WWT I - Fueling the Body

FUELING

Just like your car needs gas our motors need fuel too.  Fuel comes to us in the way of calories, and plenty of them.

 When you are pounding out the miles you can certainly eat. We will need a minimum of 5000 to 6000 calories a day and drink large amounts of fluids to just maintain.  This is the best part of the trip. Eat everything in sight an lose weight.  What a cool diet!

The rule is to “eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty”. It sure sounds easy to do but is not. Food is not always available when you want it or you just can’t get it down because you stomach is in a knot.

When you do not supply the motor with fuel you “bonk”.  Any endurance athlete can tell you bonking is no fun. Cyclist bonk more often than a runners because it is a low impact sport. Most runners do not run for 8 to 10 hours at a clip. When your body runs out of fuel it goes down mentally as well as physically. The mental part can hurt just as bad or worse than the physical. It is a bad way to go.

How does bonking effect your mental state?  Your brain gets nearly all of its fuel from sugars (glycogen) that are in your bloodstream. During intense exercise your hungry muscles start to consume all the available sugars. When your blood sugar level drops, your brain cannot get enough fuel to function properly. This can cause all kinds of problems.

We will try and eat healthy but sometimes that will not be possible. You are a victim of you location.  If all you have is a 7-11 and it is feeding time you do the best you can. You crave sweets and carbs but need to resist the candy counter and the “quick-fix”. If available a bottle of Ensure is a safe way to go. V-8 Juice is a good choice along with some carbs.

Eating too much, too fast or the wrong thing can really cause problems.  You are always asking your body to process huge amounts of calories. Your digestive system is working overtime. Because of this it is very easy to get a bellyache while cycling.  A simple upset stomach can be the start of a downward spiral.  Your belly is sour so you do not want to eat.  If you don’t eat you start to run out of gas . When you run out of gas you bonk.

 Every one of us will have stomach problems on this trip no matter how hard we try not to do the wrong thing with fueling.  The banana that was so good yesterday may take you out the next time you eat one. Over our years of cycling we have learned what to avoid. But sadly we get fooled once and a while.

Some foods are obliviously not a good choice. Spicy Mexican food may be nice on a Saturday night out with the wife but a real poor choice for a cyclist on a tiny little seat.  You need to treat your rumpus nice if you want it to treat you nice. I think you get the point.