Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nailed the nutrition

I continue to amaze my coach. I can just picture her hanging up the phone and shaking her head. "Keith, nice guy and all, but knows NOTHING of the outside world." The occasion was talking about GWN and the pre-cramp state of my hams and all. And nutrition. It turns out I suck at nutrition. It's astonishing I've ever finished my longer rides. I've been goofing badly on the electrolyte issue. For instance, for some reason I thought that Nuun tablets and Perpeteum were essentially the same thing. I tried Perp once and it nearly made me barf. So I didn't even think about Nuun. Well, I got told to think about it, and try it out, and that it wasn't the same.

So on a recent trip to MEC I picked some up. I pulled it out of the orange flavour box but it turned out to be tri-berry when I got home. Rather than adding sea salt to my energy drink I added a Nuun tablet and tried that on my ride today.  Well holy cow. Tastes great, and I think my hams are less cramped after a 5 hour ride than before.

For the record, the energy drink now gets made like this, for two bottles. Make lemon tea in a 1 litre measuring cup. I use Celestial Seasoning's Lemon Zinger. Fill to the one litre mark and add one tea bag. Steep till desired strength. Add 150 grams of honey and stir till it melts. This is two large spoons filled and overflowing. Orange Juice to flavour. Let cool a bit and pour into bike bottles. It will come up to about the constricted part of the bottle, depending on exactly how much OJ you add. Drop a Nuun in each bottle. When the fizzing stops top up with water and refrigerate. 300 calories per bottle, plus the Nuun goodness.

Since I was a MEC I went across the street to Speed Theory to see if they had nice tri shorts. I got given size Large in Descente, 2XU, and Louis Garneau. The Descente shorts are a cruel hoax or are miss-sized. They got as far as my knees and I knew they'd never get over my butt. The 2XU shorts fit ok, but I don't like the thigh gripper thingies. The LG fit great and I picked up a pair. I'd have bought two if they'd had them. I also got a jacket and I'm glad I did, I needed it today. There was a really nice white jersey I saw that I should have tried on but my brain lost track of it till I was nearly home. I'm such a poor shopper because I hate it so much.

It was supposed to be nice today, but it was overcast, windy, and cool. After a bit of dithering around I went anyway. This was supposed to be a 5 hour ride, steady and strongest at the end, then a 25 minute T run. I took 2 energy drink (per above), 2 water, 2 Clif's bars, a banana and ate it all over the ride. I also took along a gel just in case things went a bit long or I was feeling peckish.

The wind was brutal! Steady at about 25 Kph out of the south east. Which was mostly the direction I was riding. I started a bit easy, trying to spin. My right knee was feeling a bit creaky, and didn't want any of the really hard pushing. Steady spin was better. Last year I made Black Diamond in 2 hours flat, and today I was barely into Turner Valley at the 2 hour mark. Heading south from Black Diamond it started to get sunny and even more windy. That chunk of road is totally exposed to any wind from any direction. I stopped and wrapped my jacket around the saddle bag. Then stopped a few minutes later to tweak the position of the rpm magnet pickup. Then stopped again to tweak the position of the speed pickup. First time that's needed tweaking in ages. Rode to the top of the big hill almost to Naptha and turned around.

I was a bit disappointed. I was still feeling the wind. I stopped again in Turner Valley and re-arranged the jacket. There were two additional stops to pee. This was a lot of stopping! Normally I get on the bike and go. Coming back along 22X was just about into the teeth of the wind again. At one point I had my head down, pedaling hard, doing about 18 Kph, feeling the wind whistling in my ears, and I was getting sick of it, I can tell you.

But what was interesting is that I got through all the nutrition. The drink tasted great from beginning to end. It's hard to tell because of the wind, but I'm pretty sure I was feeling stronger and more comfortable on the bike toward the end of the ride than I was at the beginning. I wasn't really settled on the bike at first, and spent much more time than usual standing, mainly to change things up for my legs. Not so many people out riding and they all waved.

Off the bike for a short transition, then out for the 25 minute run. At first I was a little unsteady. Oddly enough my right knee was just fine, but now my left hip and IT Band started acting up. I worked on my posture and stride a bit and it settled down in about 10 minutes and I had a nice run. Not blazing fast or anything but a nice pace, stronger near the end. I could have continued on just fine with a gel and a drink. Walked and stretched.

What's important for me today is that this is just about the best I've ever felt coming off a long bike ride. No tummy slosh, and didn't feel weak and feeble. My legs were still strong, though I deliberately wasn't pushing as hard as I have other rides. I could have gone on, and the only reason I didn't is that the house (with the bathroom) was right there.

I just looked at my numbers from June 27, where I did push hard. Essentially the same distance ride and it was done about 10 minutes faster, but I couldn't run afterwards. Today's terrain was less hilly but the wind was more of a factor. And I ran just fine. And feel great.

4:55 stopwatch time for the bike
4:46 ride time from the bike computer
121 K ride
25.4 Kph average pace per bike computer
24.6 Kph average pace per my stopwatch
81 rpm average cadence
120 average heart rate during bike
137 average heart rate during run.


  1. we have just ourselves figured out some good stuff on eating while on the bike. sure makes it tons easier!

  2. I used Nuun during my IM training and loved it. Glad you like it too.

    Great job on the ride and run. Sorry your IT band and hip hurt. :(

  3. Nice sharing your experiences here. Always drink some natural healthy drinks and try to avoid, the 5 hour energy danger products


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