Nutrition Tips for Mountain Bikers – Before, During and After a Race

No matter what anyone tells you, beer and pizza are not going to prepare you for a race, and no, drinking light beer isn’t a better option.

Believe it or not, there is more to a proper training diet than carb loading and protein. In fact, most coaches will agree that proper nutrition is more about when you eat certain foods as opposed to what you eat.

So I’ve broken it down into a fool-proof method that explains what you should eat and when, so that you can perform at your best.

Before you race your nutrition objective is only to:

1. Prevent Thirst

2. Maximize carbohydrate stores in your muscles and liver.

The Guidelines are:

*Stay away from the heavy carbs and proteins.

*Don’t eat a lot of fiber rich foods

Fiber rich foods and meals that are high in proteins and carbs take longer to leave your stomach and will usually leave you feeling heavy. Carb Loading should always be done 1- 2 days before a competition. But if you must eat a full breakfast, I suggest doing it do it at least  3 – 4 hours before your race. However, once you are within  2-3 hours of your race, limit your carb intake to snacks that have a smaller or limited amount of carbs.

So what else should you eat?


Before Competition

Two to Three hours before competition make sure you eat a light breakfast that includes fruit and a small amount of carbs or proteins, such as hard-boiled eggs or Cliff Bars and water.

10-15 minutes before competition limit your food intake to a light snack that will give you a blast of energy, but not slow you down. I recommend Clif Shot Bloks,  Jelly Belly Sports Beans or GU Roctane Gels.

During Competition

Once you start racing your objective changes. Your goals should be to:

  1. Replenish energy stores that you are losing
  2. Stay hydrated

The Guidelines are:

*Drink in moderation, drinking every so often will prevent thirst, and since thirst is a sign that your body is dehydrated, it is best to drink to prevent dehydration. Be proactive as opposed to reactive with your intake of fluids.

*Don’t pile on too many snacks or drinks all at one time.

While you exercise your body is going to lose salt through your sweat. Ideally you should aim to replenish 400-700 mg sodium per hour of training.

Sports drinks like GU Roctane Energy DrinkPowerBar Performance Energy Blend or energy gels by Clif have small amounts of salt in them and will prevent you from major cramping while you are on a long ride. Its important to continue drinking fluids while you are working out, the major benefit is that you will be able to exercise longer and finish those long runs without a problem.

After Competition

After an intense workout your body needs to replenish the protein and carbohydrates that were burned during your workout.

Your Post work out Objective is

  1. Deliver carbs and protein through a high quality source to start the replenishment process.

The Guidelines are simple

*Eat the right carbs, this is not the time for beer. The right carbs will replenish what you have lost.

*Eat as soon as you can after a workout. A delay in a food source or nutrition source will not help your body repair itself efficiently.

Most of that protein should be supplied by high-quality, whole food sources such as beef, chicken or beans. But, until you can get home to prepare a meal, recovery snacks like PowerBar Recovery BarsHoney Stinger Protein Bars and Cliff Builder’s Protein Bars are quality products that are quick options that will start to get your carb stores replenished in no time.



The Tour Divide I Price Point Rider Markley Anderson Finishes 11th

Markley Anderson

The Link recently caught up with Price Point rider Markley Anderson after his 11th place finish at the Tour Divide. The grueling 2,745 mile, fixed-course, off-pavement cycling race, stretched from Banff, Alberta, Canada, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

Anderson, who was projected to finish the race in about 20 days, beat expectations, finishing the race in 18 days with an overall average of 155 miles per day on his Price Point sponsored Sette Razzo bike. He held on to a top ten position for the first several days despite a pulled quad.

“I was so exhausted. I kept three of the racers off for awhile, but I just couldn’t climb with the left leg alone,” said Anderson. ”I went through a lot while I was out there. I just rode and rode until I couldn’t ride anymore.”

Markley Anderson

During the 18 day ride he faced a number of difficulties and hardships. He was unsupported during the race and did what he could to manage the weather and exhaustion. “I ate everything I could find.  I slept in ditches and open fields. It’s a commitment to be out there. You just go until you can’t,” said Anderson.

Markley Anderson

“I got caught in a lightning storm and had to hide out and sleep in an outhouse in New Mexico. When you are at six to seven thousand feet of elevation there is no cover. You just go where you have to go and do what you have to do.”

Anderson is currently taking a break from extreme ultra racing, but he is scheduled to ride in the “Fight for Freedom” race on July 27, 2013 in Williamsburg, VA and in a 24-hour race at Great Glen, New Hampshire in the beginning of August.