I began racing in 2009 in MTB and XC, claiming the Welsh MTB and TimeTrial Champion title before venturing onto the road. My off-road experience gave me an advantage when it came to ascents and I went on to win the British Hill Climb Championships twice. Through racing and training, I generally cover around 16,000km a year, giving plenty of opportunities to perfect a fuelling strategy that works for me.
A common observation of cyclists is that we are “always eating” and certainly in my case, this is often true. This year I began working with a new coach who reinforces the need to consume 50-60gms of carbs per hour on longer training rides. That may seem like a lot but for me, this is what’s required to maintain energy levels and sustain performance.
It is important to maintain your energy levels throughout the ride, not only for optimum performance but to prevent depletion from slowing your recovery and affecting subsequent days training. Therefore, for a typical 3 – 4 hour training ride, I will generally leave the house with the following:
Out on the road my aim is to eat every half hour, alternating between bars and gels throughout the ride. I will save the Go Energy Bake for the midpoint of the ride. It’s about as close to a cafe-stop cake as we’ve got in 2020 and it’s always something I look forward to. I try to stick to this schedule quite rigidly as it works well for me, almost guaranteeing that I don’t run out of steam.
When it comes to maintaining energy levels, hydration is just as important as food. I’ll stick to a set pattern with my drinks too, having a swig of hydro every time I eat or take a gel, and having a swig of Turbo+ at each 15 minute mark between feeds. Yes it’s a nerdy level of detail but the results don’t lie! I generally run quite cool but in the height of summer I’ll often keep a couple of hydro tabs in my saddle bag should I need to stop and refill my bottles.
That final Go Energy Caffeine Gel is an important one for both my mental and physical energy, especially during a tough session with intense intervals. Depending on the training session, I sometimes need that little extra boost, and if I really hit a wall towards the end of a ride, the caffeine can be a real lifesaver.
Get your ride fuelling right and not only will you go faster, train harder and enjoy the ride more but you’ll also get home feeling strong and without that ravenous hunger that sends you straight for the cookies. We all know that feeling right?
From there, thoughts turn to recovery and for me Rego Rapid Recovery is a must (chocolate orange of course). Finally I’ll dive into the shower and get cleaned up before grabbing a meal and prepping bikes and kit ready to do it all again tomorrow.