Cyclist have one of the most gruelling tasks to undertake when it comes to undertaking a mammoth bike ride. Many of those find enjoyment from long rides ranging from 10km to 100km and more, so it is without a doubt that nutrition plays a massive factor in determining the success of a ride.
Here we have put together our top list of nutritional tips to get the most out of cycling.
Carb Load Before Long Rides
Prior to a run it is vital to increase your muscle glycogen stores by increasing overall carbohydrate intake in the 48 hours before a race or event lasting over 90 minutes. What these glycogen stores will help with is delaying the onset of fatigue meaning you will not ‘hit the wall’ as soon as you would without a small or no loading. To achieve this, increase carb portions at meal times (e.g. rice, potatoes, pasta, cereals) and add carb snacks between meals.
Train Your Nutrition
You may yet to find the optimal nutritional strategy, but training yourself and testing different options prior to race day is essential in ensuring you are comfortable after eating.
Have a Carb Heavy Breakfast
Liver glycogen stores naturally decrease overnight, which is the main source of blood sugar level maintenance – to help beat this, having a carbohydrate dense breakfast 2 hours before the start of a training session or race will help to ensure you are fully fuelled.
Hydration is Key
You should aim to drink 500-1000ml of fluid from the time you wake till the time you get on the bike. This will allow the liquid to digest and helps you to be fully hydrated.
Caffeine Can Offer A Needed Boost
Caffeine can benefit endurance performance through altering muscle metabolism and increasing mental alertness, giving an extra boost when it’s needed most. It’s important to try caffeine in training before a race to assess your own individual response.
Fuel Your Body Again At A Steady Rate
Consuming carbohydrate using a little and often approach provides a steady supply of energy to the muscles and prevents gastrointestinal distress. A typical strategy is to consume energy bars during the less difficult parts of a race (flats) and gels during the tough parts (hills).