With less than three weeks to go until the MitoQ K2 Cycle Classic we’re talking nutrition as we want to make sure we’re all set for what’s set to be one of our biggest days out in the saddle of the year.
It’s been a really satisfying (if slightly crammed) journey of training towards being at the start line of the MitoQ K2. We love this event, but the prospect of donning the kit and joining the masses for the loop around the Coromandel has meant that we’ve had to take opportunities somewhat spontaneously to get extra miles in when we can. That’s our ‘problem’, it’s the general lack of miles we get to put in, but I’m comforting myself with the assurance that even if I can’t get the big miles in then at least I’m doing the small ones, and how much more impactful will my training be with small miles rather than none!
But my latest hiccup came from a rare opportunity to snatch a big mile opportunity. My wife and children went up to Auckland while I stayed in Raglan for work, which meant that for a Friday evening I had the bonus of a longer commute home; a commute that added a rolling extra 20km to my journey, or a rolling extra near-hour’s training (speed is not what I’m renowned for). It started well, I had ridden 40km earlier in the commute to work quite comfortably, but I had neglected to pack any food for a longer journey in the evening.
The outcome, as most of you have guessed a couple of hundred words ago already, is that I hit the metaphorical wall, realised that with about 20km to go that I had nothing left in the tank and I was reduced to a crawl for the remainder of what had become a bit of a suffer-fest.
I got home and quickly stocked up on all the easily accessible calories I could find, and resolved that the next day’s 110km would be a different story. It was. Plenty of planning and very, very well-fuelled later I enjoyed the same distance exponentially more and felt like I could probably have done it all over again. It’s amazing what 24 hours and a little thought can do.
For those of you who will be lining up for your first stint at the K2 I can’t stress enough how important your preparation of food and hydration will be. Get it right and it’s half the battle to having a memorable day out for all the right reasons. Get it wrong and you’ll still remember it, but probably as the day you found out how not to ride 190km and 2300+m of ascent!
Our 3 top tips, therefore, for making your nutrition work for you are as follows:
Practice now. There’s nothing worse than cramming a few energy bars/gels in the pockets that you’ve never used before, get to race day, down one or two after 50km and find yourself holding on to a miserable stomach for the rest of the day. Find out what your body appreciates and what it doesn’t in training where you can afford to make the mistakes and learn the lessons. Also find out how often your body needs replenishing (we suggest something every hour).
Don’t just rely on water. Growing up in the UK I actually dieted on water for hydration for my training and racing; the concept of electrolyte drinks hadn’t really come onto my radar and I just figured exhaustion was an inevitable and natural part of the equation. Since our revelation thanks to the team at PowerAmp our training looks vastly different. At least go 1 – 1 for bottles of water vs electrolyte on your bike.
Do the research. The great team at the MitoQ K2 will have 4 aid stations where you will be able to pick up water, electrolyte drinks, bananas and jelly beans to help keep you going. If you’re trying to set a particular time, or if speed is the aim of the game, it may help not to pack your full day’s worth of fuel if you know that the fuel will be provided during the race. Also check the race website’s event information for insight on where food parcels are permitted if you need something more specific half way through the race.
For now, happy training and we’ll see you in just under 3 weeks at the start line! To find out more about the MitoQ K2 or to enter click here.