You are hereForums / Preparation / Nutrition & Food / Endurance racing pill poppers?

Endurance racing pill poppers?

pikey's picture

By pikey - Posted on 25 November 2008

On my 100km race events I find my mind and body shutting down around the last 20km's.
It wasn't until I found a packet of "No Dose" on the track of the 08 Fling that I now wonder what people are popping to get them through the event. I think I eat well (thanks to Junkie) and would like to know what legal pills, potions and lotions you are all taking to help you get through. (Drinking alcohol the night before, I’m sure doesn’t help)

My race day diet consists of:

1. A Bacon and egg roll and an energize milk drink for breakfast.
2. Then nothing but water and emdura for the next two hours.
3. Then over the coarse or the day I would eat 1 x jam & honey roll 1 x banana at least three gels and I also down an Allan’s snake every hour or so.
4. I start the race with two full bladders in my pack 1.5 litres water and 1.5 liters of double concentration Emdura.

Looking forward to your advise and being a cycling pharmacy next race Eye-wink


PS:time to complete the Fling 06- 9hrs:45mins / 08- 8hrs:45min(I think) / 09- 9hrs:15 mins (I think) quick aren't I.

Buck's picture

My Fling diet was mainly liquid.

Dinner the night before was pasta.

For breakfast I had 2 scoops of Hammer Perpetuem.

In my bottle cage I had 4 scoops of Hammer Perpetuem that I would take a sip of every half hour or so. This bottle lasted me to the half way water stop. I then put another 4 scoops of Hammer in and that took me through to the finish. I also ate a banana at the half way point because they were handing them out Smiling

When I did feel a little low on energy I took a Hammer gel. Took 2-3 of them through the race.

I had plain water in my camelbak.

And that's about it for me. Got me through the race. No spectacular times but never cramped or felt too buggered.

Edit: Oh I did take 4 neurofens because that SLR saddle was killing me!

Scott's picture

I'm not sure what time you are taking to ride the 100kms but looking at your food I'd say your not eating nearly enough. gels are around 100cals each, the sambo lets say 100 (and I think that over estimates it), the banana about 90 for a medium size. Endura I have no idea so I'll base it on Heed which has 100 per serve, so that = 700 calories for a ride. If it takes you 7 hours to ride the 100km then you are only getting in 1/3rd to 1/2 the calories you need to replenish what you expending.

At the end of a race I used to feel the same way you do. I did some reading and tried some things out and now feel great at the end of a race (muscle cramps aside). So my suggestion is eat more. A lot of things I read suggested 200-300 calories / hour is what you should be targeting (plus all the carbo stuff as well, it can't be crap food your eating). I was riding on about 100 per hour and getting more and more tired as the race went on.

At the weekend with little training (and I mean very little) I was feeling tired but fresh and my only issues were leg cramps (which I avoid if I stick to using magnesium tablets). One of the things I read was don't eat within 3 hours of the race or if you must eat then only eat about 100-200 cals 10 mins before the race. At Ourimbah I tried this with no brekkie and I downed a powerbar and gel 10 mins before and I think it made a really big difference.

I'm sure you'll solve it but for my 2c I reckon 'get more into ya'


Damien's picture

Not to clever taking pills theirs a reason you start to hurt its your bodies way of telling you that your limits are near.

Pikey if that is your intake for the whole race I would say it looks a little light on and would suggest upping the qty of gels or something else you like to eat and eat small amounts quite reguarly every half hour works for me. I like gels because they dont need to be chewed and can be downed while still riding.

My race diet for 100k races.

1. Breakfast ideally 4 hours before the race start if I am having a serious go and is usually 5 weetbix.
2. Gu's during and before the race I have the first one about 15mins before the start and then 1 every 30mins or so about 12 - 14 for the whole race. And I also had a sticky bun at the last stop at the Angry Doctor as well.
3. Water Powerade mix (normal) total of 4 litres for 6 or so hours (been a little bit longer lately for the 100km outings).

anke13's picture

I had porridge with 1 banana and some strawberries for brekkie for the Gong ride and also for the Fat Tyre Festival at least 3 hours before race start. I picked this up from my flat mate, who does Ironman comps. I also eat a huge bowl of pasta and Bolognese sauce the night before (another tip from my flatmate). As for liquid - the recommended daily intake is 1 litre per 23kg of body weight. Apart from plain water, I also mix some powder with water which is made to take DURING exercise and contains 1:4 protein/carbs. I find the gels the least effective and they do not replace real food for me, so eventually I'll have to eat something solid.

One of the guys in my triathlon group is diabetic and he always says that it's the meal the night before a race or big training session that's the most important.

