NUTRITION AND HYDRATION TIPS FOR LONG-DISTANCE MOUNTAIN RIDES

Mountain bike rides require high and regular energy intake. The pre-workout and first few miles are of vital importance for your ability to complete the bike ride in a decent physical condition: your nutrition and hydration can become your enemies if you overlook them, so make sure you become comfortable with them at the training stage.

1/ A GOOD BREAKFAST TO START THE DAY

Start the day with a complete breakfast. It will regulate your calorie intake during the cycling event. This meal is often overlooked by athletes even though ’it is one of the key factors in the energetic distribution of your day. Its composition: o   A drink for hydration: coffee, tea, etc. o   One source of starch for complex carbohydrates: bread, cereal, toast, etc. o   Un fruit (ou un jus de fruit, ou une compote) pour les vitamines et les minéraux. o   One dairy product for calcium: semi-skimmed milk, cottage cheese, natural yoghurt, etc. o   Butter (or margarine) for essential fatty acids and vitamins. o   One sweet product: jam, honey, jelly etc. Just as effective, but easier and quicker:: o   Energy Cream by Aptonia : its easy digestibility means it can be eaten up to 30 minutes before departure, without causing deficiencies (404 kcal, vit B1, B6, C, zinc et magnesium). Can be prepared at the last minute (no cooking). o   Energy Cake by Aptonia : can be consumed up to 1 hour and a half before departure. Can be prepared 1 to 2 day(s) before consumption:practical for saving time (and sleep) on a race morning for example. If you're not very hungry in the morning, you can drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up: this will stimulate your appetite.  

energy cake

2/ NUTRITION FOR YOUR LONG-DISTANCE MOUNTAIN RIDES

WAIT RATION

Before a long bike ride, it is good to have a digestible snack of about 200 kcal. Have it about 15 minutes before the bike ride. It can comprise of one of the following:

o   1 to 2 Aptonia nougat energy bar(s)

o   2 Aptonia fruit jellies

o   2 rice cakes + 2 teaspoons of peanut butter + 1 banana

o   1 poached egg + 1 muffin

o   1 protein bar (about 15g of proteins and 25g of carbohydrates)

o   2 slices of wholemeal bread + 4 teaspoons of peanut butter

o   20 almonds + 1 greek yoghurt

o   1 fruit purée (unsweetened) + 5 cereal biscuits

o   2 slices of toasted wholemeal bread + 1 hard-boiled egg + ¼ of a tomato

o   1 cereal bar+ 1 natural yoghurt + 1 orange

 

OUR NUTRITIONAL TIPS THROUGHOUT THE TRIAL

Your nutrition will depend on various factors: the temperature, height difference of the ride, duration (more than the mileage, especially in the mountain) and your fitness level. We are often unable to ingest as much food and water as we should. Training also serves to exercise your digestive tract during exercise.

Your nutrition during the ride will be taken as follows:

- One 750ml water bottle every hour / hour and a half

- Half an energy bar every hour

- 1 banana after 2.5 hours and 4.5 hours of exercise

- 1 energy gel after 1.5, 3.5 and 5.5 hours of exercise

gel-bike

Water requirements will vary according to the temparature and difficulty of the course. Please note that you should only eat half of an energy bar at each break, and have the last ½ bar when you arrive to start the recovery process immediately. Set off with 2 bottles of energy drinks, such as Iso+ : As this quantity of water is not sufficient for a ride longer than 2.5 hours, a good tip is to take Double Use bags in your pocket. These are much more practical to carry and use than the Iso+ powder when cycling! When you fill up your water bottles (at feed stations during cyclosportives, or water points during your training sessions), the Double Use bags can then replenish your energy drink. Try to drink every 10 minutes or so (7 minutes if it's very hot).

 

3/ RECOVERY

If you can have a meal within an hour of the training session, you should try to drink water that is high in bicarbonate and sodium (Saint Yorre, Vichy Celestin, etc.) and a meal comprising of:

·       Fruit and vegetables (for their vitamin and mineral intakes)

·       Carbohydrates (to restock on gylcogen)

·       Red meat or lean fish (for muscular repair)

·       One dairy product

·       A little bit of fat (such as rapeseed oil)

 

If you want cycling to remain a pleasure, your nutrition and hydration should not be sidelined during your long-distance mountain rides. Should you need to, don't hesitate to set an alert on your watch and/or connected tracker if you have one: one beep every 10 minutes to hydrate yourself. Of course, you should never wait to be thirsty or hungry but for your information, the physiological condition that comes before a craving (or hypoglycemia) is leg burn! If you feel really good all of a sudden, ask yourself whether you have eaten recently: if not, don't accelerate and eat something!!

 

Etienne

Etienne

I've always been into sports, and for the last 5 years I've focussed on triathlons; I prefer long distances (marathons, IronMan®...). My little moment of glory came when I finished first among the French at the 70.3 world championships in Spetember 2017 in the US. I'm also a nutrionist dietician alongside my work at Decathlon and I work with lots of sportsmen and women, helping them with their nutritional preparation for sport. Physical activity and healthy eating? Two (great) solutions to staying in shape!

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