On average a Tour rider will use about 6000kcals a day. To put that into context, that’s at least the equivalent of doing the Big Mac challenge every day (10 Big Macs = 5400kcals)…….you can see from this youtube clip that it’s not easy to eat that much
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZYgZMJQCgg (warning: clip is a bit boring/sweary – just a big guy eating Big Macs, skip to 8:55 to see he only manages 6!)
Getting enough calories isn’t the only problem though. Nutrition needs to be targeted to maximise performance. Even a small drop in power output can have big consequences. For example stage 12 is a monster at 135 miles. It’s proceeded by 2 savage stages in the high mountains so we will definitely be tired going into it. Replenishing fluids lost through dehydration is also crucial. When your body is depleted of fluid through sweating your blood volume drops, heart rate goes up and your performance drops or comes to a complete standstill. A drop in speed of just 1 mile an hour from our projected pace would mean an extra half hour on the bike. Being on the bike for longer than necessary means less time for recovery. The following day is 132 miles. Poor nutrition and inadequate recovery can very likely mean a premature end to the Tour and so it is essential for us to have a clearly defined “on the bike” and post-ride recovery nutritional strategy.
There are loads of companies that provide energy drinks, bars, gels and recovery products. So how did we decide who we wanted as our sponsor? There are a surprising number of considerations when choosing which products to use. This includes obvious things like tasting nice and having a texture that is easy to chew (some bars are as dry as cardboard!). As well as more subtle aspects, like the packaging. Some companies make bars and gels where it’s almost impossible to open without using both hands or where you have to unpeel the wrapper from the bar because its sticky – and that’s fine for some sports – but obviously in cycling you want to minimise the time spent with both hands off the handlebars and you don’t want to have to stop to eat. However, the two most important considerations for us were to choose a company that provided a scientifically based product and one that we had used previously and got on with. By got on with, I refer to gastrointestinal side effects. I won’t go into detail but here’s a link to an article by Mark Allen that explains a bit more….http://kansastriclub.com/nutrition/mark-allen-how-to-choose-the-right-sports-drink/
There was no doubt in my mind which company we wanted. Between us we have used loads of different companies in the past but High5 was a clear favourite. Their main product that we were keen on getting was the 4:1 Energy drink named as such because of its mix of 4 parts complex carbohydrate to 1 part whey protein. Research has shown that this ratio drives more energy into working muscles and provides athletes with significantly more endurance when compared to carbohydrate only drinks. The other benefit is the inclusion of BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) which reduce muscle breakdown, which in turn reduces tryptophan levels. This is important because tryptophan can cross the blood/brain barrier and contributes to central fatigue…..in simplistic terms when I use this I feel more comfortable and less tired than I otherwise would. Don’t take my word for it though – High5 are so confident in their products they currently have a race faster or your money back offer – check out their website……..http://www.highfive.co.uk/indexUK.php
So, after a pretty short discussion with the guys we decided that High5 was our first choice of sports nutrition sponsor. The fact that their red water bottles match my bike was an additional bonus!
(No apologies for a muddy bike in the pics – weather has been awful – just about to clean it courtesy of our other sponsors Muc-Off!!)
Anyway, I contacted High5 who were really enthusiastic about the One Day Ahead project and kindly agreed to sponsor us by providing all our sports nutrition needs for training between now and the Tour – and for the event itself!
Last week we received delivery of 8 big boxes of product to divvy out between us for the next 7 weeks which takes us up to the prologue in Leige.
We have got loads of 4:1, recovery drinks, energy bars and gels and that will definitely help us get the miles in over the next few weeks as will the weekly Physioworld sessions! The sponsors logos look great on the jersey and apart from the Cycling Weekly Magazine shoot this week will be getting their first airing at the Hampshire Hilly Hundred next weekend so come over and say hello if you see the Jerseys! We will be putting some pics up soon
Lets hope the rain stops soon. Peace out.