While most stage races require a careful approach to fuelling, in order to perform on the bike, FNB Wines2Whales is a little different. The riding requires energy reserves, but the extra-mural activities – off the bike – can deplete your resources too. That’s why we asked USN for advice…
The FNB Wines2Whales is all about gees. On and off the bike there’s a massive amount of fun to be had. But all that excitement comes at a caloric and isotonic cost. The fuelling needs for the Chardonnay, Pinotage and Shiraz races (the names certainly hint at part of the difference) are very different from standard mountain bike events.
Not only will you be riding nearly 200 kilometres in three days; but you’ll also be staying up late, eating a little too much, having a couple more glasses of wine or beers than usual, and generally being more social. Getting your fuelling strategy wrong could mean bonking on the bike. It could also mean having to miss out on off the bike fun, while your friends are staying up late telling increasingly raucous stories.
Fortunately, USN’s sports nutrition and training expert, Heinrich Hurter, is on hand to help you perform at your peak throughout the FNB W2W. “In the week leading up to the race you can focus on consuming carb rich foods, to ensure that you replenish both your muscle and liver glycogen stores. Ideally you should be tapering, but if you’re doing last minute training rides you have to consume more carbs than if you were tapering,” Hurter explained. “Things like rice, sweet potato, potatoes and pasta are the ideal simple carbs to consume. But remember to also consume more complex carbs, which come from sources like brown rice, wholewheat bread and brown pasta.”
“From a supplementation perspective it is extremely helpful to consume 1 to 2 servings of either USN Epic Pro or Pro Enduro while out riding,” Hurter advised. “By doing this, the need to consume more carbs through food for your prep week is significantly reduced.”
“It is also very beneficial to start the phosphate loading stage, with cramp block three days prior to the race. It is crucial to avoid cramps and not try to manage them, as soon as you start cramping, you will continue to cramp,” Hurter warned. “USN’s Cramp Block tablets provide a great way to phosphate load. Take 3 tablets, twice a day, in the three days prior to the event. If you’re prone to cramping and feel you need to take them for maintenance of phosphate levels, take 2-4 tablets daily, before bedtime for optimal absorption.”
With the FNB W2W taking place on some of the Western Cape’s most famous wine farms there’s a ready excuse for a glass or three of wine post-stage, as well as the usual post-ride beers. “Regardless of if you’re going to be drinking or not it’s a good idea to hydrate before the race,” Hurter emphasised. “Our Zero Sugar Hydrator replenishes electrolytes and minerals, plus it reduces the risk of cramping. I suggest 1 to 2 sachets, per day, leading up to the race and then 3 to 4 sachets, each with 500 millilitres of water, on event days. If you’re drinking alcohol, you can increase the number of hydrator sachets you consume ideally matching them one-to-one with drinks.”
As the official Sports Nutrition Partner of the Epic Series and the FNB W2W, USN provides sport nutrition products at water points as well as post-stage in the USN Recovery Zone. Riders are welcome to visit the USN stall before the start to top up on Epic Pro, Pro Enduro, Zero Sugar Hydrator, Vooma Ultra Energy Gels and Vooma Energy Bars. “Riders who weigh between 50 and 80 kilograms should aim to consume 25 to 70 grams of carbs per hour of endurance exercise,” Hurter noted. “80 to 110 kilogram riders will need to aim for 40 to 100 grams per hour. But Epic Pro also contains fat, which is crucial for sustained energy production during endurance. Adding Zero Sugar Hydrator rather than just water to your bottles will aid in hydration and electrolyte replacement. Riders who need Cramp Block can then supplement with 2 tablets half an hour before the start and 1 tablet per hour during exercise.”
Post-stage the USN Recovery Zone is set-up to kick-start the refuelling process after day’s racing. The USN products available to the riders include Pro Recovery and, of course, the popular Cramp Block tablets. “Pro Recover is the compete endurance recovery drink; containing proteins, fats, electrolytes, amino acids and carbs,” Hurter pointed out. “It will quickly and effectively replenish energy stores and allow the you to be ready for the next stage, the next day. Pro Recover will also reduce the risks of cramps and reduce any stiffness and soreness. It should be combined with the maintenance dose of Cramp Block, as indicated above, too.”
Riders are advised acclimatise their bodies to USN’s sports nutrition products, while training for FNB W2W. “Everyone’s digestive system is unique and reacts slightly differently to the make up of various sports nutrition products,” Hurter reminded. “It’s always best to use in training what you plan to use during races.”
Visit USN to stock up on sports nutrition products to get you through your winter FNB Wines2Whales training and we’ll see you on the start line very soon!
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