I learned a valuable lesson last week. You ride how you eat. Let me explain.
Looking at my Garmin I saw that I burned 9000 calories riding my bike last week. The majority of those calories were burned in a three day period. Yes, I realize that the Garmin calculations are not an exact science but the data does allow me to compare to past weeks.
Going back I find that this spring I have not burned more than 5000 calories during a single week period. So, last week I burned nearly twice as much energy as any week in months. Saturday afternoon through Sunday I was feeling it.
Starting Saturday afternoon I was weak. I labored to stand up and when I would start to walk my aching legs would about lock up and then let go as though they were buckling. All I wanted to do was sit down. This continued through Sunday as well. Now, Monday morning I finally feel as though I am coming out of it.
Why did this happen to me? I’ve ridden my bike before and burned over 5000 calories in a single ride. I think what happened was I did not eat properly.
It started on Tuesday with the Donaldson Center ride. I basically didn’t eat that evening. I rushed to the course after work and then rushed home afterward to relieve my in-laws who were watching the kids. Only a light snack followed.
Thursday was race day and I made that mistake of eating the cheese steak sandwich for lunch. Once again I didn’t eat much that evening after the race because I just didn’t feel like eating until very late. Friday was a 2000 calories ride. That evening I was already starting to feel the tiredness coming on and only ate a sandwich and some chips.
Saturday morning I wondered if I would be able to do the Hour of Power. I had a yogurt and banana before heading out on the ride. It was a great ride and I was putting out plenty of power. However, after getting off the bike and sitting to watch my son play baseball, I got hit with the lethargy.
I didn’t keep track of how many calories I consumed, but I think it is safe to say I didn’t eat enough. I’ve read that you need to eat before and during a ride not so much for the ride, but for the rides to follow. If you do not consume enough energy giving food during that period, your body will not have enough fuel to recover.
It is true that I managed to go several days without proper fueling. However, your body stores calories as well. You might be able to get away with it for a bit, but improper fueling WILL get you.
This week will be another calorie burner. I’m ready for it. It will be different as I am already planning how to meet the eating challenge. You really do ride how you eat.