#PhilBikes100: Nutrition for training cyclists

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Big Dam Bridge 100 is less than 2 months away, and as a sponsor of this year's race THV11 asked me to ride the full 100-miles as a representative of the station. I was happy to say yes, but the reality of preparing to bike that far is starting to sink in. As we continue to track my training I'm learning that what I put into my body can have a major impact on my performance.

When it comes to riding 100-miles the human body is like a car, it needs fuel to get where it's going. Betsy Day is a Registered Dietician at UAMS in Little Rock and has competed in endurance events like marathons in the past. I figured she would be the perfect person to teach me what I should, and shouldn't, be eating.

"The most important thing is to be well-hydrated, make sure you're drinking plenty of water. With any endurance event where you're losing a lot of perspiration, certainly we've got to refuel with some kind of electrolyte," said Day. "To keep your energy going for that 100-miles you're definitely going to need to refuel during that ride. Refueling is very important for those 100-miles because your body just couldn't keep all that energy on board for that long."

But packing a picnic lunch for my ride isn't really an option so I went to see Erik Blaty at Chainwheel Bike Shop for a few pointers.

"On the day of the event it's going to be more about fueling your body for the amount of time you're going to be out there and it definitely, depending on how hot and humidity with electrolytes and fluids," said Blaty, who has ridden in every Big Dam Bridge 100 since the race began and says there are tons of portable energy sources on the market these days.

"The benefits here are it's portable," said Blaty. "During the event on the bike as far as being able to transport and move it and not have to stop your ride and get off to actually open a package or eat it."

And both Blaty and Day agree that doing something completely different the day of the race is a big mistake.

"Experiment what works best for you," added Day. "The worst thing you can do is have something different nutritionally on the day of the race and you don't know how it's going to affect you."

"Use something that you're familiar with and you've used before so that you know on the day of the event that you're not going to come across any surprises," said Blaty. "You've put a lot of effort in to that point and you don't want to derail that by something as simple as what you're eating."

2 other notes on nutrition: (1) We've all heard of carbo-loading the night before the race, but Day says you need to get that energy intake going weeks before. A big pasta dinner on the eve of the race is already too late.

Day also says to monitor protein intake. Many products tout high protein levels but we only need so much, the rest just gets stored in our bodies as fat.


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