Big ride day

Big ride day

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As a complement to their guide to cycling nutrition for long rides, the Great Britain Cycling Team nutritionists give you their favourite recipes for big training days or long sportives.


On a day when you have a big ride, breakfast is key. You will be eating quite a large amount, so will need to allow 90-120 minutes before heading off. Don’t forget hydration and sipping on 500-750 ml of sports drink is great way to get some additional carbohydrates in too.


As the foundation of your pre-ride breakfast, porridge is hard to beat. Adjust the quantities to suit your requirements. Before a big ride, you should aim for 1-2 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of bodyweight.


This may seem a lot on top of the porridge but 4-6 hours of riding needs fuel. An omelette provides valuable protein and will help you to feel full longer.

On the bike

Remember the mantra of feeding on the bike, little, early and often. You will need 0.5-1g of carbohydrates per kilogram of bodyweight per hour depending on intensity and should aim to spread that over 2-3 micro feeds every 20-30 minutes.

Commercially available gels and bars are extremely convenient, but the cost can soon build up and homemade alternatives can be tastier and just as effective.

Rice Cakes

These rice cakes are a Great Britain Cycling Team and Team Sky staple and have been proven on the world’s toughest bike races.

Fruit and mixed seeds flapjacks

Flapjacks deliver a great mix of fast acting sugar, slower burning carbohydrates, some fat and, with the seeds, anti-inflammatory Omega 3 oils.

After the ride

Your immediate post-ride nutrition is the key to effective recovery. You are likely to be tired and hungry when you get home so convenience and prior preparation is essential. If you are away from home on a sportive, don’t fancy a full meal or are short on time, a recovery drink is ideal. You can use a commercially available mix, of recovery protein powder or a banana blended in 500 ml of milk has the perfect blend of carbohydrates and protein.

Fruity chicken curry

Real food is always better though and, if you have set off early, you will be back in time for lunch. This delicious curry has just the right balance of protein and carbohydrates to kick-start your recovery. Cook it the night before and then, when you get back from your ride, you will just need to heat it up and put the rice on while you shower. Freeze the other portions and start building up a ready to go stock of healthy meals.

Afternoon and evening

If you ensured you ate soon after your ride ended, ideally within half an hour, you shouldn’t feel too hungry during the afternoon. Focus on hydration and, if you fancy a snack, fruit, nuts, seeds or even a slice of your flapjack if you have got some left would be good to keep you going until your evening meal.


With a big protein hit, this jambalaya is an ideal meal for the evening after a big ride.


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