Tips From a World Champion #1
Welcome to the first edition of “Tips From a World Champion”! After 20+ years of racing I have a world of information on training, nutrition, bike maintenance, and of course racing, that I would like to share with the cycling community. Of course that would take thousands of pages of text, so we’re going to instead start small and give you little bits and pieces every couple weeks or so. The tips won’t go in order or follow a nice progression. It is going to be more along the lines of what I think is important that week or month, what you might need to know for the time of year or season it is, or what things might be good to eat for the particular training you’re doing. All of it comes from my experiences, both good and bad, and I hope you can benefit from what I’m sharing with you. From time to time we might have a special guest on Tips, bringing items from their area of expertise to you. Enjoy! –Alison
Below, you’ll find a video on proper fueling during rides. For those of you who prefer text, Alison’s written a bit on the same subject below the video!
Food is a cyclist’s best friend, and getting to eat a lot of it is one of the best perks of being a cyclist. But eating the right kind of food is extremely important, especially on the bike, and can be the difference between dropping your friends up that big climb, or bonking so hard you can’t see straight.
Carbohydrates are where it’s at for cyclists, especially during a ride. On a hard ride your body will typically burn between 500-1000 calories per hour. To keep from bonking, which is an abrupt and dramatic end to your energy supply; you need to replace these calories by eating on the bike.
What should you eat on the bike? I recommend bringing foods loaded with carbohydrates. This might include: pretzels, Fig Newton’s, boiled potatoes, energy bars, gels, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grapes etc. It is important to start eating before you are hungry. Even after the first 30min to one hour I would start snacking on the food you’ve brought. You don’t have to eat a lot; you just need to eat often.
You should also use a sports drink that has carbohydrates and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride). This will keep you from getting dehydrated, which we all know leads to muscle cramps. Just like eating, you need to drink before you are thirsty. There are lots of sports drinks on the market so find one that tastes good and doesn’t upset your stomach.
Properly fueling with carbs and energy drink will make your ride a heck of a lot more fun. You’ll have more energy for a longer period of time. Bonking, or hitting the wall, is a miserable experience, but one that easily avoided with the right nutrition.