Only ONE DAY until the Paris to Ancaster Criterium and 2 until the epic “Spring Classic!’
Here are a simple list of 9 NUTRITION TIPS to guide you through:
1. Start back 3-4 hours before your start time, that’s about when your last full meal should be. Hopefully you have tested this during training. For the Sunday race you can simply have a smaller breakfast and have it 2 hours before if the start is too early. The closer the breakfast gets to the race, the less fat and protein and fiber and the more carbohydrate rich it becomes. Assuming you have eaten appropriately the day before the ‘spring classic’, a smaller breakfast should suffice to top up your glycogen stores, as well as your on the bike strategy.
2. Within 1 hour from your start time for the criterium, after you have fully digested your last meal, you should focus on consuming a low fat, fiber and protein source of carbohydrate and or sports drink if you are hungry. You can digest up to 90- 100g of multiple carbohydrate types (glucose, fructose, maltodextrin etc.) per hour maximum. 30-60 ish grams will do you fine if you are not accustomed to eating much before you start. You can also simply sip your sports drink and keep it cold if it’s hot out. A typical sports drink is 20-30g of carbohydrates per serving and a large banana is 25grams for example.
3. Caffeine intake should be 45 to 60 minutes pre start time, as that is the range of time when it will peak in your blood. Never TEST caffeine intake for the first time on race day. If you have not practiced it, don’t try something new today, you may regret it. Bring it with you to the ‘spring classic’ race instead of consuming when you roll out of bed if you do plan on having your ‘cuppa’.
4. Beet juice is best consumed anywhere from 1.5-3 hours pre event. If you are doing juiced beets, consume 500ml. Otherwise use a concentrate such as Beetit, Pureclean powder or Beetboost. Never try beet juice for the first time on race day, if you haven’t practiced this I don’t recommend race day for “testing”.
5. During the criterium, chances are you won’t need to consume anything, however I ALWAYS bring a half bottle with me in case it’s hot or very dry and I get that tongue stuck to the top of the mouth thing in the first 5-10 laps! There is some data to show that even rinsing your mouth with a carbohydrate drink in an 1 hour effort can improve performance. Although this is not glycogen related it is CNS related. There is no harm bringing a bottle if you are capable of safely drinking in the peloton. (PS I’m not suggesting you spit out your sports drink during the criterium, your fellow racers won’t appreciate that :))!
6. During the P2A ‘Spring Classic’ Start drinking and eating early, within the first 30 minutes. Assuming you have eaten adequately leading into the event and have PRACTICED your race day nutrition while training 🙂 (always ideal so you know what foods sit will with your GI system!), you will know what and how much to consume. If not, the range to consume would be from 30g up to 90g of carbohydrates per hour. Chances are most would fall in the 60-90g range but again, this is individual and determined by trial and error while training. Having this range can help you to at least fill your pockets with enough to get you through, and having an extra something never hurts in case your teammate is bonking :). One gel is around 30 grams of carbohydrate, 1 banana is 20-25g, 2 medjool dates is 18g of carbohydrate, 1/2 cup of white rice made into a rice bar has 20g of carbohydrate, etc. One serving of sports drink can range from 20g to 30g. A sports drink should have at least 250mg of sodium per serving and will be useful on a course like P2A.
7. THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU WILL EAT AND DRINK DURING THE P2A Spring Classic. Many parts of the course are easier to take your hands off the bars than others. Think ahead, PLAN this. I don’t recommend trying to eat and drink on the MUD SLIDE!
8. Set your garmin or watch to beep every 30 minutes to remind you to eat and drink if you are notorious for finishing a 3 hour ride with 2 full bottles on your bike and all of your food in your pockets, bonked :). You have trained hard for this event, let’s get the most out of that training by backing it up with sound nutrition.
9. LAST TIP. Turn the edges of your lips upward often during the race. SMILE 🙂 DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!!!
NSAG- Have a Nutrition Strategy and Execute on RACE DAY!