I Like Real Food: Tri Training Part III

I finished the bike route today in one hour and nine minutes. My only major slip up was changing gears too quickly on the super steep section after the lake; my chain slipped off and I started to walk my bike up the hill. I rolled the pedals forward to get the chain back into position and hopped back on in the middle of the hill and fortunately was able to regain some momentum. Technically, it was a good practice run. I decided where I should lay forward and coast, and where to stand up to pedal through shorter uphill spots.
I also tried out the other PowerBar energy gel – the latte flavor – over the course of my ride. The tricky part was opening it up ever so slightly so I could put it back in my pocket without it dripping everywhere, but I managed quite well (read: I got lucky). This time I had my “winter” or “pre-ride” breakfast before heading out: multi-grain oatmeal with cinnamon, half a banana and flax seeds mixed in. I honestly can’t tell how much energy or caffeine the gel is providing to my system, especially since I take little bits of it at a time (and the entire package is only 110kCal). Maybe I need to eat it earlier so it works its way into my muscles sooner. I normally don’t feel thirsty on my rides, except when mountain biking in the hot sun, but I drank more water than usual because the sugar in my mouth made me feel dry.
My general conclusion for today is that if I eat one of these gels, I should do it during transition between swimming and cycling. I honestly don’t know if I save any time by using the gels, and it slows me down when I fumble around to try to eat it. During the ride I will use a 2:1 ratio of water to vitamin water in my water bottle to keep hydrated and restore sugars and electrolytes. If I were going a longer distance I would have to re-think this, but for the distances I’m going for this race I should be ok with liquid sustenance. I can always keep gels or snacks on me, but honestly, I’m used to swimming, road cycling and running on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
I’ve never been a fan of protein bars (always too sweet and dense), whey protein shakes (let’s not talk about this one), or sports drinks (waaaay too sweet; they dry me out). Real food is more satisfying and nutrients are absorbed and distributed more efficiently. If I am smart about my nutrition, something I’ve been working on for years as an athlete, I should be ok without manufactured supplements. In fact, I am going to continue to experiment with foods that are easy to prep just before a ride, like my super yummy almond butter and banana sandwich. Yum, I like real food.

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