This is another post by a guest writer. Thanks Bob, for writing this for me. This is my second season on trifuel. I love the stuff.
Proper nutrition is everything in endurance sports. Without it, nothing else matters. You can be the most trained well prepared athlete on the best equipment in the race but fail on fueling your motor properly and you will lose. I have seen many athletes far superior to myself doing the slow bonk ride back to the start. I am somewhat amazed at the P1/2 level at how many racers I think sabotage themselves before the race even starts. You would think people at this level would have it figured out but it seems to be a part of the training process that some are better at than others. I myself have inadvertently failed and experienced the results first hand as recently as last summer. I was doing a gravel 100 mile training race and had a flat in the first few miles. I lost a lot of time and skipped the first feed station at mile 40 to catch the lead pack. There was supposed to be another at mile 60 and 80. It was 100 plus and windy and the 60 mile feed was not there. I remember watching my speed go from 18-20mph to 10-12 mph with nothing I could do about it. I came into the 80 mile check limping. I downed as much fluids as I could stomach but I never really recovered. The good news is this is an area that can have the greatest impact and performance gains no matter what level you currently are at.
Your diet has a very large impact on your performance potential but along with diet specific health supplements and race fuel are also key factors. I remember my first year as a cat 2 being a very "learning" year. Being a former "fatty" I had no problem with eating good foods. I always thought that regular diet was enough and did not take so much as a multivitamin. I did not understand the demands and depletion you subject you body to training 20 hours a week. I thought I was ready for my biggest race to date only to fail spectacularly. What I did not know before the race was that I had become anemic. I fell sick during the race and went home lifeless. I went to the doctor when I got home and found I had a low red blood cell count, low iron, and developed gastritis. I took a week off the bike and rested but even the next week, I felt weak, dizzy, and nauseous. I was fortunate that shortly thereafter my current team came across BRL Sports Nutrition. The are the makers of EPO-Boost, TRIFUEL, and InVirgor8 recovery/meal shakes. I started using EPO-Boost(no banned substances) and began to improve quickly. I went back to get another blood test a few months later and while my RBC was still low, it was above the min. I take the supplement all year two months on, one week off. I made a habit of getting a blood test every spring at the same peak training load time and every year my blood work has improved under the same training load.
TRIFUEL is my go to race day and training fuel. Throwing back to my first year cat 2 mistakes I used to only use water in my bottles. I had a hard time drinking with anything in the bottles as I always experienced that "sticky throat" problem and after 40-50 miles found the taste of the products I tried did not agree. TRIFUEL was a huge factor in my performance improvement on the bike. I have a big motor but am somewhat of a slow starter. I started drinking a bottle of Wild Berry TRIFUEL exactly one hour before every race. It makes a HUGE difference. I actually set an alarm on my phone as my teammates can attest to as they find themselves going to their bottle like Pavlov's dog when they hear it go off. I am now much more physically and mentally prepared when the whistle blows. I always race with two scoops in each bottle. I have shared many a bottle of TRIFUEL while racing and training and watched a struggling rider come to life in 30 min. I did an ultra endurance race last year called the Dirty Kanza 200. It is a self supported 200 mile point to point off road race in the rugged flint hills of Kansas. TRIFUEL was my only fuel source for the last 130 miles and me and a few others shattered the previous record time.
Obviously weight is a key component in sports but especially cycling. This has been probably my biggest struggle. I have learned a lot over this winter and will be competing at my lowest weigh ever this season thanks to BRL's InVigor8 shakes. I eat small meals every 2 hours during the week and replace two of them with shakes. The taste great and have amazing nutrition! They are also the absolute perfect food for post ride/race recovery. I have also found the shakes work great in your bottles for winter training as it is hard to eat in the cold with heavy gloves on. Incorporating these into my routine is going to be key for success in the events I am doing this year. Remember, fuel/hydrate/recover.