Real food - real fueling

When we were at Fruita (day 1, day 2 and day 3), I didn't use as many gels or chews as I usually have for long rides. I used the Gu Brew and Gu Tabs in my bottles for my electrolytes because it was much hotter than what we had been used to in Colorado Springs. Yay - the endless winter with inches of snow every weekend! What I didn't do was load my bottle full of gels and take in all my calories in my liquids. I wanted to keep those separate. Eat my food and drink my fluids. I got the idea for doing this after reading the Feedzone Cookbook. There was a lot of conversation in that book about why it's important to keep fluids and fuel separate especially when it's hot out. I had already been doing something similar at the 24 hour races. Focusing on eating while I was in pit and drinking a mild electrolyte solution while out on the course - not trying to replace all the calories I was burning while I was riding. So far I've made the chocolate peanut coconut rice cakes and the banana rice muffins from the Feedzone Cookbook and it worked really well for training rides and workouts at home. (I've also made some of the non-riding recipes and everything has been just Delicious ) This was our first opportunity to try them during longer rides and under stressful situations. I was surprised. I was able to drink more than I normally do, had no stomach problems, and was wanting to eat and drink the entire time we were riding. To me, that was success. Drinking enough while on the bike is something I've always struggled with. Last year at Ridgeline Rampage, I really had issues on the last two laps and pretty much stopped drinking because I could not stomach anymore high calorie fluids.

I did not want a repeat at Whiskey. I wanted to be able to drink enough to stay hydrated under desert riding conditions and I wanted to be able to eat enough to complete the entire 50 miles fast. So between 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo and when we left for Whiskey, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. I wanted to get it right and make sure I knew the rice cakes would work under racing stress. I got a mini food processor and made a new batch every week. I used the rice cakes during every ride over a few hours - long rides, interval workouts and so on. No issues at all, no matter how hard my rides were. A good sign - I was able to drink more, get the electrolytes thru the Gu Brew and Tabs, and eat enough on the bike. I was confident that it would work at Whiskey.

And it did. I started the race with one serving of Gu Roctane, two Brew Tabs and three Gu packets in my 50 oz bladder. Ate a rice cake before mile 16 and got another rice cake and some gummy worms from Nick at aid 1. I also got another bottle with a Brew tab from Nick. At aid 2, I tossed my empty camelbak and the empty bottle. Coach Adam was waiting in Skull valley with a 2nd bottle of Gu Brew and a bottle of water. And unlike last year, I was eating and drinking well the whole time. I had my second rice cake near the end of the climb and still no stomach issues. Another bottle of Brew and water at aid 3, and another bottle from Nick a few miles up. So in a four hour race, I had over 150 oz of fluid - much more then I can usually drink. I also didn't have any of the gut rot where I couldn't tolerate another drink or bite to eat. Success! Real food meant better hydration and better fueling. Now to plan the menu for the Growler and for June!

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