Pikey - I don't think they mean beer when people are talking about loading up with carbs Smiling

Buck's picture

I remember Carlgroover having at least a six pack before the Dirtworks 100km and he did alright Laughing out loud

Rob's picture

Things seem to go better for me if I really fill my face the week before a race. I mean go really hard cramming in all the food you can. Yeah, I know - it's a tough job, but someone has to do it Eye-wink

Take a more 'normal' size dinner race night and light breakie, staying off too much fibre.

Ironic advice from someone who's only really got nutrition right for one race this year - the Dirtworks. I ate only 2-3 bars bars and couple bananas until about 5 hours in when I started on the Gu and had 2-3 of those to push home. Had two bottles Enduro/Gatorade mix also.

Oddly I tried the same at Mogo and blew up really badly, although it was more the fault of the 'too much fun' course than what I ate I think.

FWIW, I've seen Steve01's nutrition, or lack thereof. Think he ate a can of creamed rice night before Mogo and nothing in the morning. Clearly he has subs hiding in the bushes for an hourly interchange! Sticking out tongue

Nick R's picture

Consume 1 gram of carbs per kilogram of bodyweight per hour of racing so if they weigh 70kgs and complete a 100km enduro in 4.5 hours they need to consume 315 gram of carbs in total. I figure that I would require the same total carbs over the same distance even though it takes me longer.

Each GU shot is 25 grams of carbs, each peanut butter and jam sandwich on wholemeal bread is 45 grams of carbs, each IXL kids fruit stick is 15 grams of carbs and a 700ml bottle of sports drink is 40-60 grams of carbs depending on the drink. Therefore I usually consume 4 GUs, 2 fruit sticks, 1 PB&J sandwich and the equivalent of 3 sports drinks (2 in 1.5 litre camelbak + 1 in cage) = 325 grams of carbs. This seems to work and there is a mix of different foods and plenty of sodium in the sandwich, the GU shots and the sports drink. Also weight wise this only weighs 2.5 kgs.

The other thing the elites do is consume caffeine 15 minutes before a race. GU shots also contain caffeine. I usually have a 600ml bottle of regular coke (as well as a muesili breakfast). I read that Craig Gordon won the Dirtworks on nothing more than a 600ml bottle of coke. Caffeine apparently causes the body to burn more complex energy stored in fat earlier rather than burning more freely available glycogen stored from the carbo dinner from the night before.

pikey's picture

Ok, so Craig Gordon does 100km on coke and our own Stephen Knight does 100km on salt and vinegar chips and creamy rice custard.
What chance do I have?
Reading all your comments its clear that I'm not topping up my reserves once the bacon & egg roll has vapourised but I find I can’t stomach more than one PB&J roll, maybe I’ll try the fruit sticks.
I have trouble gumming those power bars whilst trying to breathe as well!!!
I tend to feel sort of flighty after 4+ gels and infact after my 07 Fling (one day later) I had a near blackout episode whilst driving and after having heart tests (which came back excellent) the doctor said the caffeine in the gels could have been to blame, go figure.
Now seams that as Scott said I’m going to have to up my calorie intake during the race or resign myself to taking a leisurely 9 hrs to peddle 100km.

Back to the original point of my letter, people out there are popping pills, please PM me with your lists Eye-wink Thanks.


Salad is what food eats Smiling

anke13's picture

You should always alternate between gels that are with and without caffeine.

Morgan's picture

As a 100k in 8hr specialist, I don't chug the GU's until the last couple of hours if I can help it. Until that point I have a half a slice of Woolies dark fruit cake every hour or so and I take something appetising like a couple of ham rolls with butter which I'll have half of to vary the taste sensation during the race.

I don't do anything special the week before but try to have a good pasta meal the night before, toast or cereals for brekky and a really big dump before the toilet queues get too long; I find I get too nervous to perform when I'm queuing too close to the race start and an absence of bogroll also takes its toll.

I probably drink about 6 litres of water in 8 hours. I would only have 2 or 3 beers the night before, mainly to avoid a rollocking hangover on the day which, some dubious research has "proved", apparently impedes performance.

Regarding pills, I tried Viagra once but found that whilst I had no problems getting up (the hills), I had difficulty getting to the finish without help.

hawkeye's picture

The solo gal using the table set up next to our team tent took a NoDoz and what I'm guessing was a Nurofen a couple of hours from the end of the Fat Tyre on the weekend.

Every lap she came past she replaced bottles filled with what looked like endura (pale honey colour) and took off with a few gels and a sticky sultana breadroll. She stopped for a couple of minutes and had something with some protein around the middle of the day - chicken maybe - if I recall correctly.

daves's picture

Pikey - the strawberry-bannana and lemon lime flavours of Gu are caffeine free. The others have I think 20mg per sachet. This is considerably less than a cup of coffee (instant, brewed or espresso).

