What Food for Endurance Cycling

Professional cyclists follow a specific program in nutrition. A match lasts soon between 4.5 and 6.5 hours, and then the riders consume large amounts of calories and lose liters of fluid. Therefore, they need lots of food and drink and also wary of what they get in and when. This is especially true for big tours like the Tour and with warm weather, when the reserves are most commonly treated. There are even more measures are needed to prevent diseases, dehydration or the dreaded hitting the wall. Fortunately, there are now a lot of knowledge on sports nutrition for endurance athletes. Article arrangement

  • The history of diet during cycling competitions
  • calorie consumption
  • Food for cyclists
  • Energy-dense foods
  • hungry Beat
  • Drink for cyclists
  • Supply
  • Suitable for all cyclists

The history of diet during cycling competitions

The first generation of cyclists in the 19th century participated in the long road race has not had to deal with the issue. Every half hour break rider and what part in a local bar or restaurant. Given the relatively uncomfortable occupation that cycling was at the time, such interruptions were also other causes inevitable. All the great champions will battle for victory has undoubtedly hurried lunch. The habit of giving riders the price of food and beverages by food parcels and water bottles so they do not need to go off the road, turned out later.

Peculiar solutions
During the first decades of the Tour de France, where the steps were on average about 360 km long and the bikes were much heavier and slower than now, hit the wall was already a notorious phenomenon. It was not surprising because they had little knowledge of nutrition, so most drivers tried to avoid the problem in a peculiar way. They jostle for the start of a race full of eggs, chops, bananas and other foods of the strong type. It was then so heavy on the stomach as a rider at the start of the race came just ahead.

Although the supply of water during the match, they had outstanding views. The driver swore namely alcohol beverages on the go, thanks to the stimulating effect of it would go out. As some riders drank during the race Paris-Bordeaux is a full bottle of brandy and two glasses of white wine, port and champagne. Fortunately reason riders at that time no more than about 40 events per year, so that liver damage was limited.

The brothers Pelissier
In the years after World War II showed the famous racing brothers Henri and Charles Pelissier that there were better ways. They ate in the morning much easier, which is why at the start of the race from its top-heavy rivals and eat later, when they were already far ahead, gradually on their food bags. They won there many a match.
Also in the field of drinking water Pélissiers made a breakthrough discovery. Cycling without alcohol was significantly better than with. Do not feel happy every driver himself, but they really wanted to win one by one were to follow the example of the brothers.

Subsequently developed cyclist menu to what it is today and also developed a whole system of food distribution during the Games as “provisioning” is called and where necessary rules attached.

Calorie consumption

In the large, three weeks rounds like the Tour, the Giro and the Vuelta riders eat the most. When fewer days taking a course, the less must be consumed relatively, because the more resources the driver. In a large round, but do riders need about 7,000 calories per day. In comparison, men spend on average 2500-3000 calories per day.

Food for cyclists

The menu for a driver’s carefully composed. Among the main groups of nutrients needed following quantities:

  • 70% carbohydrates, mostly from potatoes, rice, pasta, cereals, wholemeal bread, fruit and vegetables
  • 15% of the protein, particularly from eggs, chicken, fish, some kind of red meat and yogurt.
  • 15% fat, mainly from butter, cheese and some oils, such as olive oil

A driver starts a week before the game with extra food. This is called the “stack” calories. Thereby already gradually built up reserves. During the competition will be eaten four times of the day:
riders starting a race with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, to be eaten before two to three hours. There is a heavy physical exertion most ideal. There is plenty of time to digest the food without being hungry again soon.
Breakfast with a plate full of pasta, which is more common in elite athletes, is notorious in this regard. See it get away in the morning. Fortunately for many riders is the pasta breakfast is not more widespread. More and more teams now only fixed sandwiches.
During the ride
during the trip, riders can get food at different times.

  • When the so-called “provisione objects” can be whole food pouches, called Musette, adopt soigneurs’s own team. This includes energy-dense foods, usually high-calorie fruit and especially for athletes who made the bars and gels.
  • From the squad car can eat most of the course will be provided.

It is important that riders keep eating slowly. Who eat too much in too short a period of time may also have problems. In endurance sports, is, in general, an intake of 30-60 are recommended carbohydrate per hour. This reduces fatigue and improves endurance.
Immediately after the ride
Shortly after the ride, riders get a musette with food to refuel properly. It is of great importance that this time food and drink are not beaten. How good a rider eat well during the race, he or she gets rammed with large deficits over the line.
Finally there in the evening, usually quite late supper. Which contains about the same amount of carbohydrates as breakfast.

Energy-dense foods

To consume as many calories as you allow the sport, there are special gels and bars for athletes. For cyclists, this is what they usually eat during the game, although in particular sometimes take anything during the first hours of the race. Most riders can actually best without going 40 km per hour cycle.
Energy Gels
riders are often fondly called gelletjes “Actually still exist not so long, but they soon became very popular. It is gelatinous stuff that is made up of simple sugars and a certain type of carbohydrate called matodextrine. Sometimes the gel also contains sodium, potassium, or caffeine, although the latter is not recommended for professionals. too much caffeine count as doping. in order to get the required amount of carbohydrates is one to two gels required per hour. Around each bag really need 200ml of water to drink, because energy gels do not provide extra moisture.
the advantage of the gel is that you do not have to chew on, but you get the content that swallows. therefore, they are particularly suitable for during a match.
energy Bars
these have been around longer and was originally eaten during matches. the bars are made from cereals, resembling some snacks. because you still need to chew to eat them, but recommended after games or during practice, because it can just break. The advantage of the bar is that you can more easily preserve a piece if you can not really him. Although most drivers frankly quite manage to keep a half-gel.
As with tennis players and other endurance athletes is also very popular with cyclists bananas .It is because bananas in particular is a lot of carbohydrates, about 3 to 4 times more than in other fruits and he is also soft to eat.

