We know training for the Whaka 100 can be tough - whatever distance you're doing. So we've got some epic advice from our nutrition partner CLIF to help you with training, recovery and even event day performance.
The more you train, the more important your pre- and post-workout nutrition and hydration becomes. With bigger demands on your body, you require more nutrients and fluids for peak performance and fast recovery. This also prevents hunger during your activity, sudden energy drops, and excessive weight loss from sweating.
So now you know what to do and not to do, in theory - what does that actually look like for your Whaka 100 training and event day?
CLIF recommend eating a few hours before your activity - this should be foods which contain carbohydrates to charge your batteries. Protein and fats are helpful too, but they take longer to digest.
CLIF tell us - "a great option for pre-workout fuel is CLIF BAR® or CLIF® Nut Butter Filled Energy Bar. Both bars are expertly designed for your pre-workout needs and deliver an ideal balance of long-lasting carbohydrates, fat and protein from wholesome, organic ingredients (like whole grain oats and nut butters) to provide sustained energy." CLIF recommend fuelling up with their bars 1-2 hours before exercise.
Food isn't the only type of fuel we need to consider when training and riding the Whaka 100. Easy to forget is hydration!
As you exercise, get plenty of fluids and electrolytes to replace what you sweat out. CLIF tell us that, as a starting point, to aim for 400 – 800mL per hour, but you should adjust according to how much you sweat. Try a mix of water and hydration powder, such as Nuun, to help replace key electrolytes like sodium and potassium.
When you’re exercising for more than an hour, be sure to fuel up with 30 – 60 grams of simple carbohydrates every hour to deliver quick energy to muscles working and in motion. Products like CLIF® SHOT® ENERGY GEL and CLIF® BLOKS™ ENERGY CHEW are perfect for this as they are designed to provide the electrolyte sodium and fast-acting carbohydrates. CLIF recommend consuming water and these foods every 15-30 minutes.
You've just finished a tough Whaka 100 training session, or maybe the Whaka 100 itself... so what's next?
You have a 30-minute “recovery window” — use this time to enjoy something that has both carbohydrates and protein to help your body restore, replenish and rebuild after exercise. It’s most important to take advantage of this “recovery window” if you have another big riding day the next day. If you have a rest day tomorrow, don’t worry about sticking within that 30 minutes, but be sure to refuel after!
Look for foods or beverages that contain; 10-20 grams of complete protein to build and repair muscles, the electrolyte sodium to help replenish what was lost in sweat, and moderate amounts of carbohydrate to restore energy stores.
Ideal for this, products like CLIF® BUILDER'S® have been created for those hard workouts both on and off the trails. The provide carbohydrates and 20g of complete plant protein with essential amino acids to help repair and build muscle. Available at the Whaka 100 Expo Zone, Nuun hydration is also a great option, containing four key electrolytes, including sodium, to replenish what’s lost while you sweat!
Thanks to CLIF for putting together this awesome article on training and event nutrition - make sure you check out their stall in the Whaka 100 Expo Zone!
An event as tough as this one needs an equally tough partner. The Whaka 100 is stoked to welcome Isuzu Utes New Zealand to the MTB endurance event’s family of partners.
Joining as presenting partner for 2021, Isuzu Utes New Zealand will move up to becoming full naming rights partner in 2022 the largest mass-participant MTB event in the Southern Hemisphere.
In this week’s Rider Series, we caught up with Lara and Robert Comeskey - a father and daughter duo entering the Sotheby’s International Realty New Zealand Whaka 50 for the first time. Lara was also the youngest ever female Karapoti Classic finisher - how awesome!
Even though they’re both from Wellington, Lara, aged 14, actually started mountain biking in the Rotorua Redwoods - training for the Whaka from the young age of 6 (even if she didn’t know it then)! Falling in love with “Dipper and it’s smooth, flowing rollers”, Lara went on to enroll in WORD in Wellington aged 7 and still rides with the organisation.
Seven years on, Lara’s dad Robert might be chasing her down the trails rather than the other way round but they still ride and race together around Wellington. This year however, is their year for the Whaka 50km race.
Not only can nutrition and hydration make or break your race day, but we’ve actually heard that one of our Whaka100 athletes - Cati Pearson - knows a thing or two about how you can use it to get the best out of your performance. Not only is she a NZ registered dietician, she’s also been racing in the Whaka100 since 2014. So who better to guide us through this seemingly complicated topic!
A bit of background first. Cati Pearson, a Rotorua local has been riding her bike since she was 12. You might have seen her in her younger years as she “worked/loitered” at Planet Bike from the age of about 14 before progressing into high performance teams, even attending the World Championships for Triathlon.
