You’ve trained hard, your legs are feeling fresh and you’ve got your ride-day game plan sorted, but neglect your nutrition and your Women’s 100 could easily be cut short. We asked professional riders, chefs and nutritionists what to eat before, during and after a 100km ride.
The meal you eat the night before the Women’s 100 is a vital ingredient that will help ensure you perform at your best. Contrary to what we used to believe, the evening before a long ride you don’t need to ‘carb load’ and stuff yourself full of pasta or rice. You should eat a balanced meal, not too late, that contains all the food groups - protein, carbohydrate and fat - alongside vegetables, or salad. Hydration is also hugely important in the 24 hours before a big ride, and “to ensure your liver is in top form, avoid alcohol and overly fatty foods”, suggests ex-professional rider Julie Krasniak.
Sweet potato with quinoa blend and dal
This flavour sensation, devised by CANYON//SRAM’s Tiffany Cromwell, will prepare you for the day ahead, and is even better shared with friends.
- 3 tbsp. coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp. organic turmeric (use fresh turmeric, grated if possible)
- 2 tsp organic cardamom
- 1/2 tsp organic chilli flakes
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 2/3 cups red lentils
- 4 cups (900 ml) water
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 2 fresh tomatoes, cut in boats
- 70g spinach or baby spinach
- 1 cup quinoa (cooked as per packet instructions)
- seeds of 1 pomegranate
- ½ cup dates, deseeded and chopped into small pieces
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- ½ cup fresh coriander leaves
- ½ cup fresh mint, shredded
- zest of 1 lemon
- handful of sunflower seeds
- handful of pumpkin seed
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml Greek yoghurt or crumbled Feta cheese.
- fresh coriander
- Preheat the oven to 200C/ 390F/ gas mark 6
- Give each sweet potato a small slit at the top and place them on a baking pan. Bake for about 45-60 minutes or until the skin is crisp and the flesh is soft. (Prepare the dal and quinoa while the potatoes are in the oven.)
- Place a large pot on a medium heat. Add the coconut oil, onion, garlic, apricots, ginger, turmeric, cardamom and chilli flakes. Sauté for a few minutes, until the onion is soft and the kitchen has a lovely scent from all the spices. You can add a splash of water if the onions start to burn.
- Add carrots and lentils and let cook for two more minutes, then add water and salt and give it a good stir. Decrease the heat when it starts to boil, put the lid on and let simmer for 15-25 minutes (depending on the lentils). Stir occasionally to make sure the lentils aren’t getting burnt. Add more water if needed.
- Remove from the heat when the lentils almost have dissolved, add tomatoes and spinach. Taste and add more salt or spices if needed.
- Cook quinoa as per instructions on the packet. Once cooked, remove from heat and add the pomegranate seeds, dates, zucchini, coriander, mint, lemon zest, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and mix well.
- Place each sweet potato on a plate. Make a cut at the top and take out some of the flesh whilst fluffing the remainder with a fork to give space for the fillings. Add a spoonful or two of the quinoa mix and the lentil stew into the potato (it doesn’t matter if it overflows out of the sweet potato and onto the plate.)
- Top with natural Greek yoghurt, or crumbled Feta cheese and some fresh coriander leaves and ground black pepper.
Eating on the bike, or during your ride, is essential for any cyclist attempting a long-distance event. “The food in your jersey pockets should be a small, delicious reward for the work you’re doing on the bike,” says chef, cyclist and Rapha Ambassador Lentine Alexis.
But not only should your jersey pocket-size snacks taste good, they need to contain the right balance of nutrients. Your glycogen stores need to be replenished early on in a ride and pros do this by eating small and frequent amounts of carbohydrates. Half an hour into a ride might seem very early to be consuming your first calories, but you’re not eating for now, you’re eating to feel fresh in 40 kilometres time. Over the course of 100km, a good rule of thumb is to eat every 30 minutes.
Spiced apple and date bars
Lentine’s tasty and nutritious snacks will keep your legs spinning.
- 1 cup (210g) Medjool dates, pitted and sliced in half
- Half cup (77g) dried apples
- Quarter cup (30g) dried currants
- Half cup (70g) walnuts and pecans
- 3 tbsp. (42g) organic maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. (14g) finely ground flax seed
- 1 or 2 tsp. spices (Any combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and Chinese 5-spice or pumpkin pie spice)
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
- Toss the pecans and walnuts in 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup and add a pinch of the spices. Spread over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes until the nuts are just toasted. Remove from oven, turn off heat, and set aside.
- Next, line an 8×8″ pan with parchment or wax paper. Dust with ground flax seed, then set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the dates, currants, apples, toasted nuts, maple syrup and a few dashes (about ½ tsp) of the spices. Pulse just until the mixture is chunky. Taste the mixture at this point – add spice to taste.
- Once you approve of the amount of spice, remove ½ of the mixture and reserve (this chunky portion will add texture to your bars!) Pulse the remaining mixture until it comes together and is smooth. A few remaining chunks are ok.
- Return the reserved chunky portion to the food processor, remove the blade and – with a plastic spatula or your hands – mix the chunky portion into the smooth paste.
- With the plastic spatula, scrape the mixture out onto the flax-sprinkled pan. Press the mixture out in the pan until it’s the same thickness all over, about half an inch. You won’t fill the entire surface of the pan – what is important is that it’s this shape that you’ll soon need to cut and wrap. I like to make my bars thick, so they’re easier to slice.
- Sprinkle the remaining ground flax seed over the bars. Then, cover the shaped bars with plastic wrap and allow to chill for three hours or overnight until firm. Remove from refrigerator, slice into bars or squares and wrap with parchment paper. You can store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Keep the bars in the refrigerator if you prefer a firmer texture, or store at room temperature if you want a softer bite.