Nutrition Tips for the Metric Century Challenge

Here are some nutrition tips for everyone participating in the challenge this weekend! I know most of you are shooting for around three or four hours on the bike, and I wanted to give you the tools you need to be prepared for the event from a nutrition standpoint.

Before the ride

If the time of day allows it, plan your pre-ride meal about 2-4 hours before the ride. If you're able to do that, consume the bulk of it at that time (2-4 hours before) and then top off the rest of your intake about 30 minutes before you hop on the bike.

You're going to be shooting for about 2 grams of carb intake per kilogram of body weight, and this includes both the meal and your topoff. This should be sufficient for a ride like this, especially if you did a good job taking in nutrition and recovering from your previous ride and you had a good dinner the night before, if you're doing your ride in the morning. As an example, if you weigh 70 kilograms, you want about 140 grams of carbs between your meal and your topoff.

Definitely focus on your hydration before the ride, especially if it's hot and humid, as it might be in your trainer room. Make sure you're getting plenty of hydration, even if it's in addition to your pre-ride caffeine.

For some examples of what to eat, a bagel topped with avocado and toasted hemp seeds gives you about 50-60 grams of carbs with a little bit of fat and protein, and a bottle of your sports drink would be fine. A banana, figs, or dates are great options if you want to add some fruit. Maybe enjoy a bowl of oatmeal.

During your ride

Aim to consume about 60 grams of carbs per hour during your ride. You can have this however you want to get it. You definitely need to hydrate, so if you're getting carbs in your sports drink, that's fine, though you'll probably have to supplement with gels, chews, or bars, or some combination of the three.

For your hydration during the ride, shoot for 16-24 ounces per hour. If you're used to drinking more than that, then by all means do what you normally do for your personal sweat loss. The same goes for your sodium. I generally recommend 360 milligrams or more per hour. I know there was a good discussion about sweat sodium losses and replacing them, and some of you might normally get 760 milligrams of sodium per hour, which is totally fine; again, do what's been working for you. Just know that it's something you need to focus on during the ride.

After your ride

Hydration is important after the ride. Take in about a gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight; using the same example as before, if you weigh 70 kilograms, you'll want just about 70 grams of carbs in your post-ride drink or shake.

Also get 20-40 grams of protein. That's a pretty big range, but a masters athlete is going to want more protein; if you're trying to hit 100-150 grams of protein a day, you definitely want to be on the upper end of the protein recommendations for your post-ride intake.

Feel free to post any follow-up questions below or in the Facebook group (click here to watch my video on this topic and read the discussion there). I hope you all have a great ride!

About the Author

Dr. Namrita Brooke began her coaching practice while a doctoral student. Today she is a full time coach and nutritionist, and she runs an online group program called Fueling Fat Loss. She is also a cycling coach and the head nutritionist with Velocious Cycling Adventures. Her personal athletic experience ranges from endurance mountain biking to off-road triathlon, cross-country mountain bike racing, running, road cycling, duathlon, and cyclocross. Her research background includes hydration and sports drink research, and the interaction of nutrition, physical activity, and the brain.

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