While training for the Tour de Cariboo, food and fluid intake are very important, especially when you are out on longer rides. Dehydration is a gradual effect. For every increment of fluid loss there is a small rise in your body temperature and heart rate, and an increase in the perception of how hard you are working. Skills and concentration are also impaired. In other words, as the fluid deficit grows, there is a continual decline in performance. You may be unaware of the subtle changes at first and only begin to notice when it is too late. Optimal performance means being at your best, not just escaping serious problems. Staying well hydrated and fed during training and on race day will allow you to enjoy the experience. Minimizing dehydration is one step towards achieving your performance and/or fitness goals, particularly when you are exercising in hot weather.
Now what does that mean? How much should you eat or drink? Ideally everyone should drink to keep pace with his or her sweat losses while exercising. This means replacing fluids throughout the period of activity. Water is a cheap and readily available fluid, and is often quoted to be the “best” drink for active people. If you choose to stay hydrated with water, you want to drink little but often (between 24-48 oz. per hour). For food, carbohydrate intake is known to improve performance during events of longer than 90 minutes, by providing the muscles and brain with extra fuel. Recently a number of studies have shown that carbohydrate intake may also be of benefit for a workout of as little as one hour. It certainly won’t harm performance, although some individuals may need to count the cost or the calories involved. Sports drinks provide a simple and effective way to replace fluid and carbohydrate simultaneously during exercise. Of course, specialized products such as sports drinks are expensive and are best used in the right sporting situation. Some people use foods such as fruit, energy or granola bars, or sandwiches to provide a fuel boost during exercise. A carbohydrate intake of about 50g per hour is generally recommended for prolonged events (that equates to approximately 200cal/hour). Successful strategies are ultimately decided by individual preferences and experience.
Examples of 50g carbohydrate snacks include: 750 mL sports drink
500 mL fruit juice or soft drink
250 mL of liquid meal supplement (eg. Ensure)
250 mL fruit smoothie, three medium pieces of fruit
honey or jam sandwich
60g packet of jelly beans
You want to be sure to not consume too much carbohydrate too quickly as the intestines can only process so much at one time and overdoing it can lead to stomach upset. Be sure to practice through training so you are sure you know what works for you when the big day arrives!
For those of you who have already registered for this years Tour de Cariboo – Congratulations! You already know what an amazing event this is! For those of you who are still debating – please let me entice you. The Tour is a beautiful 75 km ride from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake. The ride is a bit hilly, but gives you an opportunity to see the beautiful terrain the Cariboo has to offer. Once you have completed, there are many rewards for your hard work and dedication. Jennifer Kopp of Inner Balance Wellness Studio and Spa will be onsite providing post race massages, there are hot showers, an outdoor sauna on the beach and there will be a banquet with fabulous food provided (vegetarian options available). Musical entertainment will be there in the afternoon and shuttles will be providing rides back to town after dinner. If you choose to stay and relax overnight, there is free accommodation in cozy cabins if riders prefer.
So now that you are sold on what a fabulous event this will be register today at Williams Lake Big Brothers and Big Sisters at 250-398-8391 or online at www.bbswlake.com.
Brittany Klingmann, MPT, BSc Kin, CAFCI is a registered physiotherapist.