Cyclists are always searching for the light on the stumoch yet calorie dense pre-race meal, the perfect drink mix which is not to sweet but palatable, and recovery bars and drinks which rejuvinate us like only the fountain of youth can. Thousands of dollars goes into the marketing of such products to athletes everyday. Unfortunately it is hard to find hard 3rd party science on what is ideal. PezCycling recently posted a “Toolbox” article about just this (find the article here). In this article some general guidelines are layed out for nutrition, ones that I have found to be pretty accurate and there is independant labratory testing to verify works. Here is a summary of the guidelines:
- Pre-race: Wake up early (3 hours before) and fuel up a long time before you race. Approximately (4 cal/kg ) * hours raced of intake. Try to get a good balance of protein and carbs. Bananna’s closer to the race are great as well.
- During: Start eating and drinking before you are hungry, during the first hour. About 1.3 grams/kg of carbs and 10mL/kg of electrolyte filled sports drink every hour.
- After: Take in .25 g/kg of protein and 1.2 g/kg of carbs every hour after the race, natrually a large meal can count for two hours, but attempt to maintain this ratio with a variety of foods.
Naturally these are just guidelines, everyone is different, sweats at different rates and different difficulty races may require different intake strategies, but with these you may find a way to use your own favorite products on the road, and improve your ratios from here.