Race Across America is fast approaching. In just over four months we will be in the 40degree heat of California . From the North West of England that sort of heat is unimaginable in January and February. Long rides are hard in the snow and ice and cold, so Tom and I are making the most of the short days. Cycling into work and home twice a week, indoor sessions on Zwift midweek and then a ride together at the weekend.
These rides are a nice chance to catch up on how the preparations are going but also for quality training with a mate. Fat burning – during Race Across America we can’t consume the amount of calories that we will be burning. This means we have to use stored fat as an energy source for the ride. Strange thought that Tom and I are trying to keep some weight on in preparation for it fueling us across America. Fat is a good fuel source for low intensity exercise, at higher intensity, glycogen and stored sugars are the main source. With training you can increase the proportion of fat you burn in relation to carbohydrates. So, that’s why we do a fasted ride on a Sunday morning. Wake up, black coffee for the caffeine (no milk that’s cheating ha) then out of the door. Glycogen stores in the body last about 90 minutes for Tom and I, so we do a 2.5Hour ride on a Sunday morning fasted. That’s essentially an hour of guaranteed pain.
I still remember our first fasted ride ha ha ha, Tom broke first, I was chatting , he wasn’t. By the time we reached breakfast neither of us were talking. The brain needs sugars to work and we had used most of ours. Our awareness and coordination had gone as had our sense of humour. We sat down and had white coffee, even the small amount of sugar in the coffee was enough to make our brains come good. Thirty seconds later we both became hysterical and started giggling and within two minutes we were back to our normal selves. A weird feeling. People talk about “bonking” during a marathon, essentially it’s running out of sugar, we are bonking every Sunday. On purpose!! It’s not pleasant. Nice thing is though, your body gets better at using fat, last time out, same ride, we both felt absolutely fine at the breakfast point and we were both still chatting. Progress. This is key to performing in RAAM. Slow and steady and fat burning will help keep the bonk away.
And if you want to see how tought training in the winter is check out our latest training video.