Monday, September 8, 2008

The Long Ride

Yesterday was Crowie's Inverloch 280 ride. It went from Melbourne to Inverloch and back on some of the most sensational roads I've ever seen. Just when you think you've seen all the good rides in the area it pays to go out with an old pro like Crowie to show you a thing or two that you've been missing.

A 280km ride at say 33km/hr (which is a reasonable average speed) will be about 8hrs. If I burn 700 calories per hour (being a moderate pace), that works out to 5600 calories that'll need to be replaced during that ride. Use 1000 calories per hr if it's race pace. Seeing as the body can only really absorb about 500 calories per hour, target that for the duration of the ride. Should suffice for me including the stored calories I had in my belly from the large pizza i ate on Friday night and the healthy brown rice and salmon I had Sat night.

Every hour I drank a 750ml bottle of energy drink (about 200 calories), and some sort of easily digestible food (I like using 1/2can of creamed rice - 250 calories) along with a jell or some snakes. Energy bars have about 300 calories, so that's another good option if you have the money and patience to eat them. That gives a good 500 calories per hour to keep me topped up. Usually when you least want to eat is a good sign that you really need to eat. About 30km into our ride home it started pouring cats and dogs on us and became very miserable out. When we get cold and wet is usually the time when we don't feel like we need to eat and it's very inconvenient to mess around with food. It doesn't take much to go without food or water for an hour when it's raining and cold out, so this is the time to be very cognizant of this.

By the end of the ride 8hrs later I was still full of energy. This has everything to do with the nutrition throughout the ride and not nearly as much as the fitness level. Without the nutrition you can't use the fitness on these longer rides - I don't care who you are, you won't overcome a few thousand calorie deficit!

The 30min to 120min after the workout is the best window of opportunity to get some carbs and protein into the body for it to rebuild.

It's not complicated and I wish that I had taken the time to learn a bit about nutrition in my younger days. It's no different than a gas tank in a car. You won't go anywhere if it's not kept topped up.