During the 2013 Straumann bike ride, I set off on day two feeling not too bad; I’d made it up yesterday’s mountain, survived a crash that took out Heidi O’Carroll and got to the end of the day to be awarded the ‘slow’ group yellow jersey – very proud! Day two took us through some lovely French countryside and for the first couple of hours I felt fine. We were going at quite a pace for the ‘slow’ group and although I was enjoying myself I started to feel very strange. I wasn’t out of breath, but I couldn’t take a deep breath and then I started to feel a bit ‘emotional’ and then all of a sudden I had to stop. Basically I’d run out of energy. The group stopped, got me off my bike and gave me loads of Jelly Babies and an energy drink to get me going again and from that moment on I was on a Jelly Baby diet for the rest of the ride!
What went wrong?
As a rule of thumb, you need about 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of cycling depending on your weight, average speed, riding time and the fuel efficiency of the food. On a ride you burn through carbohydrates at quite a rate and if we don’t take on board extra energy, you completely expend your glycogen stores in less than three hours. At that point you slow down or are thoroughly fatigued. When this happens in extreme cases it can be quite frightening and you body starts to feel like it’s shutting down – and this is exactly what happened to me!
So you need an intake of carbohydrate, and specifically you need carbohydrate that gets to your muscles quickly which Jelly Babies do. Bananas are good sources of energy too, and of course there’s always the concentrated sachets of carbohydrate gel… When out on training rides it’s a good idea to experiment with different foods and start to understand your body and when and what works to keep you going. With the right refuelling formula, challenge rides become much easier to deal with.
My energy food choices:
- ￼Jelly Babies – My favorite!
- Malt loaf – Yummy
- Bananas – In moderation
- Jam sandwiches – Take preparation
- Beans on toast – Great café choice
- Energy bars and gels – If all else fails!
Jelly Baby facts:
The humble Jelly Baby has around 5gms of carbohydrate per sweet and has been giving fans a sugary thrill for generations. First produced in the 1800’s they were originally named ‘Unclaimed Babies’! In 1918 Bassetts produced what they then called ‘Peace Babies’ and these were made to mark the end of the First World War. The manufacture of the sweets was suspended during the Second World War, but the ‘babies’ were relaunched in 1951 with the new name… ‘Jelly Babies’!
If you have been inspired to make a donation visit the Straumann Charity Bike Ride JustGiving Page
Why not take a look at some of the other participants accounts on the lead up to the Charity Bike Ride here
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