Tuesday, May 4, 2010

To Eat or Not to Eat

I (Coach Alison) just finished racing the SRAM Tour of the Gila (where I got a stage win and finished second overall). Everyday of racing, I started to notice a common theme.


Eating is normal in a stage race. What you do or do not eat during not only a one day race, but during a stage race, can have a MAJOR impact on your personal race outcome.

Nutrition is key in athletics, especially in an endurance event that goes on day after day.

Usually, during a stage race, we talk about eating, eating more, "I'm still hungry", "I'm tired of eating", etc. But this particular race situation lead to talks about NOT eating. Most notably, not eating to be skinny and thus to climb better.

Eating and being skinny is a touchy topic amongst cyclists. Power to weight ratio is a big deal when it comes to the outcome of a race. Everyone wants to maximize their own power to weight ratio in order to ride faster and more efficiently. But when does this power to weight ratio obsession become too much? When do you know if you have taken it "over the edge" and started to do damage not only to your cycling career but also to your own body? OR how do you know when it's time to drop a few pounds to really maximize your own training and racing?

The simple answer, know what your personal cycling goals are. If they are to be a pure climber who can do nothing else but ride uphill fast, then get as lean as possible. If your goal is to be a good time trialist, then you need power on flats to rolling hills and you may need to be a bit bigger than a climber. If you are a sprinter, you need fuel to fire up your fast twitch muscles.

Remember, life is more important than cycling. Cycling is supposed to create a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle. It's not supposed to damage one.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who is nowhere near the caliber cyclist as the folks you work with and someone who is nowhere near as skinny as even the most hefty pro cyclist, I appreciate your healthy approach to this topic. I started at 299.4 and am using cycling as part of a total approach to getting healthy. So far I've lost about 60 lbs, but I need to lose more. I hope I can be this sane and healthy with food when I get close to my goal. This is not about being skinny, this is about being healthy. Thanks for remembering that and advocating a healthy lifestyle.