What is the best thing to eat before your big race? First, you need to know what nutrients to ingest before an intense effort. Second, you have to get the right foods to get a reliable supply of them. This article will be a crash course into both topics, and you will learn how to make a great pre-ride meal in a recipe at the end.
Your body needs the right fuel
The morning before a race or a tough training session is when you need to give your body the important energy boost it needs. If it’s going to be a long race, then a well-balanced breakfast with some healthy fats, easy-to-digest protein, and plenty of complex carbs is the way to go. You should finish the meal at least 2-3 hours before the race, though. If you are used to fuelling with quick carbs, you should also add a quick snack full of simple carbs about 30 – 60 minutes before the race starts.
A quick pre-race boost
Energy gels are a good way to get fast sugars in efficiently. Choose those that are easy to digest and contain electrolytes. If you want something to chew on, something that contains real foods and none of that awful high-fructose corn syrup, then you should go for some tasty fruit jellies, like the ones in this recipe.
Recipe: Homemade Fruit Jellies
Fruit jellies are basically fruit and sugar in a “form” that is super convenient to carry. They are the ideal snack pre-race or even on a bike because they contain easy-to-digest quick energy. And you can make them with any type of fruit you prefer.
1 ¼ cup fruit puree (made from 1 ½ pounds or 680 g of fresh fruits)
2 tbsp rice syrup
6 tsp powdered pectin
½ tsp citric acid
2 cups granulated sugar
⅛ tsp citric acid
½ cup granulated sugar
1. Combine 1 cup of sugar with pectin in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
2. In another bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar with citric acid. Mix well and set aside.
3. Wash, peel and seed the fruits, then blend until pureed. Strain the pulp through a medium-mesh sieve, discard the solids.
4. Fill a big pot with the fruit puree and bring to a boil. Add the pectin and sugar mix, stir well and bring back to a boil.
5. Add the rice syrup with the sugar and citric acid mix. Bring back to a boil and stir well using a wooden spoon.
6. Cook until it reaches the temperature of 106°C (223˚F), which should take about 5 minutes. Then continue cooking for 3 more minutes so that the jellies aren’t too soft.
7. Pour the hot puree onto a baking sheet in a baking dish and let it sit in a warm, dry place for at least 6 hours.
8. When cold, combine citric acid with granulated sugar on a plate. Cut the candies into pieces and roll them in the mixture.
9. Store the jellies in an airtight container; they last several days.