One of the best parts of stage racing is that you burn so many calories you can increase the amount of food you eat and widen the selection. Unfortunately some of the side affects of intense and prolonged efforts is being really tired and not feeling all that interested in eating lots of food.
I usually make sure that I consume more calories than I need during a multi-day event, so much so that I almost always gain weight by the end of the race. This way I can have the best chance possible to avoid the dreaded bonk. This also helps remove one of the many stresses that goes with bike racing, getting worked up about keeping track of how much I’m eating. The limiter of performance in most races, especially during the summer is actually hydration or lack there of (aka dehydration), and not energy. I drink Skratch Labs products all day and night as do the other lads on the team.
I eat a lot of rice, sweet potatoes, chicken and fruit during the race. No big change from my usual diet during training but timing is important and a little more planning is involved. You need to make sure you stay hydrated all week which takes focus. It is important during and after any hard efforts to quickly replace the glycogen stores in your muscles/liver which is what I feel the skratch products do the best for me.
This is what my food looked like on Saturday, the 4th day of the race and 5th stage (100 mile Road Race)
Breakfast: Espresso! Plenty. White rice from the rice cooker, baked sweet potatoes, goat cheese and 3 eggs.
Pre-race: My own secret weapon; almond butter and jelly sandwich with bananas and apples 2-3 hours before the road race in the R.V. Since it’s was plenty warm outside, I drink a bottle of Skratch Labs hyper hydration just before the start.
Race: During the race I try to drink 2 bottles of Skratch each hour and consume something equivalent to 1 packet of Skratch Labs fruit drops or half of an Ally’s bar as well. During the Menomonie stage we had the yellow jersey and after a group of 12 got away right away one Optum rider and myself rotated on the front until the 2nd KOM at mile 37 when we brought back the breakaway. As such I drank 4 bottles during the first 2 hours and had 2 gels. After the 3rd KOM I was toast and found myself in the grupetto where the pace was more relaxed. I continued to drink 2 bottles/hour and ended up eating 2 Ally’s bars, 2 packets of Skratch fruit drops, 3 gels, 8 bottles of Skratch, 2 bottles of water, and one delicious can of Coke in the 2nd feed zone!
During a multi-day event you always have to think about tomorrow and right after the race our team had pizzas in the R.V. for some quick nutrition. Plenty of fluids, including a recovery shake of Metagenics Inflamx medical food, a scoop of Dynamic Greens, and a packet of Skratch Rescue mix.
At home it was sweet potato hash w/ corn, onions, black beans, turkey, and plenty of sleep!
Written by Jon Toftoy - DL Racer 35 years old