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- from rider Alison Chisholm

I am here to help any one of you with your nutritional needs/questions. It’s probably the biggest factor in completing a 3 day ride like this. Simply stated this ride is about learning to eat/hydrate on the bike…and of course putting the time in to train those legs! 



Tip #1: Eat every 30min on the bike. My coach says you need 70g of carbs an hour. Look at your gels, gummies, etc, and figure out what that means for you. When racing I eat 4-5 gels an hour and set my timer to remind me on the bike to eat. 


Tip #2: If you feel hungry on the bike you’ve missed the boat. You can’t make up for a lack of nutrition on an endurance ride. You are on a downward spiral at this point and may eventually “bonk”  and have to get in the support vehicle. A true “bonk” can take 10 days to recover from. Riders at any level can experience a “bonk” on a ride due to various factors (sickness, fatigue, weather, etc). However the main factor for a “bonk” is usually not enough calories. It’s a tell-tale sign that you didn’t eat enough or eat soon enough on that ride.


Tip #3: Don’t try something new on the day of our 3-day charity ride. All your experimenting with food/drink should be well established after a few long rides. Everybody is slightly different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Making mistakes is part of what makes a great rider in the end. Consider carrying real food on training rides as well as gels to have both options. On our charity ride, lunch stops are provided with real food. Just note that gels can give you a “quick hit” of energy since they are metabolized quickly. 


Tip #4: Find the right balance of salt tabs/pills/electrolytes in your water bottle(s). Your body tries to stay in a perfect balance of water/sodium. You need some sodium to allow the transfer of water to permeate through the cell linings and allow for hydration, as well as dispose of waste material. You can’t store excess salt. Simply said - too much sodium is a problem and too little is a problem. Some riders may not know that too much sodium may lead to stomach cramps whereas too little causes a condition known as hyponatremia. Practice what works for you. 


Tip #5: On average, you should be drinking between a half and a full water bottle an hour. Frequent sips are better than drinking a whole bottle at rest stops. Gels are geared to have you eat one followed by a few sips of water. Again, it’s about keeping that perfect balance of little bits of food/water going in at the proper rate for the energy being expended. 



I know the ride leaders have put in some good mileage. You should consider doing a long ride each week now and plan it out to be a pyramid, 80km ride, 100km, 120km, etc., and the longest ride three weeks out from the date of our charity ride. Then taper back to 100km ride for your long ride each week in the three weeks leading up to the event. Other rides in between the long rides should work on intensity (hill repeats/speed).  Of course a rest day (or 2) each week is as important as your long ride (to help prevent injuries). 


A very simple example of a training week might look like this:


Sat: 100km ride

Sun: 80km coffee/croissant ride

Mon: rest day

Tues: hill repeats

Wed: recovery ride

Thurs: intervals or hills

Fri: easy ride or 2nd rest day (*Firefighters may need more rest days due to lack of sleep/recovery/shift work)


Hope this long read has helped!

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