Race Day Nutrition — Crack the Code

Distance: 119.07 miles
Time: 6:20:42
Average Watts: 155 watts
Normative Power: 182 watts
Average Heart Rate: 150 bpm
Total Work: 3,545 kJ
Average Speed: 18.7 mph

I thought this ride was going to only be 100 miles. I set out early Saturday morning to try and get back so I could spend time with the family on Saturday and then, pow, bang, boom, I blew it. I thought I would be gone about five hours, and I ended up being gone a little longer than that. I had my Garmin GTU on, so my wife knew where I was and that I was plugging along. I did want to average 20.0 mph on the entire ride, but a headwind for the last 25.0 miles killed that idea.

There is a climb from the valley floor to the town of Eureka on this route. The climb is 9.0 miles long and according to my Garmin, it has an average grade of 3.9% because of an elevation gain of 1,830 feet. One of the other goals for this ride was to put out a easy effort for the first 40.0 miles and then kill it up that hill. I was pretty pumped because I averaged 10.3 mph for the 52:32 it took to climb this hill to V & J’s Grocery at the top of the hill in town. I want to do this climb again before LOTOJA and try to go sub 50:00. All I have to do is increase my average speed to 10.8 mph. Easy, right?

Eureka is literally a dot on the map, but it is tough to find a place that is better to cyclists. I love it because at V & J’s Grocery they don’t charge me for ice and water. You would be surprised how many places do. Look at how cool Main Street is in this town…and yes they do ghost tours here.


Nutrition Ideas

So I got the “Guide to Winning LOTOJA” from Cameron Brown last week. For those of you who do not know, Cameron is the three time winner of LOTOJA and a friend of my pal Scott Davis who passed away. While I won’t share with you all his secrets (they aren’t really secrets, you just have to ask Cameron and he will tell you all you want to know), he had some great ideas related to nutrition that I thought I would share here. I am sharing them because they are readily available in at least a dozen places on the net webs.

I am really interested in seeing what those of you who have done events over 5:00 hours think about some of these. Some of them may be foreign to you, but when you think about them, they make a ton of sense. I am trying to fine tune my nutrition strategy for LOTOJA, so again, please share your insight with me.

Let’s take Saturday’s ride as an example. The ride went over six hours and I only stopped twice to refill my bottles. Pre-ride, I ate an entire ProBar for about 350 calories. I drank a 32 ounce cup of water to start my stomach moving and to hopefully get ahead of my hydration. I put two bottles of Infinit on my bike with about 275 calories each. I packed four bags of Infinit with the same amount of mixture for a total of 1,650 calories on the bike. I planned for six hours worth of nutrition.

I started on the bottles after 30:00 minutes on the bike. I took an extra ProBar with me but never ate it because it did not sound great to me. I ended up taking two Enduralytes from Hammer Nutrition about every two hours. I drank a bottle of Infinit every hour for a total of about 275 calories per hour. That amount is what I have found is what my stomach can process. I did get a little “sloshy” Saturday, meaning I could tell my nutrition was hanging up in my stomach a little. I took the Enduralytes and it cleared itself up within about 10 minutes.

When I got home I was worn out. The distance nor the wind was the culprit. While they both took a toll, I think I got dehydrated. It was a hot day and I was sweating like Dennis Rodman at church. There were a couple of times that I rolled by a convenience store and thought I should stop to just pound a couple of bottles of water because I wanted to test myself and my nutrition/hydration strategy. The conclusion: I need more water when the temps creep up. Temps were hot on Saturday.

When I got home I immediately pounded a 32 ounce cup of water. Within 20 minutes, I drank another one. All in all, I drank another three cups of this size through the end of the day before I started to really pee. Obviously I was dehydrated. So on a race like LOTOJA, how should I get more water? Should I get the guys who will run SAG for us to hand me up a bottle of water that I should pound at the aid station and then discard? Even Saturday I would pound a bottle of just water the two times I stopped, but that just wasn’t enough. I need more.

I don’t want to change my nutrition, but as good as ProBars are, I think I want my solid food to be more basic. I have read about and Cameron Hoffman recommends boiled red potatoes with a little salt mixed in. I have a friend who also recommended making your own California Rolls with some substitutions and using those as a solid food during a race. The California Roll I will make with egg and ham and see how that does. I think the protein/carb mixture will be awesome for energy. I am going to experiment with both over the coming weeks.

The goal will be to find something that keep without too much maintenance, hands up well, and does not produce messy hands on the bike. I will need something with a decent amount of calories without being too bulky. I have really liked how ProBars have performed, so I hesitate to switch. But if I can find something that is more effective, why wouldn’t I shift? I have two big rides to test new foods on in the coming weeks, so my experimentation will not extend into LOTOJA race day.

So you RD’s and foodies, what would be a natural concoction that would meet my three criteria? Oh yeah, it needs to taste great too. :)


You guys know I don’t really like to ride or run with music, but in the pool it is a different story. You guys who are fish and grew up swimming may be able to stare at the black line for hours at a time, but man it just isn’t in me. I have used the Interval from H2O Audio during long pool sessions for a couple of years now. I gotta tell you I love the thing. Swimming with my iPod is freakin’ genius.

H2O Audio is having a sale this week on their products, so if you are in a spending mood — and let’s face it, with the downgrade of U.S. debt to a AA rating by S&P — swing by there and pick one up. Mine hasn’t ever leaked and has kept my iPod Shuffle nice and dry for a couple of years. The headphones aren’t fantastic, but they beat listening to the voices in your head.

You can check out their products here…

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...