Maintaining Strength and Endurance While Riding

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just drive by McDonald’s on the way to the track and grab an Egg McMuffin or two, wash them down with a hot cup of coffee and have the energy to ride all day? While some of you may be able to get away with this, most of us can’t. You will soon find as you get older your body requires more nutritious meals in order to maintain strength.

When doing any kind of “energy burst” activity, especially riding motocross, you need food that will give you strength for short periods. High calorie, energy food can easily be consumed between motos, for example a boiled egg or a small piece of grilled chicken. When I say high calorie I don’t mean high fat. A burger or hotdog from the concession stand might sound tasty but will only slow you down. Stay away from foods high in sugars like candies, cookies and sodas. Although it might sound a little cheesy, bee pollen is a great energy food. As a bonus it will help you if you have allergies. You can get it at your local health food store.

It is a good idea to start your day with something that will stick to your stomach, oatmeal is an excellent choice, add a banana or two to help muscles resist cramping. You are looking for complex carbohydrates like grains, pasta, potatoes, brown breads, bagels and high fiber breakfast cereals. Bananas are also good as a between moto snack as well as oranges which are very refreshing. Other easily managed, good-between-moto snacks are apples, pears, plums and strawberries. Ideally you want to eat in small amounts, keeping calories going in as you burn them off. Just don’t eat a big meal. We’ve all had the experience of eating too much, the feeling of your food being right at the back of your throat. This is a really bad idea before a moto. The likely result will be you at the side of the track hurling your guts through the small air vents in your chin bar of your helmet. Not a pretty sight! If you need to eat a large meal do so at least an hour before you begin your activity.

Calorie loading for Enduro riding/racing is much the same, although these events tend to last much longer than MX races so you will really need food that will help you sustain your strength. Three hours of pushing your body is not easy. And if you are racing there is no time to stop for a quick snack so you will need to make sure you have a good solid meal before you start so you have a reserve of calories you can tap into. A good meal the night before would be spaghetti and meatballs combined with a good night of sleep. A well rested body is essential for endurance. If you start out tired, the only place to go is down.

Besides eating nutritious food before, during and after events you can supplement with sports bars. Not the kind that serve beer and show the latest college football games on TV! I’m talking about sports “energy” bars. These bars were first introduced in 1986 by a Canadian athlete by the name of Brian Maxwell, he created an entirely new food category with them. Health food stores and super markets are filled with flavor options, there are so many choices in energy bars you could lose your mind trying to decide on which to eat. These are a great source of calories and will provide ample energy without being heavy in your stomach. If you are trail riding drop a few into the storage in your hydration pack and snack on them throughout your ride. At the end of the day you’ll be glad you did!