LadyToast's picture

Hi Pikey

Everyone has their own tricks, but here is mine that might have some relevance regarding the caffine (I'm no expert and no speed demon either, but this works for me). I don't drink coffee as It causes me to have palpitations and has in the past brought on atrial fibrillation. I went to see a nutritionist who helped me work out what is right for me.

For the long races I mix 12 Endura gels in my bidon and topped it off with water, then marked the side in half hour steps (endure gels have caffine so I was aware I was pushing it - see below). It's really important to have lots of water with each gulp otherwise the gel isn't absorbed (hypertonic/isotonic stuff). As much as 300ml water per gel. Apparently it's important to do this otherwise your stomach can't absorb the gel and your worse off that not having it, it can form a "plug". In my backpack I have 2 scoops of endura and another scoop in a plastic bag for the next water stop. I'll have one before the race too which reached my daily limit.

Recently I have been playing with pure glucose mixed in my back pack to get ride of the caffine. I weigh about 86kilos, so I mix 80 grams per hour, along with the Endura (that has carbs too so I factor that in). I'm going to go back to the bidon for long rides though as it's nice to separate the energy from the water, and you can't tell how many carbs you have had if it's in the back pack.

I have a liquid lunch as soon as I wake up, Ensure plus or Endura optimizer. I don't eat solids at all when I am riding, but am very careful to take the energy drink every half an hour from the marked bidon. 30 mins before the start I might try to eat a muesli bar.

Pill wise.. some people I know take salt tablets and magnesium, but endura has that as well. Your body can only stomach so much magnesium before pooing it out though (your body's way of telling you it's had too much). I carry ibuprofen and generally neck at least 2 a race to reduce the burn in my legs more than anything else.

At the end of the race I have a pre-made shake as soon as I get off the bike (optimizer is really easy, just add water and shake then try to drink it down - yuk). The carbs are as important as the protein, but I can't remember why, I just know it's really important to do it right away.

This all sounds like I know what I'm talking about, I don't! I've just started to work out what works for me - sorry if there are errors. The important thing I have learnt is that you just have to keep eating/drinking... pretty much all the time.

Hope this helps a bit...

valierm's picture

makes you run fast - not sure of it's legality though.

craigs's picture

My 2 cents of experience....
The mind wandering is the biggest challenge in the endurance events I find.
Keeping the sugars in check, hydration and energy intake it vital for keeping everything going the way it should but I have personally thought that training is the key missing element in my performances.

As discussed on several forums, there are many theories on what works best.
I have lately been subscribing to taking protein while riding along with the high carb drinks. This same combination at regular intervals for the recovery, very similar to Dylan's post. Seems to work, certainly for recovery. See link below.
During the event its vital to get what you need into you before you think you need it, in other words, dont get hungry or thirsty cos its too late. Munch small amounts regularly.

Carb loading, good sleep leading in, some alcohol to relax seems to be a good preparation and pacing oneself.

I did the half fling naturally, with no Gu, Coke, just fluids and some solid food but felt perfectly conditioned for the event (for my aims).

Ephedrine is speed basically. Psuedo ephedrine is in cold and flu tablets often containing codeine. The pseudo ephedrine will make you hell thirsty(dries your snot up when you have a cold) but give a good burst of energy. Codeine is an opiate and I wouldnt think there would be any performace benefit at all.
Nurofens and the likes are anti inflamatory so might have a positive effect.
Caffeine (no noz and so on) is also a diuretic which is not good but as we probably all take it in some form the negatives would be outweighed by the benefits.
Clearly I am not a doctor or an expert and know that many athletes have formulas worked out with people with massive experience.

It would be interesting to know the MTBA policy on drugs and drug testing. I know that to get Asda to an event is pretty expensive.
Ephedrine or Pseudo ephedrine is illegal in most sports and even caffeine is at higher concentrations in some sports. Remember the Aussie pentathlete Alex Watson who was kicked out of the olympics for caffeine!!

Anyone tried soda bicarb (baking soda)? Taken in careful doses it makes the blood more alkaline, thus buffering against lactic acid. Totally legal and apparently widely used. The side effect is explosive diahorrea if you get the dose wrong.

Check out these links

Paul's picture

Raisins are the go for me (recommended by my wife)

They contain all the good gear like sugar, magnesium, etc (she told me but I wasn't listening)

Pop a few in your mouth and you can chew and breath at the same time.

