Ultra-endurance ...how to fuel and cool on a very long ride

Hope Across Australia riders and planned route at their charity auction night

Ultra-endurance events are a growing area of interest for many athletes from all walks of life. From iron man triathlons to adventure races, ocean swims and charity rides, runs and walks. The Eat Smart team have been involved in assisting a number of these individuals and groups to ensure they survive their chosen event - and maximise their performance. Over the next few months this includes a Hope Across Australia Charity ride, Oxfam walk, English Channel swim and various ironman events.

Each type of event presents its own nutrition challenges with regards to amounts of food and fluids required, types, flavours, tolerance, availability and level of support, as well as the environmental factors often beyond our control.

The 6 week Hope Across Australia ride, which starts in June and is expected to take around 6 weeks, required some detailed planning such as amounts of carbohydrate, fluids and electrolytes per hour, nutritious meal ideas to refuel and repair at the start and end of the day, as well as at planned lunch stops, plus practical considerations such as ease of preparation for the support team and avoiding boredom and 'flavour fatigue'. An example of their food choices may include high energy porridge, smoothies, fruit cake, bars, trail mix, protein and electrolyte drinks, gels, peanut butter rolls, savoury rice and egg 'cakes', potatoes with parmesan, noodle soups and hearty beef slow cook meals. You can help the riders out and follow their progress via their website.

Swimming the English channel presents other issues such as feeding while treading water, nausea, as well as dealing with the cold. Important items for this event include not only sports drinks and gels but warm milk drinks, plus ginger cordial to help the nausea.

Whatever your chosen sporting event, the Eat Smart Nutrition team can help minimise the pain and maximise the gain!

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