Diet your way to victory
The professional cyclists who will race in Saturday’s national championships think about food a lot. It’s their job.
“Some people ride your bike to eat. Other people eat to ride your bike,” said Rodney Simpson, a cycling coach.
Simpson is also the coordinator of the Fitness Center at High Point Regional, a nonprofit that integrates fitness with health.
To be ready to race, he said, professionals have to watch what they eat all year.
“A cyclist who races for a career, that person at this time of year should be at racing weight,” he said.
In Saturday’s high-speed criteriums, he said, a cyclist could burn as many as 1,000 calories in an hour. A body can best manage such rigorous exercise with the right foods, which are different for each cyclist.
“You get into a pattern where you know your system and your body has adjusted to it well,” he said.
Simpson said they’ll typically eat fewer fats and more complex carbohydrates, like those found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, in order to maximize the amount of energy their bodies can produce.
During the race, you may see the professionals ripping small packets of a gooey gel from their jackets. These have about 100 calories and a little bit of sugar to give that extra boost, Simpson said.
Simpson plans to race in the 3-4 grade Masters early in the afternoon. Cyclists are ranked on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the professionals. Simpson is a three, so he’s also considering the 1-3 grade race.
In that race, he’d be riding alongside professionals, some of whom have competed in big-time races like the Tour de France.
Simpson said that pre-race dietary needs depend on how often you race and what kinds of races you do. This doesn’t mean, however, that non-professionals shouldn’t prepare their bodies.
“Our needs are different,” he said, “but we’re working just as hard to get everything we can out of our performance.”
New racers who don’t know their needs should eat light foods that their bodies can easily adjust to before a race, said Simpson.
Simpson said non-professionals don’t need any of the gooey gel to power through the race, just plenty of water.
And don’t feel too guilty about digging in to pizza or steak after the race, Simpson said.
“It depends on what you’ve got the next day,” he said, “but sometimes you just need a break, mentally and physically.”
Planning to ride?
Whether you’re registering for the Masters Races or United Way’s charity ride, treat your body right. Take a leaf from Simpson’s book by eating light foods leading up the race. Here’s how he’ll prepare for his 1:15 p.m. race:
Breakfast: Eat plenty of light foods.
• Egg whites, poached
• Greek yogurt with fruit
• Flax seeds and rolled oats with cinnamon and walnuts
• Strong cup of coffee
Midmorning snack: Monitor your sugars.
• Apple or yogurt
Lunch: Stick with small and healthy.
• Sliced deli turkey sandwich with summer tomatoes
Between races: Keep up your energy.
• Cliff bar
The High Point Cycling Classic fun starts today. Here's a schedule of events.
• Vintage bike gathering at High Point Plaza Hotel, 3-5 p.m.
• Free movie, “Breaking Away” at High Point Theater, 7:30 p.m.
• Art/Bike Exhibit at Theater Art Galleries, 7-9 p.m.
• Vintage bike show in High Point Plaza Hotel Ballroom, 3-8 p.m.
• Contemporary hand-built bike exhibit at Showplace Atrium, 3-8 p.m.
• “The Bicycle: Art Meets Form” at High Point Theatre, 1-5 p.m.
• Art/Bike exhibit at Theater Art Galleries, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
• Free movie, “American Flyer” at High Point Theater, 7:30 p.m.
• Mipso Trio Band performance at Mendenhall Transportation Terminal, 6:30-11 p.m.
• RideUnited 2013 Charity Bike Ride on the course downtown, 8-11 a.m.
• Free children’s movie, “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” at High Point Theater, 9 a.m.
• Kids bike races with the pros on the course downtown, 11:30 a.m.-Noon
• Kid Zone children’s activities downtown, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
• “The Bicycle: Art Meets Form” at High Point Theater, 1-5 p.m.
• Art/Bike exhibit at Theater Art Gallery, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
• National Masters Races downtown, 12:30-4:30 p.m.
• USAC Women’s Professional Criterium National Championships - 4:50 p.m.
• USAC Men’s Professional Criterium National Championships - 6:40 p.m.
• Sol Fusion performance at Mendenhall Transportation Terminal, 8:30-11 p.m.
• Bike swap meet at Showplace parking lot, 8 a.m.-Noon
• Vintage bike show, award-winning bikes, at High Point Plaza Hotel, 8 a.m.-Noon
• Contemporary hand-built bike exhibit at Showplace Atrium, 8 a.m.-Noon
• Art/Bike exhibit at Theater Art Gallery, 8 a.m.-Noon
For more information, check the website http://hpcyclingclassic.com/