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Articles > Pre Competition Meal

The pre event meal, which for most of us will be in the early hours of the morning should be a high CHO meal with small to moderate amounts of protein.

The pre event meal, which for most of us will be in the early hours of the morning should be a high CHO meal with small to moderate amounts of protein. Some examples may include: cereal with low fat milk, fruit and yoghurt, toast, pancakes, baked beans on toast etc. It is also important to drink fluids before an event so including juice, low-fat milk smoothies etc are also a good idea. Liquid meal supplements such as sustagen may be useful for those who cannot tolerate solid foods before a race or that early in the morning. It is best to have this pre-event meal 2-3 hours before the start, which for most of use will be EARLY!! On your way to the event continue sipping either dilute juice, water or a sports drink (but don't drink too much that you will be busting for the toilet... best to experiment with this).

During an event lasting >90mins it is recommended to consume 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour of riding. Any more than 60g and there is a chance it will not be absorbed causing abdominal discomfort. Some examples of 60g of CHO include 60g lollies, 3 medium bananas (yes they are a good option), Jam sandwich (thick bread and thick jam), 1 1/2 powerbars, 2 small boxes of sultanas etc, fruit cake etc. Sports drink can also be included here with ~ 1L of gatorade/powerade giving ~60g CHO. Fluid intake should also be monitored... If temperatures are as hot as last year, which it looks like they may be... you will need to consume anywhere from 600ml-1L fluid per hour (water or sports drink). So when planning your food & fluid intake you may want to get half your carbs from food and the other half from a sports drink.

An example of what i will be having the morning of the race will be 3 weetbix with 1cup skim milk and yoghurt with a sustagen (60g powder & 1/2 cups skim milk) = ~540 calories, 110g CHO, 30g protein & 400ml fluid. I am ~61kg so for those who are bigger you would aim to be eating eating a bit more. From home to the start of the race i will aim to consume ~600ml of dilute juice (half juice half water. Concentrated juice is very high in CHO and gets emptied from the stomach slowly - sports drinks have ~ half as much CHO per 100ml than juice)

During the ride (say 3 hours) I would aim to drink 500ml sports drink per hour and 500ml water (if temps are hot): this would give me ~ 30g CHO... for the other 30g i would have a piece of fruit cake (provided at stops) OR 1-2 bananas, 1 low fat muesli bar etc. After the ride you wants to eat something as soon as possible (during the first 30min after exercise the muscles are able to take up CHO and protein very easily, which allows for quick replenishment of your stores and aids in muscle repair). For a post-ride snack we now want to look at including some protein as well. So aim for 1gCHO/kg body weight. So for myself this would be ~60gCHO. At the end of the TDU ride they usually provide rolls with meat and cheese, fruit and drinks, which is perfectly adequate for protein and CHO replenishment. And again keep drinking to prevent dehydration.

Food choices whilst riding should be high in CHO and relatively low in fat. Foods that are high in fat get emptied from the stomach slowly, which delays the time the sugars get to our working muscles

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For further details contact:

Ms Olivia Pilla
Accredited Practicing Dietitian
BNutrDiet & BHlthSc.