It may seem a strange thing to say, but at the age I have reached (mid to late thirties) I need to return to mastering a skill which we are born with, feeding. The main difference is when you are first born into this world you are totally reliant on your mother or father for your food. You cry and they feed you and if that doesn’t work change your nappy. As you grow and get older you learn how to feed yourself and where the biscuit tin is kept, plus how to get in and out of the cupboard without anyone else finding out!
So why an I writing a blog about eating again or feeding myself. Thankfully I have not had an accident which has left me having to re teach myself the basic human functions, far from it, I need to learn how and more importantly when to feed my body when put in the bike. I will say the distances are starting to come along nicely as is the average speed for the rides, but as I am required to complete longer rides I need to gain confidence in what and when to eat whilst out riding.
In the past I have used gels and tabs from high 5. The gels taste nice which certainly helps and the tabs contain vital electrolytes, as well as having a pleasant taste (berry and orange have been tried) I need to start to work out the best time to take in board food so I can allow my body to cope with the extra training it will be put through and so that I don’t increase the chance of an injury.
I have read a few articles and blogs on getting your food right pre, during and post ride. I have to say I am a fan of wheatabix or whichever supermarket version I have in at the time as my pre ride breakfast. However it is the feeding whilst riding which is the area which requires improvement. Having practices with gels from high 5 I know they are good stuff and my body is able to cope with them. I feel there is now need to change the brand, it’s just the timing of when to take in board the fuel so my body doesn’t suffer. The key hear is to get the fuel on board before your body needs it so you don’t lose any performance on the bike. My issue to work out is just when. This morning we went out for a nice 48 km ride and I only used the tabs for energy (still need to lose some weight). Any ride longer than this and I will need to carry fuel and take it on board so I can keep up the good work. I feel comfortable riding up to 60 km at quite a good pace (for me between 25-28kph) but fuel will be required if I am going to complete another 100km on top of this in a good time.
My plan will be to try and learn to take more frequent sips from the bidon rather than an larger gulp of the liquid the said bidon contains, in order to keep the speed up whilst riding. Taking in fuel so far has resulted in the speed falling away and having to work very hard to catch up with any fellow riders or group. This defeats the object of taking on more fuel to go for longer.
After a ride I am normally quite good at taking on a good meal which will contain the right stuff to aid the bodies recovery. Pre and post ride is sorted, now let’s get the feeding whilst on the ride itself cracked before the summer.
The fact of the matter is I must practice taking in food whilst on a bike riding. It will take time and this is one thing you need to practice as we are all individual so therefore will require fuel at different times. Saying that it is only learning to eat again, and I have done this once before in life, so can do it again. Just this time I’ll be on a bike and not wearing nappies! >