Now’s the time …

Okay, so here’s the moment I need you lurkers to un-lurk and spill your guts. You may be aware that I’ll be participating in my first endurance mtb race (or my 2nd mtb race at all) on Saturday. Yes, I’ve done a few races before, but nothing that lasts that long.

So here’s my deal, I’m curious about what y’all suggest for endurance race day nutrition. I don’t just want to know what you’d recommend, but also why you’d recommend it. No biochemistry necessary in the answer, I just want to know. I haven’t thought up a nifty prize or anything, but you never know …


11 thoughts on “Now’s the time …

  1. Jill

    Hey Caloi,
    You too! I forgot your big race was coming up. I\’m doing a 24-hour MTB race this Saturday-Sunday. I haven\’t participated in enough endurance events to have a clear answer, but I\’ve found some success with liquid nutrition, in the form of high-sodium Gatorade-type drinks, supplemented by peanut butter sandwhiches and turkey jerky. I think nutrition during a long race is pretty individualized, as some of us have more sensitive stomaches than others. It also depend on how hard you\’ll be working. If you plan to spend long periods of time in your "Red" zone, then drinking a lot of Gatorade is usually a bad idea. Best, in high-performance cases, I think, to stick with water and Gu. Just some thoughts. But I\’ll be checking back. I\’m curious myself and would love to see what others have to say. 

  2. Tim D

    Go with what you would normally take on a long day ride, but more.  Don\’t make big changes on the day.  If you switch from jam butties and jellie babies to Gu and Gatorade, there may be unfortunate and messy consequences.
    My only endurance riding was Polaris, a two day two-man MTB orienteering event.  Carry your own gear and wild camp overnight.  They were always in March and October, so very variable weather.   I always took High Five to drink, dried apricots, a couple of cheese sandwiches (on day one) and some fig balls.  Dinner and breakfast were boil in the bag ready meals, bacon a nd beans, chocolate sponge pudding & custard.
    Some don\’ts for the night before.
    Don\’t drink 6 pints of Double Dragon
    Don\’t have a massive lamb shank, chips & gravy for tea
    Good luck

  3. Dodger

    Toms right, dont change what you eat.  Tinker, the 24 hr endurance master, takes a change of clothes as part of his gear.  How about a chair to sit in when your in the pits (is there a pit?)?

  4. Unknown

    Ok, to fess up, I used to run ultras before getting into cycling. In ultras pimento cheese sandwiches are a staple as well as baby new potatoes boiled with sh!loads of salt. Speaking of salt – rocksalt is a staple or e-caps if you can afford \’em. Ecaps were designed by some dead runners (dead runners society – online community one of the oldest). Some ultra runners swear by defizzed coke, I drank it, but at the time my system had shut down I was holding everything in. No peeing no sweating stomach distended – bad. The caffeine and sugary stuff works wonders.
    Mistakes I made: powerade and power bars did not work for me plus water of course.
    On my recent hundred miler: I used Ultima Replentisher from home with peanuts and sugary/gummy orange slices. Once that was depleted then: gatroade, peanuts and iron man fig newtons and then to top it all off a starbucks cold mocha or coffee bottle (expensive, but had that suggary and caffeine kick to help me forget that my back was killing me). Good luck!

  5. Unknown

    Yesterday, I learned what "pot belge" is, and I think it would do wonders for endurance cyclists: "a mix of cocaine, caffeine, pain killers, sometimes amphetamine and heroine."
    I\’ll bet if you take that stuff, you wouldn\’t care about eating at all!
    I plan on using home-made sports drink with PB&J sandwiches and bananas. The solid food is if we plan on doing two laps each and then switching. If we do one lap and switch, I might just do liquid.

  6. Unknown

    I go with all the others on the advice.  Don\’t change what you normally eat and drink for training and racing.  You might need to adjust how much, but it\’s better than having your body go into a tailspin because it\’s trying to race and adjust to new fuel sources.  It can be ugly.  I go so far as to bring bottled water to races so I don\’t drink local water, for it could upset my stomach.  I have to survive on Gatorade and banannas due to the fact that I\’m allergic to nuts.  For a few days prior to a big road race I eat lots of pasta and other high energy foods.  Hope this helps.  Also, drink while you ride at regular intervals, on long rides I use my elapsed time and set an interval of every few minutes to drink.  It keeps you going on a much steadier footing.

