Don't Sacrifice Flavor1 of 5
I start to think about fuel three months before my endurance ride of choice, the Pan-Mass Challenge, a 192-mile, 6,000-person bike-a-thon across Massachusetts that has raised $455 million for cancer research. When it comes to fuel, flavor isn't something worth compromising. A cyclist should drink lots of water and eat delicious, natural foods, focusing on whole grains, legumes, greens and fish. Be sure to include great flavor-packed condiments, like nut-rich pesto, romesco sauces, garlic yogurt, preserved lemons, olives and lots of herbs.
Fuel Smart and to Scale2 of 5
The day before the PMC, I drink an energy drink and round out my dinner with a celebratory beer and a yummy dessert. A good night's sleep and staying away from red wine is key for a great first day. While you might not be particularly hungry at 5 a.m. before the event, you should still eat a savory breakfast sandwich. These two meals are all about fuel, but they shouldn't be huge—it's better to eat lots of small meals than a few large ones that slow you down.
Keep It Consistent3 of 5
During training rides and the PMC itself, I consume the equivalent of an energy bar and a bottle of water or an energy drink every hour. It's important that mid-ride food tastes good and isn't processed. You can munch on PB&Js, energy shots and bars the volunteers offer because they're quick, but you might consider supplementing these with cheese and salami sandwiches, ginger and soy-seasoned spring rolls and breakfast rice cakes with eggs and bacon. I do indulge in one fluffernutter sandwich (marshmallow fluff and peanut butter) and a popsicle every year, too.
End Your Feat with Food4 of 5
I love chocolate milk with a banana or an ice cream cone immediately after a training ride; it's the perfect ending and provides carbohydrates and protein, all while making me feel like a kid, which is what cycling is all about. It's important, too, to follow your treat with a more substantial healthy meal within an hour or so.
After 192 miles in two days, I usually splurge with an all-American burger, fries and a beer.