Of course, we know mountain bikes are where it's at and so did Cati: ”Once I returned to mountain bikes I never looked back”. This in fact, led to her winning her age group in the Whaka 25km in 2014 before building up through the event distances, even winning the amateur women’s 100km in 2020. With that, Cati returns this year battling with the Elite women!
So, let’s get straight to it - we know a lot of people are a bit unsure of how to get the best from their nutrition and hydration. We sat down with Cati to get her advice both in the lead up to an event and on the day itself.
Q - Do you have any hard and fast rules we should be following in the months leading up to the Whaka100?
Like strength and endurance training, nutrition is a discipline you need to practice, it’s not just a ‘grin and hope thing’ you can start on race day. Get into a routine early of practicing eating on the bike, finding how you plan to carry your food and fluid, and what you can tolerate.
Be honest about training sessions intensity and length – short/easy trainings (less than an hour) don’t need any specific fueling during, or any fancy protein afterwards. We have plenty of energy stored in our muscles for small easy rides.
For bigger, high intensity rides, try to eat at regular intervals throughout the training session. Don’t wait till the end to refuel. Give your body consistent energy by eating during training sets.
Q - Should we be eating differently on days that we’re training and days we’re not training/recovery days?
Not really, no. Your ‘base meals’ (Breakfast, lunch and dinner) should stay the same but you should plan pre- /post and during snacks to specifically fuel your training session (where appropriate).
Q - What about hydration? Is that important too?
Hydration is definitely important. We all need different volumes and a mix of water vs electrolytes depending on how sweaty we are!
Try to weigh yourself before and after a training ride to work out how much water you lose. This can be a good indicator for how much you should drink on the bike. Plan your rides around drinking fountains and water stops to ensure you get enough fluid in.
Dehydration has a huge role in recovery and can affect our appetite, making us eat more (especially carbs) after training.
Q - What can happen if we don’t eat enough during our training?
Under-fuelling can lead to overeating between training sessions, delayed recovery, poor performance and increased risk of injury. Some people like to under-eat during training to help “lean up” for races however this often leads to the opposite effect!
Q - Race day - we’ve made it this far - what are your top tips for nutrition? Are there certain types of food you do or don’t eat?
Your main nutrition focus during endurance events is carbs! That’s what fuels your brain & muscle so what we want to replace at regular intervals, set a watch reminder or km reminder to let you know when to eat – you can’t rely on hunger cues during exercise.
Choose carbs based snacks like; muesli bars, sandwiches, boiled potatoes, lollies or any specific sports foods like gels and bars! Make sure you take more than you plan to eat – have options and extras in case you are out longer than expected
Q - What about race day hydration?
f you find it hard to eat on the bike you can use a carb based electrolyte to get in your extra energy. Make sure you drink – if the weather’s not so good, it’s easy for people to forget to drink but dehydration increases the risk of cramping – and you don’t want that. If you don’t like water, it's fine to get all your hydration from electrolytes, so find one that you like (whether carb based or not) and drink that!
Q - Do we need to fuel differently if we’re doing a longer event - such as the 100km or Miler? Presumably a pocket full of jet planes won’t suffice?
For any event over about an hour, your nutrition should be the same – just bigger amounts. If you are planning to be out over a meal time (e.g. lunch) you may want to choose a bigger snack to have over that period – things like a sandwich, hot X bun, creamed rice etc. If you are just eating lollies or gels, you are more likely to get taste fatigue and stop eating so variety is key!
Q - Is there anything else you want to add about the event, riding, final words of wisdom?
Practice makes perfect – when it comes to nutrition and racing! Never have anything new on race day, it's not fun having to duck into the bushes for an emergency loo stop at 75km!
Be careful with use of things like pre-workouts (Editor - pre-workout is similar to coffee but is a supplement normally only used in sports) and caffeine – these are risky for gut upset especially in endurance exercise, where blood flow to your digestive system is reduced.
If you’re reading this and have any further nutrition or hydration questions for Cati, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions Cati - we’re looking forward to seeing you at the Whaka!
Resilience, mental strength and motivation! Our final interview in our Team CP series we have Clair Scott - President of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club.
Clair is tackling the Whaka 100 for the first time and is a newcomer to endurance training, endurance sports and not just riding for the beer and cinnamon scroll.
In this recap, Team CP catch up with Clair as she takes us through her top tips for starting training, why she’s doing the Whaka 100 and what all this has to do with the Redwood’s First Response team.
This is an awesome episode whether you’ve entered the Women's 10km, DCA Architects Whaka 100 Miler or anything in between. You can see the entire episode on Team CP's Facebook.
Give it a watch and get ready to feel inspired!