Race day nutrition strategies for the Cape Town Cycle Tour - Cape Town Cycle Tour

Race day nutrition strategies for the Cape Town Cycle Tour

19 Feb 2019 - Press Release

Making the right nutrition choices on race day will help ensure you have enough energy to complete your ride, and help you recover effectively once you are finished.

Before the ride

“The fuel source for exercising muscles is provided by your body’s carbohydrate stores, known as glycogen, and fat stores,” says Pick n Pay’s registered dietitian, Leanne Kiezer. “Glycogen is the fuel used during higher intensity cycling while fat is used for lower intensity cycling.”

According to Keizer your muscles will use both during a ride. “After a night’s sleep, your glycogen stores may be low or depleted, so it’s important to ensure the stores are replenished before you begin your race.”

To do this, Keizer recommends a pre-ride meal or snack that is low in fat and fibre but rich in carbohydrates as carbs are most easily digested and less likely to cause stomach problems. Some ideas include:

  • Plain breakfast cereal, porridge or oats with low fat milk and fruit
  • Toast with peanut butter and a banana
  • Sandwich with skinless chicken or turkey
  • Homemade smoothie made from low fat milk, low fat yoghurt and fruit
  • Breakfast or cereal bar with fruit
  • Baked potato with cottage cheese and creamed corn

“Also remember to have plenty of fluids so that you start the race hydrated – have 300 to 600ml of water with your pre-ride meal,” says Keizer.

During the ride

Your glycogen stores are limited and can be depleted after 60 to 90 minutes of cycling, which means you’ll need to refuel with carbohydrates during the race. Keizer recommends 30 to 60g of low-fibre, easily digested carbohydrate per hour, starting early in the ride. Here are some examples:


Food Serving size Carbohydrate content (g)
Banana 136 g (1 large) 31
Potato 167 g (1 medium) 33
Cream crackers 64 g (8 crackers) 44
Pretzels 40 g (1 small packet) 32
Bread roll 65 g (1 roll) 32
Banana bread 60 g (1 slice) 33
Jelly sweets 30 g (6 jelly babies) 33
Honey / jam sandwich 2 slices, 1 tsp jam 35
Powerade 500 ml (2 cups) 38
Sports gel 1 sachet 21 – 25

Again, it is crucial to stay hydrated during the race. “Individual fluid requirements during exercise vary but, in general, cyclists should drink to thirst, with small consistent sips; avoid gulping or drinking too quickly. It’s a good idea to practice your fluid strategy during training – aim to limit weight loss from sweating during a training ride to less than 2% of body weight,” Keizer advises.

After the ride

Eating after an intense endurance effort like the Cape Town Cycle Tour is important as it helps boost depleted energy, fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrate stores. “Have carbohydrate-rich snack within 30 minutes of finishing to replace glycogen stores, and drink according to your thirst to rehydrate your body,” says Keizer, adding that you should back this up by consuming a mix of carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes and fluid within two hours of finishing. Here are some examples:

  • Flavoured milk and a banana
  • Eggs on toast with fruit juice or cappuccino
  • Oats or cereal and fruit with low fat milk or yoghurt
  • Balanced meal of chicken, sweet potato and vegetables, with water
  • Whole-wheat pita filled with tuna mayo and salad, with water
  • Spaghetti bolognaise with a side salad, and water

Things to remember:

  • The food you have eaten is only available as fuel to your muscles once it has been digested. As a general guide, allow about three to four hours for a big meal and one to two hours for a small meal or snack.
  • Every athlete has different needs and it’s a good idea to get personalised advice from a dietitian. Leave yourself enough time to test the different nutrition strategies, meals and snacks during training and see which works best for you. To find a dietitian in your area, contact the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) at adsa.org.za.
  • Pick n Pay employs the services of a registered dietitian who provides free nutrition advice to the public. Make contact with Leanne Kiezer via the Pick n Pay Health Hotline on 0800 11 22 88 or healthhotline@pnp.co.za.

For more updates and information, please like the Cape Town Cycle Tour Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/cycletour or by following us on Twitter at @CTCycleTour or on Instagram @ctcycletour or visit www.capetowncycletour.com.



ISSUED BY:                  The Cycle Tour Media Office

ON BEHALF OF:          Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust

DATE ISSUED:             January 2019

FOR FURTHER RACE  Cycle Tour Events Office

RELATED INFO:           Tel: 087 820 7223

FOR MEDIA INFO       Nicole Felix

OR VISUALS:               Tel: 021 686 0222

Email: media@cycletour.co.za


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