This years’ Canyon Belgium Waffle Ride is shaping up to be another great event. With a growing field of over 500 Riders in the Waffle Ride, and nearly the same amount in the Wafer Ride, the competition will be fierce. The sheer act of completing this event will be a feat, but how you finish relies heavily on your training and your nutrition. By this point, the training work is done, but planning out your feedings should be happening this week while you virtually scout the course and develop your plan of attack. To help you do so, we’ve developed some recommendations for how to make the best use of the aid stations and the food/ drink you bring with you.
Your performance hinges on your nutrition the week before.
Everyone knows about tapering down the week before a big race, but paired with that should be maximizing glycogen stores within the muscle. This will be your bodies first and foremost fuel source during the ride followed by blood glucose and carbohydrates stored in the liver. While you may thinking, “I need to be light for all this climbing”, Don’t take away your primary fuel source by cutting calories the week before, in fact, you should be seeking to have a positive energy balance.
A good strategy to implement is this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, eat your normal amount of food plus 200-300 KCALS of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. This addition of calories should also be accompanied by extra fluid intake as more water will be pulled in as glycogen is stored in the muscle. Friday night before the ride, DO NOT gorge yourself in hopes that food will be doing some good the next morning, the opposite may the case as overeating will likely have a negative effect on digestion and your subsequent performance. Again, the limiter in this type of event is fuel, so first and foremost top off your fuel storage this week.
Plan out your feedings to eat enough, but not too much.
With Clif Bar products in your arsenal and aid stations offering a variety of food options, there should be plenty along the way, but plan this out now. One thing to consider is that the maximal amount of carbohydrate your body can absorb on an hourly basis is roughly 60-80g per hour. Ingesting proteins and fats may help us, but the main goal is to support blood glucose levels for the long haul. Putting this knowledge to use, 1 gram of carbohydrate equals 4 KCals. Using the maximum amount, 80 grams x 4 KCALS per gram = 240 KCALS.
Using CLIF hydration electrolyte drink mix, will provide about 120 KCALS per 22 ounce water bottle (that’s 1.5 scoops). Eating a piece of fruit such as a banana (100 Kcals), or an orange (85 KCals) will provide an adequate amount of calories on an hourly basis when paired with the drink mix.
Gels, energy bars, and other ready to eat foods also put you pretty close to the desired intake as well. If you are using another product, just be sure to follow the recommended mixture as diluting too much powder could also be problematic or diminish the effectiveness of the feeding. In addition to this strategy, try to also consume some protein to help combat fatigue. Above all try to aim for around 200-240 KCals per hour, every hour.
It should go without saying, but in case you need a reminder, drink enough water!
We lose a vast amount of water to the environment as our bodies heat up and our natural cooling system kicks in. In this light, seek to drink a half cup of liquid + Electrolyte drink mix every 10 minutes. This timing will put you on par to have drank a full water bottle and have consumed your caloric goal for the hour. Do this every hour you are out there. Signs of dehydration occur after your body has already become dehydrated and subsequent performance loss will ensue. In addition, inadequate hydration leads to inadequate digestion of the calories you’ll need to be consuming, hinders mobilization of fats as well as carbohydrates as a fuel course for the exercising muscle and in general is something you should plan to avoid.
Putting It All Together
In summary, planning your nutrition creates a much higher chance that you’ll reach your goal(s) for the Waffle or Wafer ride, not planning your nutrition however, could make for a very long day in the saddle or worse yet, not getting to finish what you started. This week, do some shopping and lay out your nutrition strategy on the table.
If you have any questions or need help preparing your personalized nutrition strategy, please feel free to reach out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for a nutrition consultation by visiting Source-e.net/services. Have a great Ride!
About the Author: Grant Harrison grew up competing in a variety of sports including college football, competitive soccer and hockey. Since then things have switched all things cycling- in multiple disciplines to boot. His extensive Master’s education in Human Performance gives him a solid background in all things athlete-related. He’s focused on the delicate balance between pyschological skills, coaching, nutrition, and athlete performance. In addition to coaching services, he also offers one-on-one nutrition consultations. Learn more about Grant or sign up for a nutrition consultation with him or email him at email@example.com.