Ronan McLaughlin’s Nutritional Blog (Interim)
Written by Kinetica fuelled, An Post CRC cyclist Ronan McLaughlin.
After looking into pre-race nutrition in my last piece, I will be writing about how I fuel myself during a stage today. The energy I took on with my breakfast would be enough to fuel me at race pace for between one and two hours, but because we need to race for up to five or six hours at a time in some of the longer races it’s important to keep right on top of fuelling from the start. I like to eat a small energy bar or cake while standing on the start line, just to stave off any hunger and this also saves me from having to eat in the first thirty to sixty minutes of the race which is usually quite intense. he most important part of race nutrition is hydration; all our race bottles are filled with Kinetica 100% energy. We try to drink at least one bottle every forty five minutes, this is made a bit easier by the fact we have the following car behind us with forty to fifty bottles ready to hand out during the stage. These drinks provide a carbohydrate source which is obviously very important, but they also provide vital hydration aids like salt, b-vitamins and taurine, and also provide anti-oxidants to fight the free radicals that build up during intense exercise. During a four to five hour race on a really warm day, I would consume up to ten bottles.
When the racing is really intense and some instant fuel is needed, we use Kinetica Energy gels to provide the energy. The obvious benefits of gels is that they can be consumed very quickly and also work quite quickly. I usually use between three and five gels per race and I prefer to take them in the last couple of hours of a race, unless it is a very fast start when sometimes you only have time to take a gel. In the last hour of a race I will take a caffeine gel which will provide a performance and mental boost. n top of all this liquid energy the body also needs some solid fuel. I prefer to depend on solid foods such as, energy bars, small cakes, bars or bananas in the first couple of hours of a race, which I feel keep my stomach working and better stave off hunger feelings than gels and fluid alone.
That is basically how I tackle each race. Sometimes I will take a protein bar along with me also during a stage race to consume in the last hour and a half of a stage to provide the body with protein to utilise as soon as the stage finishes and begin recovering that little bit quicker. Protein can sometimes be slow to digest and hence my reason for taking a protein bar with an hour and half to go, and basically with the toffee MilkPro bars from Kinetica I will use any excuse I can to have another one.