Training, Racing & LCHF Fueling For Skating And Endurance Sports
Despite nearly daily bike use, I am not really much of a cyclist – most of my trips are no longer than half a dozen miles for commuting and trips into town. I’m certainly not a FAST cyclist – I don’t have anything like the power output of those more seriously cycle-orientated – and I don’t even try to be..I’ll happily let Brompton riders pass me and not feel a dent in my ego… I like to think of my cycling activity a form of active recovery.
However occasionally I will do a longer ride, and last weekend I took part in the 2015 Surrey Rumble – a 130km sportive through some pretty gnarly hills that will give you a decent test of your riding ability if you go looking for them. The ride is arranged by the lovely folk at Twickenham CC, spearheaded by the great lady Sol (who knows more about Speed Skating than I ever will). Because of the cycle/skate crossover, there were plenty of familiar faces to greet, and I found no problem finding some “skate mates” to hopefully ride with.
Being a proper “sportive”, this was slightly more competitive (although no less friendly) than a typical charity ride, with mainly club riders, mostly on road bikes. We were given timing chips so that official results can be recorded. There were perhaps 500 riders, and a choice of a long or a short route (60 or 82 miles respectively). I had opted for the long version because, well, hell, because you’re in for a penny in for a pound, right?
A bunch of us London-skaters set off towards the back of the field; Nic, Jack, Paulie, Neil & myself all set off in close proximity, and at that point my plan and my expectation was that it was going to be a fairly relaxed group ride affair.
However, after a fairly easy first few miles, we hit a few hills and the intensity levels ramped up a couple of notches – I found myself cycling along with my Jack & Nic, and we began working together and holding a pretty hot pace. This was no Sunday Stroll. Believe it or not, Jack was on a MTB with full suspension & off-road tyres – the guy is an absolute BEAST, and I would shudder to think how much faster he could have been on a road bike!
The three of took turns pulling the line and made good progress. We didn’t stop at all until we hit the first checkpoint, about 45km in. Even then the stop was fairly brief, less than 10 minutes to visit the bathroom and eat some food to refuel. Speaking of which, I had brought with me:
Bottle 1: mix of UCAN, Whey, Caffeine, BCAAs and D-Ribose
Bottle 2: water + electrolyte tablet
I had also brought half a packet of salted peanuts (about 120g), which I started to eat at that point.
The 2nd leg was another solid effort – we caught up with another group of 3 triathletes, and shared the work together. However, invariably different people were faring slightly differently, and Nic & Jack dropped off the larger group. I stuck with the triathletes because I just found them easy to draft and felt that they were just the right pace. We came to the 2nd checkpoint after about 90km, and some familiar faces in Sparky & Dan were there already. Jack & Nic came rolling in just a few minutes behind.
I didn’t hang around too much.. I figured that I didn’t really want to wait around very long, and would just be happy cycling the last leg on my own at whatever pace I was comfortable with, so I set off again after just a short break. Unfortunately this was a mistake, because after just a few miles I failed to see one of the direction markers, and got lost – it wasn’t too drastic, just costing me an extra 6 or 7 minutes I would guess, as I came to the next junction and didn’t see any markers, figuring that I should turn back to get back on track.
The rest of the 3rd leg was quite a lonely affair. I didn’t see many other riders, although Nic caught up with me at about 120km… and we cycled the last 10km to the finish together. By this time I was pretty knackered and didn’t really care too much about trying to go any faster.
We finally made it back to the start/finish point somewhere around 5hrs 20 minutes after we had left (I’m not exactly sure, as I forgot to start my Garmin until a couple of miles in). Sparky & Jack were already there (must have passed me while I got lost) as was Dan, who was just about to set off to ride another 20 miles back to London… crazy boy!
I averaged 154bpm for the whole ride, (although even higher than this for the first 2/3rds), which is about 80-81% of my cycling HRmax, so it was a pretty solid effort. Add in the customary riding to/from train stations, and I think I just about managed to hit triple figure mileage.. it’s probably the most distance that I’ve ever biked on a single day (although I think trying to “cycle” up the side of Mam Tor in Derbyshire still trumps it for sheer comedic novelty value… those who were there will know what I am talking about).
Total caloric expenditure for 5+ hours of solid riding is probably around 3000-3500 calories, while caloric intake between the nuts and the drink mix was in the region of 1000 calories total, so a pretty big calorie deficit. It’s think that I could have kept my energy levels higher for the last 40km had I bothered to fuel better and eaten some more along the way, but I just relied mostly on fat-adaptation to provide me with most of the energy. After the finish I refueled with a couple of bananas, and then ate plenty of dark chocolate when I got home.
It was a great day out. I also slept very well that night. Now onwards and upwards…