Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Nutrition on the Tour de France

Just wanted to say Hi!
It's been a while! I recently moved and started a new internship and am having trouble finding some free time!
I miss reading your blogs, and miss blogging... but I hope to find some balance soon!
Hope you're enjoying your summers!!

It lasts three weeks, covers over 3500km, and is arguably the world's most physiologically demanding sporting event....

The 172 cyclists (including one Canadian!) that participated in the 97th Tour de France this year traveled through 3 countries, rode an average of 182km (114 miles) a day over the 20 'stages' at an average of 40km (25 miles) an hour,while climbing 10 mountains or racing against the clock in individual time trials.

This effort has been described as roughly the equivalent of running a marathon almost every day for 3 weeks. In the mountains, they climb a vertical distance equal to three Mount Everests!

Below, Robbie Ventura, a professional US cyclists, describes nutrition during the 7 hour, 140mile Stage 6 of the Tour:

Cyclists will burn over 5000 calories.
Each hour, they'll aim to eat about 400 calories and drink 3 water bottles!

A 1988 study found that cyclists met half their caloric needs for the day while on the bike... Pretty impressive!
A good chunk of their calorie and carbohydrate intake came from liquids.

Cyclists are given feed bags at the start and middle of each stage. These bags contain easy-to-eat foods- sports bars and gels, fruit, small sandwiches, Coke cans.

Here's sport physiologist (currently with team RadioShack) Dr. Allen Lam with his recipe for a 'real-food' addition to the riders' feedbags: Rice Cakes?!

The cyclists in the study mentioned above were also pretty good and meeting their total daily caloric needs- while they spent about 6100 calories a day, they were able to eat about 6000 a day- not a small feat given that they're on they bikes 7-8 hours a day, and then have to deal with a lack of hunger that results from strenuous activity. The average Tour rider loses about 10lbs from an already small frame.

One easier way to take in those calories after a day on the bike is to drink them. Dr. Allen Lim explains the cyclists' recovery routine, which includes drinking 700-800 calories!

A post-race meal for Lance Armstrong:

Lance Armstrong's Post Race Meal in the Car -- powered by