Everyone’s always talking about diets! Whether it’s fasting, meat-free, keto, shakes, there’s a whole variety of preferred approaches, but what’s key is finding one that works for you, and gives your body the right nutrition it needs for optimum performance.
We thought we’d check in with some of the Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling riders to see how they chose to fuel their bodies whilst racing. So, let’s talk nutrition!
As a team they utilise the range of One Pro Nutrition products. Each rider has a different preference within their training and racing, but the majority follow a high carb intake with around 50-80g of carbohydrate per hour, delivered via both liquids and gels. Riders typically prefer to use real food in the early stages of a long ride or event, before switching to gels. You can shop the team bundle here; https://onepronutrition.com/product/ribble-weldtite-pro-cycling-race-bundle/
My story, began in the Autumn of 2015 when both stomach and digestive issues forced me to experiment with cutting out certain food types from my diet. The first obvious two were gluten (celiac) which turned out to do nothing, then secondly dairy. You’d typically say I was lactose intolerant but I found it’s not only lactose but other compounds including whey. But basically, I’m allergic to dairy!
Initially, (and arguably hesitant to give it up) I found that I could consume small amounts of dairy without any real issues. For instance, a pizza was just about doable, but then as time progressed it transpired that I couldn’t even handle the butter in garlic bread any longer. Now my limits are maxed out on an occasional slice of sponge cake which is really handy since I run a cafe!
I’m also a huge coffee lover and have been able to cope with the alternatives that are offered, such as oat milk. The biggest changes have come from my breakfast meal is that I must always now carry a milk alternative when staying at Hotels. This is because my main source of carbohydrates pre-race is a trusty bowl of porridge and I usually run it 50/50 ‘milk’/water.
Then there are Training camps when it can often be bit of a mission finding the translation for the different types of milk in the “Longlife” aisle, but it’s all good fun.
I actually believe it helped me get leaner and for sure helps my breathing because of no allergic triggers.
Being a high carb, low fat vegan, obviously carbohydrates are the most important aspect of my diet. That doesn’t stop off the bike though! During a race, I aim for 80-90g of carbs per hour. Personally, I prefer drinking the carbs through liquid with gels on the side to stay topped up. The beauty of race fuelling is that keeping it vegan is really easy and the One Pro gels are all vegan too! This means I can maintain my high carbohydrate and vegan diet on and off the bike easily too, to maximise my performance!
For me, it’s all about not over complicating fuelling during a race or a long ride. I tend to take a mixed intake of gels with real food, sweet or savoury to taste – little and often (every 30-45mins). My golden rule though is to always have two One Pro caffeine gels saved for finalé of a race or the last hour of a ride when you really want to make a difference, or just make things hard for your mates! The main key for me is keeping nutrition familiar to my training otherwise I find it can be difficult to get food down when I need it.
I start the day off with a solid bowl of granola and some toppings – fruit and yoghurt typically, then depending on the time of race start will be a carb-loaded pasta-based meal 2/3h before race start. During the race, I usually go for an equal amount of bars and gels, and in most cases, squares bars make for an easy to eat bar, partnered alongside our One Pro nutrition gels! In terms of fluid, I’ll go an equal number of electrolyte and water bottles trying to drink those, depending on the temperature I tend to aim for roughly one per hour (500ml)! Some times jelly babies are an added addition depending on the race but all in all, I find the above tends to fuel me well for most events!
For me, carbs are key when it comes to long rides and hard races. Through a combination of energy powders, gels and real food depending on how your gut responds, as we are aiming to consume anything above 90g of carbs per hour. This isn’t an easy task and takes a lot of getting used to, but it’s proving an absolute game-changer at the end of long rides. It really makes you realise how much of the fatigue at the end of a long ride or hard race is actually nutrition/glycogen depletion based rather than it just being tired with damaged muscles.
With competitive racing just around the corner we talked to World Championship Bronze medallist and TT ace John Archibald to see if we could pick up some tips. Find those tips here.
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Ribble Weldtite photographer James Huntly shares his story of how he is using cycling to improve his fitness and achieve hos goal of one day riding for the team. Read his story here.