  7. Unknown

    For solids, I\’m a big fan of the PB&J sandwhiches, a nice turkey/swiss on wheat somewhere in the middle (repeat as necessary) and nuts.  Specifically, cashews.  Tons and tons of them.  The roasted ones with salt go down very easy, give you some sodium, and provide a lot of calories.  You have to eat the nuts starting early though, it takes a long time to digest them.  I\’ll eat Clif bars and other energy foods but generally try to stay away from them, they are friggin\’ hard to digest.  Bicycling Magazine had a recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies that are really good too, and easy to eat underway.  I\’d be careful about the fiber intake though, unless the laps are short-ish, under 10 miles.   
    For the fluids, I prefer something mildly citrusy in the sports drinks.  Hammer HEED or Perpetuum are both really good, but they are both very very sugary if it\’s a hot or dusty day they will dry out your mouth badly.  You may wish to throw a tiny shot of lemon juice into each water bottle if you use them, those little fish fry restaurant packets of lemon juice are perfect for it.  GU2o is really good as well, you might need to mix it thin though.  Strong, like Gatorade, it can give some *serious* blowback.  Cytomax and Accelerade are okay. 
    I try to stay away from gels, since they get me on a sugar roller coaster, once you start eating them you need to eat one every 15-30 minutes, or you will crash.  Clif Shot Blocks are pretty good. 
    The real answer, however, is you need to train with some of this stuff and figure out what works for you.  Using my stuff could be disastrous to you. 

  8. Unknown

    Am I lurker if I haven\’t been here for a few months?

    Wow Caloi, your race is already around the corner? Seriously? My hiatus was longer than I thought. Very excited for you.

    Anyway, I have tons of nutritional data/facts/opinions to share with you, but I\’m hesitant to. Partially because if I know you at all, you already have a plan and it\’s just the nerves asking lurkers to tell you there what-to-eat technique. Then there\’s what works for me might not work for you.

    Several baseline things to keep in mind are to eat well this week. You should be well hydrated. If you\’re going to the bathroom less than 50 times a day, you\’re not drinking enough. Up the sodium in your diet all week long, not just the day before (you\’ll need it, and be losing it with water intake). As you reduce your exercise this week, still eat your carbs, proteins, etc. Cut down on caffeine, cut out alcohol altogether. Don\’t try any new gels or bars on race day. If you\’re a Cliff bar man, stick with it. Carboload the night before. On race day, eat 2 hours before your event, but don\’t think you have to pig out. A half bagel with almond/peanut butter and half a banana is actually believed to be sufficient. Or oatmeal. But eat. And eat the amount that\’s best for you. An hour or half hour before your event, get something in to your system. I\’ve heard sipping gatorade, etc.

  9. Zed

    Jill, Tim, Tom, Dodger, Bobster (the other Caloi), Botched, Mike, & Al, thanks. Alas, Erica knows me pretty well. I do indeed have some plans already in-store, but I am definitely hoping for your reassurance about those plans. I\’m glad to see PB&J on so many of your lists as it\’s on mine as well (with extra jam). Hammer Heed\’s in there too–for the next couple of days–as is the occasional Red Bull. I may throw a turkey sandwich (and perhaps a tuna) in there for fun as well. I\’ve got those two gels ready to down, but I\’m thinking those will work better as emergency fuel–like the Red Bulls. I am definitely planning on carb-loading (had pasta for lunch today and I intend to down a loaf of garlic bread tomorrow–my local friends will be singing "don\’t stand so close to me" tomorrow, I know).
    That\’s where I\’m at. I have a bunch of Jelly Belly Sport Beans, of which I\’ll probably keep one package in my pocket during the race just in case. During my laps, though, I\’m planning on sticking to good ol H2O from the Camelbak.
    But I\’m still open to suggestions. Let me know if you have any other thoughts …

  10. Big Guy on a Bicycle

    Rule #1 – NOT TO BE BROKEN!!! – Don\’t ever use anything on raceday for the first time.  If you\’ve been using a particular brand of drink in training, stick with that.  If you\’ve been using a particular energy bar in training, use it during the race.  If you\’ve been slamming down YooHoo\’s and Peanut M&M\’s, stick with it on raceday!
    Yeah, I know you haven\’t been using the YooHoo/M&M combo, but I did have a friend who swore by it.  The amazing thing is that he could win occasionally with it.  Go figure.

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