A good training regime is broken down into many parts. It’s not just the riding and strengthening of muscles that gets you fit; there’s nutrition, hydration, rest, and mental preparedness.
I try to find a balance with all of these things and pay particular attention to my nutrition; I am usually pretty disciplined with my meals and race preparation. Anyone that has sat down and ate with me will know I eat a lot. The average person consumes around 8’000kj daily; including approximately 300g of carbohydrates. When I’m riding a lot I can consume more than double that amount; and if I’m including gym work at least 3 days a week I can sometimes triple the daily averages. This is a good and bad thing. I’m getting the fuel my body needs; but I’m also speeding up my already fast metabolism. Because of this it’s very difficult for me to gain weight so I sit anywhere between 74-77kg.
Lately I’ve been eating a lot and not riding as much hoping this would help me put on some weight. Having overcome a fairly serious muscle tear in my chest; I’ve started light weights again with the aim of building more upper body strength. So far it’s working as my left shoulder/chest/neck feels really good after ditching the chest brace I’ve been wearing for the past 4 months.
This last week was a testing week more than anything else. As I’m about to spend almost a month off the bike and out of training I didn’t want to smash myself into the ground. Instead I spent the few days I had on the bike testing out a new nutrition/hydration mix and enjoying the brilliant Canberra weather.
At the JetBlack WSMTB 12hr, fellow Bermer Adam told me about his beverage mix of choice; Perpetuem. We have similar sporting backgrounds in endurance running and cycling and have very similar body and fitness types. I often get cramps when I ride long distances and increasing electrolytes doesn’t really help me. After doing some research I discovered that while my hydration was pretty spot on, my nutrition was way out. Ordinarily over an endurance race you rely on caffeinated energy gels and sugar snacks to keep you going. Some people eat bananas, but considering I’m somewhat allergic to potassium; explosive diarrhoea and vomiting while riding makes bananas are a no-go.
I trialled Perpetuem over two different rides earlier this week. All of the CORC XC races are short-course races where I’ll ride at maximum intensity anywhere between 10-20km. This quickly saps my energy levels and I get very few opportunities to drink. So on Monday I went for a short spin of Bruce Ridge where I rode short stints at maximum effort and tried the new bidon full of Perpetuem. The drink itself is a milky, fuller mixture and is quite filling. It’s more like a meal replacement drink without the dairy feel to it, however there was no after taste and I felt hydrated. It passed the test for short-course.
On Tuesday I went for a longer endurance ride of Mt Stromlo. 52km of medium to high intensity riding on a beautiful sunny Canberra day. It was a perfect opportunity to test out my hydration/nutrition for endurance rides. While I was struggling a bit in my last few kilometres I was pretty happy with the plan I came up with and will certainly put it into effect during my next enduro; the Scott 25 Hour at Mt Stromlo.
Wednesday was a difficult day to get back on the bike after the previous day’s ride. My legs were tender and my lower back was a little tight. But I headed out for an easy loop of Kowen Forest/Sparrow Hill. Once I was weaving around the pine trees I started to push out. All was going well until I hit Rolling Thunder and decided a good old fashioned Strava run was in order. The track was surprisingly loose and I took a corner a little too fast. Cue some heavy rear braking and then some sideways action and I was looking at tree coming towards me at speed. All I could think of was “save the carbon bike” so I did my best Neo impersonation and put my hand out in defiance. I hit the tree with my hand and ended up on the ground; body and bike intact. It was at this point that I decided to end both my day and week on the bike. With only a few days until my Wedding and a heart-racing close call already I thought it best not to tempt fate with any more time in the saddle.