Question: I recently upgraded racing categories, and now my races start in the afternoon. I know I should eat my last meal 3 hours beforehand, but what should I do for the other hours in the morning? How about a short morning ride to loosen up before warming up for the race in the afternoon? — Chris S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Congratulations on your upgrade!
I used to hate afternoon races because I was nervous all morning. And getting nervous means that you feel compelled to either eat or go for an unnecessary “warm up” ride. Eating too much isn’t good for obvious reasons, and that extra ride usually just wastes energy. Only if you keep it very slow and easy will it relax you without tiring you.
Assuming a race starts at 3 p.m., the best strategy is to eat a normal breakfast at about 7 or 7:30, then a pre-race meal at noon. The noon meal should be about 500-700 easily digested calories that come primarily from carbohydrate with a little protein and fat.
A good choice is cereal, skim milk, a banana and a bagel with cream cheese. Other riders like a PB&J sandwich with skim milk and a cookie.