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TA Countdown 6: Eat to Ride; Ride to Eat

28 October 2021

By Ollie Whalley, Anja McDonald, Tristan Rawlence & Scott Emmens

3000 kilometres on your bike, plus the training miles, burns plenty of calories. Combine this with the constraint of 'eating what's available when you can', rather than what your nutritionist prescribes - and you'll spend a lot of dosh on crap food... and still misplace a few kilos between Cape Reinga and Bluff.

Fantastic Mr Fox
  • Teach yourself to function on, and enjoy, a range of fuels - fat, sugar and carbs. Suss out gas stations, dairies and franchise takeaway joints for widely available packaged food that is palatable when you're knackered, and/or hot, bothered and anxious with 'this is not a race' jitters. 
  • Be ambitious with quantities purchased for immediate consumption. There's no such thing as too much - strive to shock shopkeepers.
  • Get excited about scoffing 'bad' food, guilt-free.
  • You'll crave 'real food' and it will occasionally be more than a mirage. Enjoy salads, veggie, fruit and all the wholesome stuff when you can.
  • Eat when you can. Grab hot meals in town. Pack snacks for riding and cold food at camp.
  • Plan ahead. Buy (just) enough to get you to the next provisioning stop, plus an emergency stash. Avoid excess weight if you can. Remember to check closing and opening times at your next planned stop.
Feed Me Seymour
  • Set food and beverage targets alongside kilometre milestones.
  • Eat at least once an hour. And imbibe half a litre per hour. More when it's hot.
  • It's important to stay ahead of the bonk. Eat a little often - and before you actually feel hungry.
  • As the ride down the country progresses your metabolism speeds up (you need more and more). Plan to feel over-full - even a tad sick - when fuelling up.
  • Practise eating and drinking plenty while actually riding. It's not easy.
Pick Me Up
  • Go for salty food and/or electrolyte powder in your water bottle - especially when it's hot. Mineral supplements like magnesium may help to lessen cramp. Protein powders at the end of the day help aid overnight recovery. 
  • Pack multivitamins to help supplement the nutrient deficiency.
  • Caffeinate with coffee, Coca Cola and/or No-Doz if you're smashing out overtime at night - enough to stay alert, but not so wired that sleep is elusive when you finally stop for a kip.
Break in Case of Emergency
  • Keep some easy to digest treats in reserve for when you really really need a hit - peanut butter slugs, Snickers, cream caramel Easter eggs, sour snakes, one square meals...
Normal Viewing Resumed
  • When it's all over, kick the bad habits. Work hard on eating the best food possible to rebuild and rebalance your body.