Tips & Recipes
Fuel like a pro
Tips on race nutrition from Veronica Ewers
Even if you hit every training session perfectly, the weather cooperates, and the parcours suits your racing style to a T, it can all fall apart if you fail to fuel properly.
Veronica Ewers came to cycling with years of collegiate soccer and competitive running under her belt. But the long training sessions on the bike and the races made her realize how different cycling was from the other sports she’d practiced.
“I never fueled during a soccer game,” Veronica says. “Maybe at halftime I had a bar. There’s so much running in soccer. I couldn’t eat within two hours of a run or soccer game because I'd just feel that in my gut. Usually after a game or a run, I’d be pretty famished but after racing I’m not hungry at all. If you’re properly fueled on the bike, you shouldn’t be famished when you cross the finish line.”
Veronica aims for 90 grams of carbohydrates an hour when racing for three or more hours. To help athletes know precisely how much they are consuming, Neversecond’s C-Series of gels and drink mixes are named C30, C60, and C90, indicating exactly how many grams of carbs are in each product.
"If you’re properly fueled on the bike, you shouldn’t be famished when you cross the finish line."
By removing the guesswork, Neversecond allows Veronica to keep on top of her race nutrition without having to give it much thought.
“With Neversecond it’s really easy to know how much you’re consuming because I use the C30 and C90. The name indicates how many grams of carbs you’re getting so it’s really easy to calculate. I know I need three gels an hour or two gels and one bottle per hour. That sort of calculation makes it really easy to ensure that we’re getting what we need every hour.”
When Veronica traded in soccer and running for the peloton, she learned the hard way the importance of fueling properly.
“With running, I was just running a lot and not really knowing what to do about nutrition so it was interesting coming into cycling. Once I started getting into the longer races I noticed it. The first races were an hour to two hours. You can do ok without fueling in the middle of a short race like that but once the races got to three or four hours long, I would barely eat or drink anything in the rides. There were times I was so focused on the race and didn’t want to take my hands off the handlebars. Then I’d look down and see that I was two hours into the race and I hadn’t consumed as much as I should have. I’d be pretty wrecked afterwards.”
EF Education-TIBCO-SVB works with a nutritionist who has helped Veronica and her teammates fuel properly.
“Our nutritionist Dana is super. She’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. She’s provided a lot of really amazing insight into the ways we can get the nutrition that we need. Once I started learning more about nutrition and actually started fueling properly on those intense, three to four-hour rides, the riding was still hard but I noticed that my recovery was better and that I was performing better in general.”
Taking the weather into account is something Veronica does when planning her race nutrition, particularly as summer approaches. In addition to getting enough carbs, it’s also important to drink enough water as the temperature rises.
“In some of the Spanish races, I split the C90 drink mix between two bottles and that worked really well for me.”
This let Veronica still have the precise amount of carbs she needed but she accompanied it with double the water than if she had drunk the C90 in just one bottle.
When the race is full gas, Veronica admits it can be hard to remember to get in the fuel her body needs so she sometimes turns to external cues to serve as a reminder.
“I try to drink when I see someone else drink and eat when I see someone else eat,” she says.
Whereas some bars can cause gastrointestinal issues for some athletes, it helps that Neversecond’s lineup of products are easy on the stomach.
“Gels are much easier for me to ingest because it’s not a lot of thought and I don’t have to chew. It’s a quick and easy way to get the calories and carbs that are necessary.”
At the recent block of one-day and stage races in Spain, the American made a special effort to concentrate on in-race nutrition. The result? A win at the Navarra Elite Classics, a top-ten stage finish at Itzulia Women, and a pair of second place GC finishes at Emakumeen Naraffoako and Durango-Durango.