Diet and Training
This is a brief description of my diet during the 21 day solo ride. Please remember this is my personal blog written by me, I have no expertise in diet, health and nutrition topics. I have drawn on my past experiences of ultra-running and ultra-riding of what I can eat, how different foods affect my body. I have had a few experiences where some foods, drinks and shakes have not sat well in my stomach and came back up real quick. In the planning of this I had to take into account that I will be carrying all the food and water myself and I will have no means of refrigeration. You can be sure that on those days where I’m in major towns (3) I’ll be eating as much as I can, including lots of fruit.
I’ve been very lucky to have friends (thanks Laurie and Wags) who have done extreme solo events to assist with guidance and their tips. I’m always open to new ideas, so if you have comments let me know. Link.
Breakfast – ready for a long days ride.
Porridge, dried berries and diced walnuts. I have been eating this every morning for the past few months and found it quite good. I’m using two small sachets of Uncle Toby’s. I don’t use milk (doesn’t sit well in my stomach) so I have been mixing the oats in hot water. That was a bit bland, so I tried ‘the old tube of condensed milk’. Only used a small quantity, it worked okay, no tummy upset and made it taste just a little sweeter.
Followed by a couple of cups of black coffee.
Lunch – during the long days ride.
I will probably graze most of the day and not stop for a timed lunch break. Rather eat dried fruit, Clif energy bars and plenty of fluids. I will probably stop often, to take photos, chat to others on the road. When I do pass civilization, shops that is, during the day’s ride I will stop and eat. There are sections that have no shops for a long way. One section of my journey is 400 kilometres between shops.
Evening Meal – after a long days ride.
Having tried freeze-dried food previously (not liking it), I searched the web for something different. Had to be nutritious, high in calories (I’ll be burning lots riding and average of 100kms per day fully loaded), easy to prepare and the most important, taste bloody good.
Found a web site, an Australian product that fills the bill, as they say. After reading their article on the one versus the other, I ordered the, ‘AV’ A GO Pack! No. 1 (with small dampers) to test. Any food I decided on had to simply sit well, and make sure it doesn’t upset my stomach. The Happy Camper products I got were fabulous, with all the different varieties tasting great.
Because I have to carry my own water for at least three days straight in some of the sections, I could use water other than drinking water to cook the Happy Camper food. A huge advantage over the freeze dried. But most of the time I’ll be able to use the water I boiled to heat the meal for coffee, no wasting anything I have to carry.
Weight is still an extremely important factor on the ride. I may even mail a package of the meals to the Post Office at Kununurra, WA (½ way there).
I’ll be taking with me 4 x 4L plastic empty bottles to carry the water I will need. I have specifically tested and chosen these before the ride and will be taking them with me. These fit really well in the trailer and I can access 1 bottle with more ease than trying to access 1 large bottle.
I did try using a 15 L container but noticed that when it was ¾ full the water would move from side to side and place a lot of strain on the bike (and ME). I will plan ahead and take only the water that is needed for each section of the ride, some sections I will only need to carry 2 x 4L as I have water available at the evening destination.
I will also be taking Micropur Forte, a chlorine tablet, for drinking water. At different stages throughout the ride I will need to source my water from taps at rest areas and creeks and I cannot rely on this water being safe to drink. These tablets will mean that I should not get an upset stomach along the way.
I have competed in the 2013 and 2014 Port Macquarie Ironman Triathlon and I have continued training all year for the 2015 Busselton Ironman. Doing the long distance training has not been a problem but with this solo ride I have had to start training my body for doing the long distances day after day with minimal recovery time.
One long weekend I did a 4 hour long ride on each day so that I could check my Calorie loss. I have put a photo below of the results which surprised me. This is where the diet during the ride is going to be so important.
I also did 50 days straight of riding to test my body (I am 60 now and had to make sure I didn’t fall apart). I pulled up really well and I found that I became stronger and stronger each day. I think that it is important to train to the event. Although I have always continued my fitness training of riding swimming and running (now walking post injury) I have had to really concentrate on specific training for this solo ride. The 50 days of riding did this.
When doing the 50 days of riding I found some interesting information about my body. I did not necessarily lose a lot of weight but I lost a lot of my fat stores and my body shape changed dramatically. This has again highlighted the importance of my diet for the ride and to make sure that I am eating enough and of the right things to fuel my body (Calories in Calories out).
Click on the link below and check out my 50 days of riding information.
Another important component to my training was testing the equipment. I have had to get used to riding whilst towing a trailer. Over the last few months I have done several training rides using “The Northern Express” (my mountain bike) with the trailer full of equipment. I found that with 30kg in the trailer and 10 kg in the panniers my control was so much different to a normal riding. Balance becomes really important riding with a fully laden trailer. Going uphill was a struggle (because of the weight) but downhill was much easier.
After each training ride on “The Northern Express” I would find improvements that I could make with packing the gear. An example of the different improvements that I have made is the different storage of water. I found that when I need the 4 Full bottles of 4L water that I needed to store these specifically so not to cause swaying issues from the weight in the trailer (similar to towing a caravan with a light weight car). I know put 2 containers in the trailer and 1 in each pannier.