How to be Epic

For this edition, Rochez O’Grady has decided to hand it to you on a platter: how to be epic at the Cape Epic. This means what to do before, during and after an event – particularly for a long distance ride, so that you can perform at your peak. You know what they say, we are what we eat.

What to do before the ride?

Yes, you guessed it, eat breakfast. You should tuck in at least 30 to 60 minutes before exercise. The best breakfasts are low-GI, but low fibre mixed with fluid. Let’s cut the lingo down to what this is in food terms it sounds way more appealing, have a look at these easy ideas:

  • Smoothie: 2-3 fruit, fat-free yoghurt/milk topped up with a couple of tablespoons of oats and some honey to taste.
  • Future Life with fat-free milk (enough to make it into a shake), add a banana to make a smoothie
  • Oats with honey, cinnamon, banana, a handful of almonds and a fat-free yoghurt/milk
  • Pronutro with fat free milk topped with a fruit

When to refuel when you’re on the bike?

Don’t wait too long, that’s the key. If you ride for too long without refuelling you deplete the energy (glycogen) stored in your muscles. This is when you run the risk of getting cramps or flat lining. This is why you need to start refuelling within an hour of riding.

What to take on the bike?

On a long ride take sweet and savoury – this variety will ensure refuelling on a regular basis without getting sick (literally) of your snacks. If you can, go for real food options first before opting for manufactured products. It’s more economical and provides you with the nutrients you need.

Have a look at these ideas and get planning:

  • Dates or date balls
  • Raisins
  • Banana
  • Cereal bars
  • Fruit bars
  • Nougat
  • Sandwiches (rye works well with blood sugar control) with peanut butter/ marmite /honey
  • Baby potatoes with salt
  • Sweet potato with salt
  • Savoury or sweet muffins (not high fibre types – can upset your stomach on the ride)
  • Fruit cake
  • Banana Bread
  • Jelly Babies
  • Super Cs

Tip on how to choose a good bar:

Aim for between 20-30g carbs per bar. Watch out for bars that are high in fat, it slows down digestion, possibly leading to stomach cramps. Fat needs to be less than 10g per bar.

How much fuel do I need?

The ideal is to have 30-60g carbohydrates every hour. A great way to work this out would be to start familiarising yourself with how many carbs each of your snacks and drinks contain. Try and make your own combos, have a look at the examples:

Examples: 20 – 25g carbohydrate

  • 1 Large Banana
  • ½ jam sandwich (1 slice of bread)
  • ½ peanut butter  sandwich (1 slice of bread)
  • 5 Super C’s OR handful jelly sweets
  • 3 – 4 large dates
  • 1 x sachet of sports gel or GU Chumps (jellies)
  • 1 x Cereal bar: Oatsli Berry Burst or McNabs Energy food bar (Cape Orchard or Cocoa)
  • 1 x Hammer Almond Raisin Bar
  • 2 x mini banana muffins
  • 1 x Woolworths 2 Go Pure Fruit Smoothie

Examples: 30 – 45g carbohydrate

  • 1 x Marmite sandwich (2 slices of bread)
  • 1 x Woolworths Low GI Snack bar
  • 1 x large Mule Bar: Mango Tango, Hunza nut or Pinacolada
  • 300ml Woolworths Low Fat Berry, Strawberry and Banana, Mango and Passion or Kiwi and Apple smoothie (dairy based)
  • 1x sachet instant oats (34 g carbohydrate)

Here are some combinations that will give you a good idea on how it works, choose one every hour:

  • 1 cereal bar + 250ml Sports Energy Drink OR 250ml grape juice mixed with water
  • 1 large banana + 250ml Sports /  Energy Drink
  • 1 jam or marmite sandwich + 250ml Sports /  Energy Drink
  • Handful of Jelly Sweets PLUS a fresh fruit + 250ml Sports /  Energy Drink
  • A few dates PLUS ½ peanut butter sandwich + 250ml Sports /  Energy Drink
  • 1 fruit bar + 250ml Sports /  Energy Drink

How much water do you need to drink?

Hydration during exercise reduces fatigue, and replaces water and electrolytes that we lose when we start melting on the bike. People have different sweat rates, this will affect water and electrolyte losses. Make sure you having at least 400-800ml every hour; rather don’t wait until you’re a puddle. A good idea would be to try and get a drink that would fulfil three functions, providing energy (at least 30-50g carbohydrates per 500 ml), electrolytes and hydration. For the last few bottle try drinks that contain peptide proteins, some great examples are PeptoPro or Epic Pro and Perpetuem.

What to do once your bum is off the bike?

Well done, you’ve made it! Now it’s time for recovery. Carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes and fluid – any of these will help replace your lost nutrients during your ride. Try to do this immediately afterward. Here are some recovery meal ideas:

  • Sports recovery drink that includes peptide protein and electrolytes
  • Large fruit and yoghurt based smoothie with a cereal bar
  • Fruit salad with low-fat fruit yoghurt, nuts and cranberries
  • Chicken or salmon wrap with salad greens
  • Rye or seed bread spread with cottage cheese or marmite, and a few thin slices of cold roast beef and fresh fruit
  • Pasta with tuna and tomato based sauce

We are all epically differentSo make sure you test your nutrition plan so that you can master your own epicness.


Sus the Research:

Did you know? Research has shown low-fat chocolate milk is one of the best recovery drinks.

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