Nutrition on the bike – what’s hot and what’s not

Nutrition on the bike – what’s hot and what’s not

On this first episode of Ask Coach Parry Cycling we chat to cycling coach Devlin Eyden about your nutrition on the bike.  We get good advice about what you should be doing and what is not a good idea in trying out nutrition leading up to race day and particularly on race day.

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Welcome to it, it is the first episode of Ask Coach Parry Cycling and if you don’t know, we’ve been producing a thrice weekly podcast in the running space for a good few years now and the demand has been there to do some stuff in the cycling space and we are absolutely chuffed to be able to welcome onto this podcast our cycling coach, Devlin Eyden, Devlin, welcome nice to touch base with you.

Devlin Eyden:      Thanks Brad, good to be here.

BB:         Just to give you a bit of background and what we’re going to be doing. The forum is open, obviously there’s lots of questions around cycling and if you have any questions that you would like answered, if there’s something that’s bugging you or something that you’re struggling with, just head over to, you can submit your question there and we could be answering it on this podcast.

Where  to start with your nutrition strategy

Devlin, we’ve got a question in and this is basically a week out from race day, someone was saying that they’re a serious weekend warrior cyclist, they’re never going to come close to winning any races, but they feel that they need some help from a nutrition point of view.

They’re riding the Cape Town Cycle Tour for the second time this year, hoping for a sub four, he does feel like he can improve his nutrition on the bike, but not sure where he should start, what amount of supplements, and with the amount of supplements, gels, bars and potions out there.

Can you give him some basic nutrition strategy and I think it’s important to note Devlin, it’s a week to go to race day, now is not really the time you should be experimenting, but what advice could you give to the cyclists?

DE:         So look, it’s a very valid question, I suppose one of the most commonly asked ones out and yes, as you touched on, being a week out of Cycle Tour, now is definitely a little bit late to be playing around with anything new.

My suggestion would be, if you’ve got something that does work for you, stick to it. The key being, as coming to the expo before Cycle Tour, a lot of guys give you information, there’s freebie hand outs as you go, do yourself a favour though and don’t use any of those supplements that are handed to you at the expo.

Obviously feel free to play around with it after the race, but you are at risk of having a bad race should something go wrong.

How to plan your fluid intake and food on the bike

With regards to what to use and how to use it, I think the key thing on race day especially with the temperatures that could be quite warm, is fluid intake. That’s going to be quite a key area.

Usually the guys, we like to recommend about 150ml fluid intake every 15 minutes. In whole, just to kind of judge that, you can basically go through a water bottle in an hour.

I like to generally try and mix that up, so between an energy supplement that you use as well as water itself, make sure you obviously take in and be careful what you take in at the water point as well.

Some of the sponsors at the water points will have supplement sponsors as well, so if you’re not used to it, just be careful what you do take in at the water points.

With regards to an energy drink, you’re obviously looking at something that’s a little bit higher in carbohydrates. Also, it is advised to take anything between 50-70g worth of carbs per hour.

Again, that’s quite individual to the weight of the rider and the body type and what you generally use, but just keep that in mind.

Have you trained with gels?

Then gels, well gels again, it’s something you need to have trained with. If you’re not used to taking gels, just be cautious about taking gels on race day, especially if someone rides past you and hands them out. Timing of taking the gels is quite important.

You need to keep in mind as well that you do have an energy spike from taking them so you need to make sure that you aren’t taking them too early in the race and if you are, you need to be sustaining the energy intake for the race and with gels comes the need for more water intake as well.

I think just in a whole, in a nutshell, more than anything else, just be careful what you are taking, don’t play around with anything new.

Hydration and food on the bike is key.

BB:         Excellent stuff Devlin, that’s great advice as well around the expo cause that Lifecycle Expo is blimming amazing, there’s everything under the sun you can wish for and you’re going to have stuff given to you, but Sunday is not the time to be using it.

Put it into a plastic packet, save it for after the race and go and test it out on all your training rides, that’s the best time to really figure out what works for you.

Devlin Eyden, thank you so much for your time today here on the podcast, we look forward to the second one coming up in just a couple of days’ time. If you’ve got any question, get them in now,, that’s where you can get all the details.

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