If you’ve been following this month’s series, you have a pretty good idea about how much to eat, how to time your fuel, and what types of drinks, gels and bars are right for you. You might even be making your own energy bars at home by now. It’s time to take it out into the real world. As I said in the very first article, it’s essential to practice your strategy first. Here are some practical tips for when you go out and start testing out all the new stuff.
Handle your food safely
Don’t fuel during descents, especially not when you have to turn a lot, the increased risk of crashing is not worth it. It’s also not a great idea to start eating on hard climbs as you’ll probably need your mouth exclusively for breathing.
Be aware of other riders around you. Unless they are your teammates that you know won’t start braking or turning without warning you, it’s best to have some space around you before reaching for a bar. Also be careful when fuelling in crosswinds, something that’s no problem with both hands on the handlebars might become a problem as you start multitasking.
Make your bars race-ready
Cut the tops of your energy bars before a race as this will make them much easier to get out later in the race when you’re tired. Definitely practice this with each new brand in training, you don’t want an unwelcome disaster in your jersey! Also, note that this advice is for advanced racers, you definitely don’t have to do this when you start.
Now go out there and practice all you learned. You won’t have to worry about your stomach cramping and your body running out of fuel in any race if you do the basics right.