscle, water and bone.
Another thing I discovered is that while I eat relatively healthy, I eat less often than I should and when I do eat the portions are too big. I am now what the dietitian terms the “detox week” and then we can start focusing on maximising my energy through nutrition as well as loosing around 2.5kg of body fat before #myjoberg2c.
If you are interested in contacting the practice www.zwartskirstein.co.za is where you can find them.
I also find that I am very undisciplined when it comes to eating while I am riding. I have a 40 minute alarm on my Garmin which I tend to ignore most of the time because the thought of putting anything in my mouth and chewing is the last thing that I feel like doing, or it just feels way too soon into the ride to justify eating after my bowl of oats that I ate that morning before the ride. It’s a lesson that I have never been able to learn but now I am realising how important it is for me and my overall ride experience from start to finish…
I have been doing a reasonable amount of reading up and chatting to people on this topic and have condensed it into these important points:
The day before is just as important as the day - You want to make sure you are optimally hydrated in the 24 hours leading up to a ride rather than having to try and play catch-up in the morning which will tend to result in more toilet stops than is necessary and when you are wearing a riding bib, going to the so often becomes a pain in the butt for us girls because you literally have to strip down every time you go pee!
Eat as normally as possible and don’t try eat anything that you are not used to eating… you never know how you body will respond to it.
Avoid eating too late - it might impact on the quality of your sleep. Avoid heavy and hard to digest red meat, instead opt for lighter proteins such as chicken or fish. Don’t overdo the fibre and steer clear of highly spiced food.
Carbohydrates in the form of pasta, rice or potatoes are great, but you don’t need to overload.
On the morning - Aim to have your breakfast 90-120 minutes before you start riding. They say porridge or oats as I call it is a good pre-ride breakfast but, for longer rides, an additional 2-3 egg omelette will give you some more slow release energy. Coffee is a must have in the mornings for me and apparently keeping hydrated and sip at 500 ml of water or isotonic sports drink in the time leading up to your ride is also beneficial.
The start of your ride - Sip at your bottle right from the start of the ride. It’s recommended to be aiming to consume 500-1000 ml of fluid per hour depending on your build and the conditions (hot or cold weather) which is a sip every 5 minutes or so and sounds a lot to me with my small bladder but I will give this a try. It might even take the focus off the mileage which I mainly focus on during rides (actually I’m counting down the KM’s to the end…LOL!) so having the 5 minute mental alarm will take my mind off how far I still need to go.
Carbohydrates need to be consumed early, in small amounts and frequently. Thirty minutes into a ride might seem too early but you are not eating for that moment, but for 15-30 kilometres down the road. They say you will need 0.5-1g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight each hour depending on intensity, and you should aim to spread that over 2-3 micro feeds every 30-40 minutes. This works out to 32.5g – 65g of carbs per hour for me.
If you take an average 4 hour medium intensity ride I should be consuming between 130 – 260g of carbohydrates over the duration of the ride. 500 ml of a typical sports drink mixed at 6% will give you around 36 g of carbohydrate, as well as essential electrolytes add a gel or 2 at 22g of carbs each and my home made date bars are around 60g of carbs each.
I will need to pack a picnic bag if I have to compare that to what I have been eating on a ride up to now! This is quite an eye opener for me and if I work it out, this is what I get…
2 x 500ml sports drinks – 74g
2 x gels – 44g
2 x Date bombs – 120
If you know that a coffee shop stop or water table will be part of your ride or race, any food you consume at these stops need to be factored into your fuelling strategy. Try calculate that you eat within 30 minutes prior to these stops.
It can also be a good strategy to eat more real food earlier on in a ride and then switch to gels later on when you might not be able to stomach real food so the gels will come in handy here.
Rest of the ride, stick to the same structure and discipline throughout the ride. A common mistake is for riders to lose focus towards the end of a ride and to neglect fuelling. If you hit one of your 20 or 30 minute feeds, even if you think there are only a couple of kilometres to go, take that fuel on.
If you have fuelled and paced your ride correctly, you should finish the ride feeling hungry but not ravenous. Have a protein and carbohydrate recovery drink made up and ready to go in your fridge or kit-bag. This will kick-start your recovery and make sure that while you are sorting out your kit and bike and getting showered and changing, you have got some energy.
It will also help to prevent you overeating when you do have some real food, which is likely to be a late lunch. This meal should contain some quality protein and carbohydrates, a tuna sandwich would be ideal.
This will be put to the test and I will update ya’ll next week.
27th January – 2nd February
Mountain Biking : 203.96km
Indoor Cycling : 45 minutes
Running : 7.23km
Pee Squats : 200
Weight gain : This has kinda gone out the window at the moment…
Comments : Great base training week on the bike. A mid-week night ride and 2 longish rides over the weekend were awesome. My legs felt strong and I started eating more on the bike which I think has made a world of difference. No wall were hit, legs didn’t give up – I felt like I am getting somewhere with my training. The 2 long rides averaged 78km each with an average speed of 21km per hour.
Running and indoor cycling was didn’t amount to much but every little bit helps!
Total Training summary from 1st January 2020
Mountain Biking : 349.76km
Indoor Cycling : 4 hours 32 minutes
Running : 103.04km
Pee Squats : 800
Weight loss : TBC
Yours in adventure
"To me, old age is always 20 years older that I am… sorry to everyone that’s 60! The older I get, my life gets more and more adventurous and I am absolutely loving it! Being 40 is knowing what I want, who I am and proud of what I have become. I am a partner to the most amazing guy, mother (well, step mom really but I don’t like that description) to Kim who’s turning 12, a very grateful entrepreneur of a bustling catering company which has grown into a healthy happy business over the last 5 years, I am a friend, a sister, an aunt and a daughter… I am who I have made myself into and I love it! I started riding in 2012 and it fast became a part of me… the personal challenges it brings, the smile I get after achieving, the social side of it, the chance to exhale after a busy week – you don’t need a therapist if you ride a bicycle, especially if it’s a mountain bike!"
“The fun begins where the tar ends”
joberg2c is riding the off-roads less travelled and trails never travelled across four provinces of South Africa. It is sharing a passion for mountain biking with those who love riding. The communities, the trails, the landscapes and the feast of flavours all conspire to make this a journey for the soul. for more info visit their website: https://www.joberg2c.co.za/