by Lars Hundley
We’ve heard it from Coach John Hughes many times that regular foods from the convenience store like Peppermint Patty and Fig Newtons have more carbs than energy bars and gels, and often taste better.
A scientific study in the Journal of Applied Physiology shows that regular potatoes are also just as effective as energy gels when it comes to cycling performance.
The study compared the results of 12 cyclists who used either a potato purée, a commercial energy gel, or water only during a two hour cycling challenge, followed by a time trial. Both the potato puree and the carbohydrate gel allowed cyclists to complete the time trial faster, compared to drinking water only, with almost identical results between the potatoes and the gels.
“In conclusion, potato and gel ingestion equally sustained blood glucose concentrations and TT performance. Our results support the effective use of potatoes to support race performance for trained cyclists.”
I first learned about carrying boiled, skinned and salted new potatoes on rides at a Carmichael Training Systems cycling camp back in 2012. One of the coaches recommended it as a savory food to carry with you that works very well.
Triathlete.com has this recipe and instructions for carrying them, by Dr. Allen Lim. Give it a try on your next long ride!