Trust me I'm a veteran of one 100k race.

pikey's picture

Morgan, I aspire to the three poo theory,
1st is the regular hey bowls I’m awake, make room for breaky.
2nd is the ooh I have a race on this morning better leave room for breaky to sit all day.
3rd is better make sure for certain lunch has room in there as well.
Hawkeye, pleased to hear that the elite are taking chicken and “No Dose” to help them get through the day, there is hope for me.
Daves, Thanks I didn’t notice that some of the GU’s DON”T have caffeine. I will look next time.
LadyToast, man…300mls of water per gel. I’m lucky to take in two mouthfuls of water per gel.
Valierm, now your talking. Ephedrine, more details please and do I need to lean on Tien for a script?
Time to write a race diary and follow it given all the advice I’ve now received, thanks all.
I still think drugs must be the answer thought….oh well I’m off for another red wine and a bong Eye-wink

Salad is what food eats Smiling

lozza6's picture

I take codeine for the pain and ibuprofen for the anti-inflammatory.

Agreed with Damien, you hurt for a reason, but if I didn't take this stuff, I simply can't finish 100km. Ask Rob where on a training ride, I was unable to stand up on my bike with pedals at 3 and 9. My knee would give way and pedals would drop straight back to 6/12..

So Nurofen Plus worked a treat to allow me to finish the Mogo.

As for food, I have only done 1 x 100km race and it seemed to go ok. LCM bar every hour and 4 scoops of Endura for the first 50 and 4 scoops for the second 50. Another 4L of water on top of that (2L for each 50) and it worked perfectly for me.

DW is the next 100? Still pissed I missed out on the Fling Sad

LadyToast's picture

Hi Lozza, missing riding enough yet Eye-wink

Have you thought about seeing Steve Hogg about your bike setup? He reckons that most knee pain whilst cycling is caused by incorrect setup of the bike and our often non-symmetrical bodies while riding. From what I hear he really knows what he's talking about.

Not cheap but might be worth looking at if it gets rid of your knee pain:

dreggsy's picture

Dinner the night before = big bowl of pasta + a glass or 3 of red wine.

Breakfast = Big strong coffee, 1 x tin creamed rice, muffin, banana, glass of water.
Gurana / Ginseng tablet, 1 x ibuprofen talet

40mins before race = powerbar and a Hammer gel.

During race
approx every 40mins = powerbar + gel + a bidon of HEED 3/4mix + some water

1/2 way i'll have another Gurana / Ginseng tablet, 1 x ibuprofen talet

For a 100km race i'd go through 6 gels maybe 4 powerbars 3litres of water 2 x bidons Heed

most of my 100km races end up around the 5:30 / 6:15 depending on the day.
I did the 112km Fling last year in 5:40.

hope that helps some what

Damien's picture

What about the broccoli and custard.

Caro's picture

I know it's been a while since my last 100km race but what worked for me was..

Instead of going with the designated stops I used to have a super quick stop every 45 min to have at least half a musli bar or a handful of trail mix or maybe a gel. I'm crap at riding and eating at the same time so I had to stop for a couple of minutes but the point is that these 'regular' timed stops really work for me.

Usually if I wait for my body to tell me when it needs energy it is already too late and often when the 'organised' stops come up during the races I feel good and don't want to stop apart for maybe filling up water.

I am in the '8 to 9 hours plus' ride time category too Smiling and never had any problems with cramps or having to take pills

(listen to your body instead of shutting it up with some chemicals!! you only have the one and it has to last you a couple more years Sticking out tongue)
-sorry, had to write this... you can call me boring and old fashioned Eye-wink!)

dreggsy's picture

sshhhh.....that's my 24hr fuel!!!

hawkeye's picture

Well, being already boring (I'm an accountant) and already old (mid-40's) I suppose I have no reputation to to lose. Laughing out loud So here it comes:

I agree with Caro's sentiments. Your health can't be replaced when you lose it, and it doesn't impact just you. This is an issue that is still raw for me.

Due to health issues from an industrial accident and an earlier tobacco addiciton, my old man was unable to do all the usual stuff a Dad does with his kid. I've forgiven him of course, but the consequence was we never really bonded, and there was a huge financial stress that ran as an undercurrent through most of my childhood. Now as he is reaching the end of his days, there are huge regrets all round about choices and consequences and what was lost.

So it seems to me that risking throwing away your health by (ab)using pills in pursuit of a piece of shiny plastic and your name on top of a list for a month or two is both a crap example and a shitty legacy to leave for those who care about you.

My thought is: leave the shortcuts to the small minds. There's *always* a price. Short term "pleasure" for long term pain is no bargain.

[End rant]

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Best Mountain Bike