In this video, I cover what sort of food you should be eating on longer recreational cycling to stay in the best shape for your event. I’ll cover off what you should be eating when you’re training for and doing long-distance cycling events, how much of it should come from carbohydrates and what sort of carbohydrates you should be eating.


So, another Peaks Challenge nutrition question. I’ll keep this kind of open because a lot of the stuff that applies to Peaks Challenge also applies to other long endurance-based events, as well. So, this sounds like a bit of a tough one for this endurance event, would you consume short-chain sugars/gels at the beginning of the event or leave towards the end.

Generally, I prefer to run. Personally, I like to run low GI carbohydrates so, you know, complex carbohydrates earlier on in the ride and they migrate towards high GI carbohydrates that is unless I’m racing. If I’m racing, I can’t eat a muesli bar when I’m racing because I just can’t, it involves chewing and normally I’m racing.

So, my head’s down and I’m just committed to whatever’s going on in front of me. So for racing, I’m on, on gels, but for peaks, you’ve got plenty of time to pull a muesli bar out of your pocket and pull up, pull the wrapping off of it and start chewing away. There’s a whole decent off Hotham where you could probably three of them.

So that’s what I recommend. But it really depends on your burn rate for a recreational ride. Well, there are a couple of protocols, and I go over this quite often. There are two protocols that are out there.

You’ll see the one promoted by nutritional companies, which is one gram of carbohydrate to one kilogram of body weight per hour. So, if you weigh 70 kilograms, that’s 70 grams of carbohydrate per hour. That’s a lot of carbs to eat in an hour. Now that’s about two gels or almost three gels or three muesli bars or five bananas. So, that’s a lot of carbs.

Now if you’re riding at really high intensities, you generally burn that sort of carb. But for recreational riding and training and stuff, it’s somewhere between 30 to 60 grams for most athletes. I had one of my clients tell me that they were doing 100 grams of carbs per hour. But, that seems pretty excessive. Sure as a big guy, but that seems like a lot of carbs.

You’ll want to get your nutrition and stuff in order and locked in before your event and then put together a nutritional plan to get an idea of what you’re going to be eating throughout the event and take into account feed stations.

So, we have a nutritional chart for Peaks Challenge that I created for Bicycling Network a few years ago. If you’re interested, just send me an email to support it and I’ll send you a copy of it. Please don’t do that the day before the event. Do send it to me earlier so that I can get back to you.

That’s quite good. David, you because last year when I did it, one, and I’m not going to mention the name of the guy saying to take gels now and he was promoting this drink that had a lot of maltodextrin, short-chain, but I just found halfway through I just got bogged down from the big sugar hit. Now I’m working on the winners’ bars. One or two per hour. And I’m going to try that strategy so just asking for your opinion

Look, the thing about peaks challenge around nutrition is that you want to have – because it’s such a long event, and for those people that don’t know about it, the cut-off time, is 13 hours and it’s 235 kilometres and about 4,800 vertical meters so there’s a lot of climbing.

You want to make sure that you are comfortable with your nutrition. If they have Cadel Evans bars or whatever they’ve got at the event and they’re going to be dishing them out, then I would recommend you try all those as well so that you get used to them. I eat a lot of Carman’s. They’re made by an Australian company here. I buy a box of them for $6 or $7 and they last me a week and when I’m out on longer rides, that’s what I eat when I’m training.

You want to have a low GI carbohydrate before you start any rides longer than 2 hours. You want to have a low GI, and including Peaks, you want to have a low GI carbohydrate before you start your ride. And that could be porridge or muesli or brown bread or something like that.

I had one client that used to have brown bread and canned spaghetti, cold on toast. That’s what he ate, and it was a little bit of low GI and high GI.

So, but then once you get into your ride you want to eat a couple of muesli bars an hour. The big thing about Peaks is that when you get to Angela’s rest, which is about 110 kilometres into the ride you want to have something in your bag that’s savoury. So, it could be like a Vegemite sandwich. It could be even something like potato chips. You don’t have to get too caught up in not being super healthy at that point because you’re probably craving a lot of salt. So, it could be even a packet of potato chips, something savoury or something a bit different.

They had Vegemite scrolls there last year and I was wondering why they had that.

So, because you’ve been eating a lot of carbs for six, seven, eight hours it’s nice to have something that’s not sugary. So, I have a few options because I’ve been out on training rides and been comfortable eating muesli bars and gel. And then you get to Angler’s rest, and I just don’t want to eat another muesli bar or a gel. I just like that something different. So, try it.

You can even have salted peanuts or, or almonds ginger. Ginger has got a really unique taste if you like ginger, but definitely don’t do that for the first time at the events. Try it out on training rides to make sure that agrees with you because the last thing you want is to eat anything new and that includes dinner the night before, or breakfast in the morning. So, don’t introduce anything new leading up to that event and even in the week leading up to it, I wouldn’t eat anything new or exciting or try anything out then.