2 months ago by Oskar Scarsbrook

How we fuel performance

How does Human Powered Health get ready to race?

Every bike race is different, but the foundations of a great performance remain the same from one week to the next, season after season. 

For Human Powered Health™ athletes, the first building blocks of a result are laid well before any crank is turned. 

 

Preparation 

Most athletes will target a few races each year that they want to peak for. Training for this often begins months out from the day itself and encompasses other races to sharpen up for the main event. 

In the lead up to Strade Bianche, Nina Buijsman took us through her training program ahead of the notoriously tough one-day race. The Dutch rider’s preparations shifted through the week from intense efforts to put more focus on her nutrition so that she was strong both physically and mentally on race day.

 

 

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As race day nears, preparation becomes more acute. A good night’s rest is crucial to performing at your best. Gains aren’t just made in the day but through the night too, a well-rested athlete is an athlete ready to perform to the best of their ability.

 

 

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Race day

The morning of a race can be a nervous affair. It’s the support staff’s job to put everything in place to help the riders perform, from directors preparing team radios and studying race maps to swannies mixing bottles and filling musettes. 

Like LeBron tossing chalk into the air pre-game, every rider has individual routines they go through. Sprinter Arvid de Kleijn competes with a nasal strip that adheres to the Dutchman’s skin around his nose and pulls it up. This prevents de Kleijn’s anterior nasal aperture from collapsing, resulting in a greater and more stable supply of oxygen when racing. 

This additional oxygen is not only a benefit to a rider’s muscular strength and endurance but on a small scale, prevents them from mouth breathing that often leads to a sore throat. The jury is still out on if nasal strips make a huge difference in high-level performance but even if they simply just provide a placebo effect, that can have a huge impact on a sprinter’s mentality

“My bags are all sorted, so I can find my stuff really easy and I make sure I know everything about the course and have a plan for the race,” says de Kleijn. “When the weather is below 15 degrees, I put heating cream on my knees and then wash my hands off.”

Arvid de Kleijn applies a nasal strip.

Our riders and our directors work together to plot out the key moments of the day. The daily team meeting is fundamental to planning the day ahead and using data to focus on key areas of the stage. From road gradients and surfaces to wind direction, no stone goes unturned when preparing for a race. 

 

During

Making sure the riders eat and drink enough in the heat of the action is a paramount concern once the race is underway. The difference between getting the correct amount of fuel onboard and that missed feed bag is stark. 

Swannies map out the best spots to feed on the roadside, making sure that when the riders need nourishment they are ready with a musette or a bottle.

 

 

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After

A cyclist’s day-to-day performance relies on how much time and effort they put into fueling and recovery.

In the moments immediately after the finish, athletes are handed a recovery shake by the soigneurs. As Kaia Schmid explains, this has a profound effect on the recovery process.

 

 

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Once the riders return to the team vehicles, they utilize Thorne’s NSF Certified for Sport recovery products such as Meriva 500-SF, Catalyte and Super EPA to help their bodies maximize recovery and rebuild in time for the next effort.

Preparation for the next race then begins as soon as the last one is in the books. The cycle continues with peaks and valleys throughout the season.

Reflect

When the dust has settled and our athletes are driving away from the finish, there is always time for reflection

After finishing second on the opening day of Ruta Del Sol, Stephen Bassett had a moment to reflect on what he had done off the bike to improve his performance on two wheels.

I think this is coming as a result of sorting out a lot of my off-the-bike stressors,” Bassett explained. “Just being comfortable with living here and within the team. I just got a permanent apartment in Europe and things like that do make a big difference.”

Then by the time the alarm then goes off the next morning, our athletes are ready to take on their next event as they continue to follow this cyclical process to reach their full potential.