Lupus Racing Team is keeping you clipped in with a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get top results and how teamwork makes the dream work. Team member Bryan Lewis lays out how the team keeps its riders fueled.
There are a lot of little pieces that make a professional cycling team fire on all cylinders to ensure the riders have the best chance to win each day out on the road.
During a five- to seven-day stage race, it is vital to make sure the team is fueled for the race each day, taking on proper nutrition during the race, and recovering well for the next day.
Breakfast is the simplest part of the day. Usually guys start with a cup of coffee to get moving alongside some protein, often in the form of eggs or yogurt and some carbs, usually found in toast or oatmeal, ensuring easy digestion.
On longer days guys might grab double servings, find some waffles or dig in to some potatoes and bacon. I’m partial to eggs, potatoes, and oatmeal to get my day going, and coffee only if I’m breakaway hunting that day and need a little extra go.
Pre-race nutrition buffet
Once arriving at the race the soigneur has all our pre- and during-race food lined up on the table. We always have a combination of Honey Stinger products such as waffles, gels and chews alongside homemade fuel, such as nutella tortillas, peanut butter and banana mini-bagels or rice cakes.
Often guys grab some homemade food for just before the race and then stuff their pockets with Honey Stinger products. Personally, I love the chews and vanilla waffles and toss something homemade in the middle pocket for a mid-race treat.
Guys then pick up bottles from our soigneur with most guys going for one bottle of Sword drink mix and one bottle of water. Sword helps replace some of the much-needed electrolytes with a light taste that tastes great and helps it go down easy. I really prefer a lighter tasting mix to something heavy and sweet such as Gatorade. Sword fits that bill nicely.
Once the race gets rolling, I try to eat one to two items an hour, usually front loading a bit so when the racing gets busy toward the end I can focus on racing and not worry about hitting the wall.
What’s in the bag?
At the halfway point of long races we’ll get a musette bag from our soigneur that has a ton of goodies in it. It always comes with a Coke (or two) to give us a sugar and caffeine boost, a Snickers (because they are Chris’s favorite, they taste great, and as far as candy bars go provide solid nutrition) and an assortment of Honey Stinger food.
Usually there is enough for a couple of riders to share, and it gets passed around the team in the peloton. Coke is a well-known cycling staple and there is no doubt it often provides that little extra boost before the riding gets hard. If we’re not getting it in a musette we’ll send guys back to the car to grab a couple of Cokes and Snickers.
After the race, our soigneur again has snacks set out. We’ll have some of the same items from pre-race, along with fruit, which always tastes especially good after a hot stage.
Alongside the snacks we’ll get some more solid food to jump-start recovery. Favorite items include burritos with rice, turkey/chicken, and some extra filling alongside a quinoa, spinach, cranberry, strawberry and pecan salad. I never thought I’d love a post-race salad, but something about it is just cool, refreshing, and oh-so good. Some guys down a recovery drink as well, but I prefer real food over a drink mix.
After showering and relaxing at the hotel we’ll head to a normal cyclist dinner, something with some protein, carbs like pasta or rice, and some vegetables. Vegetables can sometimes be a premium when eating out and during a stage race, so we’re always finding ways to get some more down the hatch, from always ordering salads and vegetable sides to snacking on carrots and hummus in the hotel room.
Finally, while most of the race is spent focused on eating good food, recovery, getting vegetables, by the end of the week there is nothing I want more than a chocolate chip cookie.
Fortunately, on the Lupus Racing Team we get taken great care of. After 100 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing at the Gila Monster (the last stage of the Tour of the Gila), our soigneur stuck a cookie in my hand. Bless her.
Sometimes it’s the little things that keep you going. I’m not sure if cookie watts are a real thing, but they definitely make you feel better after a long week of suffering. (My apologies to Phil Gaimon and his Chocolate Chip Cookie Monopoly.)
Photos by Les Morales