Nutrition

When riding 150km you have to consider that you are going to burn a lot of calories. For this reason nutrition or fuelling your muscles is very important. It is likely that you will burn 500 calories or more per hour. You can not ingest that quantity of energy per hour so that means you need to have something in store before you start.

Before the ride it is important to ensure you eat good quality food, complex carbohydrates (carbs) and things that help make sure your tank is topped up. In the days leading up to the ride do not try to scrimp on food. Eat whole grain type pasta, breads, and bagels to help get your glycogen stores well established. Also eat some good meats along with your carbs. This will help store the things your muscles need besides energy.

Remember Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Have a good breakfast, in particular the day of the ride. Again complex carbs rule, also a good start is a bowl of hot cereal. Bagels, fruit and such are a good addition. One of the favourite fruits of cyclists is the banana. It provides many essential nutrients as well it is a good source of potassium. Eat breakfast a couple of hours before the ride. Unless you really like the taste of bacon repeating that is probably something to avoid, fats are harder to digest so remain in your stomach longer. Just before you start it is not a bad idea to grab some easy carbs. Maybe consume an energy gel or bar. It is very good practice to wash gels down with plain water as they are a concentrate, it helps your stomach process it.

During the ride there will be rest and refuel stops. We will supply some fruit, energy drinks and good snacks but during a long ride is no time to experiment too much so it might be good to carry a few familiar items with you in your pockets to keep you going. Some like to carry a baggie of nuts or trail mix which are pretty good sources of energy and are generally easy to eat while you ride.

The other very important thing is to remember to drink! Hydrate. Eating something salty like nuts helps give you the urge to drink. To stay hydrated you should drink about 2 full bottles per hour. You should consider an energy drink, that contains electrolytes... important body function components that are lost during exercise and compounded during heavy exersion and sweating. Some riders like to carry 2 bottles, one plain water, the other their favourite energy drink. There are many energy drinks on the market and lots of things written on the proper hydration drink but you need to find the one that works for you. Is it is probably good to consider what might be at the refuel stops and try it out on some of your long rides in preparation for the fondo.

It is very important to keep fuelled. If you bonk (run out of fuel and/or water and your muscles and brain stop working), you are not at the end of your ride, you just need to get energy back into your body. You will still be able to finish but it won’t be as much fun after bonking.

Unless you are used to riding really long rides do not skip lunch. Eat a good lunch. Even the pro riders eat a pretty good lunch, but they do it while they ride because their team hands it off to them at the feed station. (It probably goes without saying but consider food safety, do not carry sandwiches with meat or other things that might go bad during the heat of the ride. Eat things you like and are familiar with.

When you finish it is important to replenish all the energy you just used up. You have earned a good supper. Believe me you will love every bite after all of the riding and work. Prince Edward Island has lots of great restaurants. Get out and enjoy them. They will taste 10x better after the ride. One last word of advice, though August is generally a nice temperature and we have ordered "no rain", if it happens that we encounter both a cool day and rain, do your best to stay warm (dress for the weather) and realise you will burn even more calories trying to stay warm so make sure you get those carbs into you every chance you have.

We hope you have a great ride at the GranFondo PEI!

A few links to look at:

http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/training/nutrition-tips
http://bikeshopgirl.com/2011/10/the-ultimate-century-nutrition-plan/
http://expertenough.com/934/how-to-bike-100-miles