hungry Beat

A major problem where riders can run up against if they do not get enough food inside is called “hitting the wall”. It is a dreaded disease in the peloton, not least because almost all drivers will have to agree. And this, of course, just at a time when he can use the worst.
Beat Hunger is short, a sudden lack of glycogen, which is basically a result of a lack of carbohydrates. The body must change from the burning of fat in the combustion of proteins and therefore can only reach 50% of the maximum performance. The energy flows into the driver away like water from a bathtub.
Beat hunger usually occurs as a rider, for whatever reason, have eaten too little. Sometimes extreme conditions also pointed to his guilt. The reserves will be so low that the driver needed carbs just do not get eaten at. Still, hits the wall in the future are less frequent. Energy bars and gels are better composition, so that they can supplement the necessary nutrients easier than before. However, it will never completely disappear.

Drink for cyclists

Drivers need during a game also keep the moisture in your body well hydrated. During a match they sweat liters of fluid. which of course must be completed in order to prevent dehydration. There are large amounts of liquid required. Water makes that the main part of it.
However, drinking more water is not simply because not every stomach such an amount of moisture in such a short period Treaty. In principle, it is possible that no talented cyclists pro riders may be because their stomachs can not handle.
In addition, drivers should be wary of a serious condition called “hyponatremia” threats, also known as “water intoxication.” This could happen if someone drinks too much water. The ratio of liquid and so-called electrolyte levels in the body will then be so unbalanced electrolytes becomes seriously contaminated. An athlete can go into a coma and even death.
To maximize water to have on hand, there are two water bottles on the road bike. What should last about an hour. In hot weather can last up to three bottles per hour. Which amounts to six to seven liters of water per day of competition.
Sports Drink
To keep all body functions well maintained, riders must also maintain adequate sodium, potassium and calcium. By meeting many perspiration moisture such minerals, except they also quickly lose whatever dehydration can lead to. Therefore, the drivers do not hit it with only water to drink. They also need special isotonic sports drinks. These include minerals and sugar, but also ensure faster absorption of water in the blood. Sweating then runs better and with less loss of minerals. The sugars give some extra carbohydrates.
It is an open secret that cyclists also drink Coke because sugar is nicer than healthy way to get carbohydrates.Therefore, cola usually saved for after the game.


Traditionally happened deliveries over the course of two ways: in the feeding zone and from the team car. providing food and drink does not work the same way.
Yet, offering food
when provisione of musette distributed by soigneurs in a team. They stand on the specially designated zones, where the riders considered the musette to take all cyclists. The bags are either supplied by the sponsors of the competition and must be formally approved by the competition organizers. A team can not just stop all the musette. Therefore, your riders sometimes little things from musette see immediate discharge. There are things they do not need.
From the team cars also handed over food, but less. A team car is the food might not deliver on time to all riders, so it should not rely too much on. Yellow jersey Chris Froome came in 2013 at the Alpe d’Huez Tour without getting food because his team car had been unlucky. The most spectacular hits the wall in recent years was the result.
Yet, offering bottles
In recent years, however, restrict health care providers less and less to feed zones and go at several places along the route, above all, to indicate bottles. The advantage of this is that employees in the peloton to leave less often down to fetch water bottles for all of his teammates.
Stewards provide increasingly using special bottles, neutral engines. Buffalo looks like a water carrier thus becomes obsolete.
Held riders can often easily be provided from the police car. This often proves a good time anyway just to keep the team car or bottle and let themselves go forward. It is forbidden to do it for longer than 10 seconds.
When the mountain stages this system can run well into the soup. During the climb, two servants, cars and motorbikes often do not come to the riders. And therefore there is further soigneurs on the mountain, usually with a cooler full of bottles.
In hot weather, it is often not enough, because many drivers than happy to throw water over himself over to cooling. That’s why you do them during tough climbs bottles sees the adoption of the spectators, but most will only use it to spray wet. Too needy riders must under extreme conditions too quiet or a bottle a competitive team.
Conditions supply
for the total supply, both through contributions to the group of cars includes a variety of rules. This is both to prevent drivers out there get competitive advantage to ensure no mess is left behind when the peloton arrived. Riders can throw bottles only when the audience is on the roads. They usually pick up the bottle and take it as a souvenir to take home.
During the first 50 and the last 20 kilometers of the race or stage, it is forbidden to take longer to eat and drink out of the police car. It depends on not disturbing others during these stages with the car from another team. It is said that during these periods “the buffet is closed.
Apart from the official rules, it is an unwritten law in the peloton not demarreren in the feed zone. The one who is still in his head picks will be very bad for a long time with the others.

Suitable for all cyclists

All in all cycling clearly come a long way when it comes to nutrition, since the days of the chops washed down with as much alcohol as possible. At the same time, it is not only professionals who work with the calories accumulate and sophisticated diets. Additionally prefer amateurs and even active touring cyclists not hit the wall.