In the days before a big bike race or a long ride it is important to eat and hydrate properly. But there is more that is important than just what you eat that will help you have success in the upcoming event. The three critical factors that come into play are: what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat. Here are eating and hydrating suggestions for before a big race or ride that should help you have a successful outing.
First, it should be noted that there are lots of thought about what you should and shouldn’t eat before a race. What you are about to read are best guidelines. When it comes down to it nobody knows yourself better than you do. Consider these guidelines and then listen to your body and do what it tells you.
1. Three or even four days before the big day begin to really hydrate your body. You want to make sure you are drinking plenty of water this whole time. Don’t overdo it, but consume enough water so that your urine is light color or even clear. The single biggest factor that could hinder your performance is being dehydrated. Did you know that losing as little as 1% of your body weight in fluid can reduce your performance by as much as 10%? But you have total control of this. Just drink plenty of fluids without overdoing it.
2. There is a lot of talk about eating a big carbohydrate meal the night before a race. That will only leave you feeling bloated. I suggest that is better done two nights before a race. The night before the race eat a light “carb” meal say of pasta, brown rice, a green vegetable, fish or chicken. Don’t gorge yourself; eat until you are just about full. You body will actually be full at that point. You basically want a meal that is easily digested. This meal should be finished a minimum of 12 hours before the race.
3. The morning of the race-this is very important. Eat a good breakfast and make sure you are completely finished at least two to three hours before the race. You want the meal to be digested and leave your stomach by race time. As far as what to eat, some athletes have a blended liquid breakfast. They feel this helps in the need to hydrate and digests faster. Others will eat foods high in carbohydrates like oatmeal, whole grain bread toast with peanut butter, bagels, waffles. Stay away from protein foods like meat or eggs-they do not digest very fast. Also, no white bread or sugared cereal-the sugar will give you a quick boost of energy and then you will fall off just as fast.
4. If you get hungry before the race have a quick energy bar. Be sure to keep drinking water or a sports drink with electrolytes in small amounts all the way up to race time.
Every cyclist need to have a good bike rack. There are lots of new designs in bike racks today.