You’ve probably been preparing your body and mind for months – sweating on your bike on hot Summer days, dragging yourself out of bed to beat the sun.
And it all comes down to this Sunday. The Cape Argus Cycle Tour kicks off on 12 March, giving you the opportunity to nab personal bests, tick off your bucket list or simply enjoy the day’s outing.
But preparation doesn’t end at your final practice cycle. You’ve got to ensure your diet before, and after, the race help you to achieve more at this year’s Cape Argus.
Fill up your tank with our following tips on the do’s and don’ts for fuelling your body on race day:
Before the Cape Argus begins
Do: Eat your meal 3 hours before you’re set to start, giving your body time to digest properly and make the most of the energy you’re supplying it.
Don’t: Race day is not the day to try something new. Stick to foods you’ve been eating before practice cycles with similar distances.
Do: Keep your food in the week running up to the race, fresh and healthy. Binging on fatty junk food even 3 days before can have a negative effect on your body’s ability to give its all on race day.
Don’t: Carbo loading should be avoided the day before the Cape Argus. Chances are, if you’re taking Sunday’s race seriously, you might be nervous come Saturday night. Gorging on carbs takes a toll on your digestion process and restless sleep could lead to a disaster.
Do: Eat low GI foods that release energy slower, giving you steam for longer. For breakfast try porridge and fruit, or a slice of wholewheat toast with peanut butter.
Don’t: It’s important that you don’t underestimate the importance of hydration. Drink plenty of water before you take off but remember to keep enough with you on your bike to stay hydrated throughout the race.
When the Cape Argus is done and dusted
Do: Get hold of some isotonic sports drinks as soon as possible – you might be exhausted but it’s important to give your body the fluids and electrolytes it lost during the race.
Don’t: After a race as intense as the Cape Argus, your muscles are likely to cramp – don’t ignore it! Help your body out by snacking on a banana which supplies it with the necessary potassium.
Do: Stick to lean meats like chicken and turkey when you get home for your well-deserved meal – the best recovery foods are still healthy. Consider adding a complex carbohydrate like sweet potato to your post-race Sunday lunch.
Don’t: You might not have a big appetite soon after the race comes to an end but don’t wait too long. Aim to eat something no later than 30 minutes after you cross the finish line. After the gruelling race, your body needs to kick into recovery mode and could benefit from your help.