I have spent the last 8 years refining my nutrition for 24 hour and longer races. I owe a big thanks to Dr. Bill, who is now retired from Hammer Nutrition. After having serious stomach problems in my first couple 24 hour mountain bike races, Dr. Bill tried convincing me that I didn’t need solid food in a race that short. It took him a while but I finally decided to try it my 2nd time solo at the 24 Hours of Moab.
It worked so well I’ve stuck with all liquid fueling since then for 24 hour and shorter events. In the Race Across America qualifiers, I’ve eaten only a small amount of saltines, fruits and nuts. The exception to this was last year in the Adirondack 540 where my stomach was messed up from taking predisone after an asthma attack during the RMCC 400k brevet last June. Steve Born, also Hammer Nutrition, has helped me fine tune my nutrition including supplements for the longer events.
E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition is one of my sponsors and a big thanks goes out to them. If you’ve never tried their products and you do long events, you owe it to yourself to give their products a try. They are really good at helping their customers fine tune their fuels and supplements. You can get 15% off your first order by using this link. A previous blog entry describes the basics of how I use their products for various length events.
Nutrition was never an issue in my RAAM attempt. I had consistent energy except for one time in the desert when I gave in to my Coke craving. I fought it for 5 or 6 hours and finally asked my crew for a Coke. I told myself I’d only drink half of it. They got me a 20 oz bottle and I drank close to 2/3 of it. It only took about 15 minutes before my energy started crashing. Of course this had to be just before the Yarnell grade of 8 miles at 8% grade. To make matters worse it was early afternoon with a brutal sun and about 100 degrees.
During RAAM my goal was to get at least 70% of my calories from liquids. I think I was quite a bit higher than that. As long as my digestion could keep up, I tried getting between 250-280 calories and hour. The majority of the time I was drinking a bottle with 2 scoops of Perpetuem and 2 scoops of Endurolyte powder. On the Yarnell Grade and also on Wolf Creek Pass I switched to HEED although I wasn’t having a problem with the Perpetuem but HEED is easier to digest. I think I had a couple other bottles of HEED through the desert mainly for something different.
I was also eating small amounts of watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, red grapes, pretzels, saltines, nuts, and turkey lunch meat. At Tuba City I requested a chicken soft taco with rice from Taco Bell minus some of the sauces. Especially in the desert the watermelon was great. My crew would cut it up and put it in a plastic bag in one of the ice bags so it was really cold. My mouth would get so dry that sipping water wouldn’t help the dryness but eating the watermelon would.
Here’s what I did pretty much every hour for E-caps and Hammer Nutrition Supplements:
Every 4th hour I was taking 1 Super AO.
I did find that a few times a day my stomach would get a little acidic and I’d take a couple Tums. I was also using a few tums a day that I would let sit in my mouth as a paste to help with mouth sores. I actually had less problems during RAAM than I had in my qualifiers. I was also occasionally rinsing my mouth with Mylanta in an attempt to decrease the mouth sores.
An hour before I’d stop for a sleep break, I would take 3 PICs and start drinking a bottle with 3 scoops of Recoverite in it. Once I’d stop, I’d take 4 more
PICs, drink 5 scoops of Recoverite, take 2 capsules of fish oil and take 3 Tissue Rejuvenators. I was amazed at how much I was recovering with just 3 hours of sleep.