Coach Kristi’s Corner – April 27, 2018

Coach Kristi’s Corner – April 27, 2018

Coach Kristi Berg has been racing bicycles in various disciplines since 1994. Read about Coach Kristi Berg here.

Eating to race your best

With the League season is in full swing have you thought about what to eat in order to feel your best on the bike? Now is a great time to revisit race day nutrition. 

Start your day right

Let’s start with pre-race nutrition. It is so important on race day to kick off your morning with a nutrient-packed breakfast. Try to eat shortly after you wake up, and pack your meal with carbohydrates to stoke your energy for the day. Good ideas for breakfast are oatmeal with raisins, bagels, pancakes or waffles, or yogurt with granola. It’s important to eat foods that settle well with your stomach; foods you are used to eating. Make sure to also drink a big glass of water or sports drink to start the day off hydrated well.

Within 2-3 hours of your race start time, eat your last pre-race meal. If your race is early, breakfast may be your only meal before your race, and that’s okay, but you need to eat at least 2-3 hours before your race to allow time for proper digestion before you push your body to race effort. Same goes for hydration–make sure that you are consuming 8-12 oz of fluid each hour before your race start.

Right before you line up

About 15 minutes before your race start, you should get in one last bite of carbohydrates (simple sugars) like a gel, blocks, etc. This will top off your energy tank.

During the race

During the race, you probably won’t be able to eat and drink very much, because of the terrain and the hard race effort. But getting in hydration and carbohydrates is ideal to keep your energy up.

For a race that’s one hour or shorter, you only need to focus on hydration. Carry a bottle with water or a sports drink (this can be helpful to get in carbohydrates if you can’t eat), and try to drink as much of the bottle as you can within your race.
For races that are longer than one hour, you’ll need to consume carbohydrates within the first hour and again in the second hour. You can do this by drinking a sports drink with carbs, or by eating things like energy chews or energy bars. Ideally try to consume a couple hundred calories per hour of race time.
By getting your nutrition dialed in you will be able to keep your energy levels up during your whole race.

Fueling your recovery

As soon as your race ends, the 30-minute clock starts for getting some more simple sugars into your body. If you can do this within 30 minutes, it helps speed up your muscle recovery. After that, you can start to take in more complex carbohydrates like bread, grains, fats and proteins. Recovery drinks are great post-race because they are formulated with the right amounts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins that your body needs to recover after exercise.

Remember to keep drinking fluids all day. If you focus on your race day nutrition you will recover faster and be ready for another day of racing or training.



Coach Kristi Berg has been racing bicycles in various disciplines since 1994: Road (Cat 2), Cyclocross (Elite), BMX (expert in 20″) and MTB (professional downhill, crosscountry, and dual slalom). She enjoys coaching and sharing all she has learned through riding and racing, and is committed to giving back to her cycling community. Kristi is a Level 2 USAC Cycling Coach and owner of Berg’s Coaching Services. Get in touch at