I competed in the Wausau24 mountain bike race this past month and thought I would summarize my race fueling strategy. My brother and I raced in the 2-man 12 hour category over this classic Wisconsin course. The weather and trails were fantastic this year.
Unlike my other teammates who both vomited fruit punch flavored Accelerade on their first lap, I finally managed a successful eating event.
Two hours before the race I ate a small version of my normal breakfast: cereal with milk, toast with peanut butter, and orange juice. I took it easy on the milk.
Thirty minutes before the race I supplemented with two Hammer Nutrition Race Caps and a B vitamin. This was to help moderately elevate my energy level by increasing nutrient absorption from the food I would be eating throughout the day.
During each hour-long race lap I consumed one gel (either PowerBar Gel or Gu), 18 ounces of Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem, and 18 ounces of Herbalife24 Hydrate. Whatever was left in the bottles I finished shortly after completing the lap.
Between laps I downed two Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes and ate small quantities of solid foods. I was able to eat solids because my race pace was moderate and my heart rate wasn’t ever spiking into anaerobic territory. The solid food consisted of pretzels with peanut butter, a bite of deli chicken breast, and some fruit. I sipped water as needed during this time.
That was it. Pretty Simple.
It has taken me a number of years to understand and respect race fueling. Not only did my fueling strategy for this race result in no ill effects (my primary goal) but it also gave me a needed boost in performance. I felt as if I raced better than my minimal training should have allowed.
Curiously, Accelerade advertises itself as an endurance, rehydration, and recovery drink. A real jack-of-all-trades sports drink. But these are really three different nutritional needs that shouldn’t be combined for endurance racing.
Crank Sports offers a spot-on explanation as to why protein should not be in your sports drink. Basically, proteins and fats need to run through your digestive system to be processed. During endurance racing, your body is not in the best mode for this time-consuming, oxygen-intensive bodily function. And what your body doesn’t want, it will do its best to get rid of.