Cycling is known for its notoriously demanding conditions and the toll it takes on the body. The ever-changing advances in technology help us cope with these challenges, but at the end of the day the body has to replenish itself and repair the damage. Sure, the best and most expensive gear might help you get to the finish line today, but it will in no way help you recover for tomorrow.
In my opinion, the biggest flaw in professional racing is that something so essential as our diet is vastly overlooked. We spend countless hours on making sure our equipment is just right, our training has gone to plan and our nutritional needs are met at home, yet when we show up to races we are fed empty calories.
As athletes, we are basically shooting ourselves in the foot each time we take the start of a race. To go from eating food with substance and nourishing the body at home to having an all white diet of bread, pasta and chicken is by no means the best way to get 100% out of oneself. Any food can provide the needed calories, but it is what’s in those calories that make the difference.
Pasta has plenty of carbohydrates, but little else. The growing trend is that the gluten in pasta inflames the digestive track, thus hindering the recovery process. It is the same with bread. Both are needed at times, but if those are your only options for replenishing several thousand calories a day, you’re only hindering yourself. A balanced diet, including food from every category is what is needed and that has been impossible to find while racing away from home.
The food that the race organizations provide us is just another sign of how old-fashioned and stubborn the sport still is. You could go back fifty years and find the same food being served. So much has been studied and learned in recent years to better our bodies through what we eat that it is ridiculous to remain in the past. Races are working on a tight budget to feed several hundred people, but that doesn’t mean we have to be served the exact meal everyday.
It is taking some time, but the word is getting around and teams are starting to pay more attention to the food the riders are served on the road. Chefs are being brought in, at the expense of the team, for more races to make sure that the food is not only properly prepared but that it is what the body is craving after 200 kilometers of racing.
I recently sat down with Biju Thomas and chatted about his new book he co-wrote with Allen Lim, The Feed Zone. Biju is a self-taught chef – he now works closely with RadioShack - that has spent the majority of his life preparing simple, yet highly nutritious food fit for the most demanding sport in the world. After flipping through a few pages of The Feed Zone, it became apparent that just putting some thought into your next meal is all that is needed. There are no fancy ingredients or expensive products; you don’t even need a lot of time. Not only will you start to see huge improvements with your workouts on the bike, you’ll even improve your mood all around. After all, you are what you eat.
I highly recommend looking through Biju and Allen’s cookbook. I know that I’ll be trying each recipe over the winter. You can find it here: http://velopress.competitor.com/nutrition.php?id=321
Slovakian rider Peter Sagan won stage eight of the Tour de Suisse and Mathias Frank retained the yellow jersey on Saturday heading into the final day individual time trial.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -An independent commission that investigated doping by Dutch cyclists and their teams recommended Monday that the responsibility for testing and sanctioning riders be taken away from the International Cycling Union to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Rui Costa of Portugal won the seventh stage of the Tour de Suisse in a late sprint Friday, while Mathias Frank retained the overall lead.
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