BWR: The Fuel

When it comes to cycling and racing, keeping up with nutrition often times gets overlooked or can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, I have a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from the University of Wyoming. While in Laramie, I was fortunate enough to work in the Human Exercise and Nutrition lab for three years researching vitamin D status in the athletic population. I love the nutrition aspect of bike racing! Being an ultra distance event, the Belgian Waffle Ride took a lot of nutrition planning; not only for the event itself but also for the days leading up as well as proper recovering after.


Hydration Station

I have been focusing on hydration starting last Sunday! It’s important to go into a long distance race properly hydrated!

Pro tip: put water in a BRIGHT water bottle like this orange Hyperthreads bottle. This will be a good reminder to drink up!

This can be challenging as a teacher because sometimes I have to go three to four hours before I can go to the bathroom. I try to strategically plan my bathroom breaks and drink water around those times. It sounds silly but if you are a teacher you get it!

In addition to water, I have also been drinking Gu Roctane mix throughout the day. It contains electrolytes so that I can keep everything balanced.

On the morning of the race I will drink my last bottle of water 2 hours before the race and then take small sips so that I do not have to go to the bathroom in the beginning. This is something I have experimented with and it works for me.

Carb Up!

Since Thursday I have been eating a lot of carbohydrates! This includes foods such as brown rice (within 24 hours of the race I will switch to white rice), quinoa, pasta, oats, sweet potatoes, etc. I will still include lean proteins and healthy fats. The variety of foods I eat will not change too much, however, the percentage that each meal contains will. There are a lot of different views on carbo loading and even though I won’t go to the extreme, I will still eat a higher percentage than normal.

Another thing to mention is that starting three days before the event I will eat less salads and raw vegetables (aka high fiber foods) to decrease my chances of getting sick or having gut issues. I haven’t decided if I will go for the waffles on race day or eat my usual: oatmeal with almond milk and some goodies.

No matter what there will be coffee from Backporch Coffee Roasters involved!

Race Time:

GU for It!

During the race I will aim for upwards of 90 grams of CHO (carbohydrates) per hour. I will want this to come from multiple transport systems, such as fructose and maltodextrin that are found in Gu products, in order to alleviate possible gut distress. I will use Gu Energy Labs gels, which contain anywhere from 20 to 24g of Carbohydrates, as well as Gu Chews.

My favorite flavors for long rides are Salted Watermelon and Birthday Cake! Because I would need to consume 4 gels in an hour in order to reach 90g, I will instead supplement with Gu Roctane drink mix (Blueberry Pomegranate), which has 17g.

Thanks to Transition Performance I started writing positive mantras on the caps of my bottles.

In fact, for the first two hours of the race I will likely only drink my CHO’s because I will be focused on making the selection and getting to the dirt in a good spot. I will carry the individual packets in my jersey so I can replenish my bottles throughout the race. Later in the race I will likely chug a Coke, too. It is the only time I drink soda and I often crave it on long rides! Sorry MMX, the tequila will have to wait until the finish when I partake in the #cincodemayonnaise celebration!


Another important part of fueling for this race is electrolytes. The human body has seven electrolytes that help with regulating nerve and muscle function, hydration, balancing acidity, among other functions. When the body has an imbalance you may experience extreme fatigue, dizziness, and every person’s worst fear: cramping.

Though the weather looks like it will be cooler (OMG, YES!), electrolytes will still be important in order to avoid these unfortunate events. I have never been to a sweat lab but I do know that I am not one of those riders who finishes with salt EVERYWHERE (think Larissa Connors 2017). This means that even though I will focus on electrolytes I will not take in extreme amounts.

I will take two Salt Stick Electrolyte capsules an hour before the race and I will carry two more in my jersey just in case. These Electrolyte tablets contain sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. Sodium and chloride are the main electrolytes lost via sweat although some research shows that it can be beneficial to replace the others as well, especially in ultra-distance events such as the BWR. In addition to the capsules, I will also have 125mg of sodium in the Gu Roctane gels. It is important to take fluids with electrolyte replacement! Speaking of fluids, I will aim to have 16-20oz of plain water per hour.

Keep it Simple

  • 2-3 hours before the race: eat breakfast (high carb, low fat)
  • 2 hours before the race: last bottle of water
  • 1 hour before the race: electrolyte capsule
  • Every hour during the race: 20oz of water, 20oz of Roctane drink mix, 3 gels or some chews, some sort of bar to get some kcals/protein/fat, carry two electrolyte tablets, Coke, maybe some random food

Race Hard, Recover Harder:

Ah, yes, I do also need to think about AFTER the race. While I will be enjoying a beer from Lost Abbey, I will start by drinking a recovery drink. My go-to recovery drink is a team favorite: plant protein milk, 1 scoop of vanilla Gu Recovery mix, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, and a touch of maple syrup. Try it, it is delicious! I will have this pre-made and in an ice chest so that I can consume it within the Glycogen Window (30 minutes after finishing). I will also eat as much as I feel like and whatever I feel like. I am guessing there will be pizza in my future for dinner because that is one of my favorite foods ever! For a couple of days after BWR I will consume a lot of protein… and calories in general. Also, I will focus on drinking a lot of water in the days after.

Proof that we eat all the foods! Jen and I love Rice Krispies!

All the HYPE for all the Weather!

Team Camp was in sunny Southern California in February. We each live in places with “real winter” and were stoked to ride sweet single track (not snow packed trails, ice roads and trainers) and working on our tans was pretty appealing. However, Mother Nature had other plans for us.  Our week in SoCal was during week three of torrential rains, mud slides, floods and even a day of snow at sea level. We are mountain bikers so we are not afraid to ride in the elements, and fortunately Hyperthreads has made our kit and accessories to tackle any conditions. Here is a little video showing our apparel strategy for chilly ride starts, sweaty climbs, rainy descents, and those moments when the sun does poke out of the clouds.

Team Camp 2019!

For us, part of the lure of being a team is actually being a team. There are few team options so most professional women mountain bikers are privateers which means they represent themselves and seek individual sponsorship. This is a solo path and can be lonely as well as daunting to progress in the sport without mentorship and comradery. Before we founded KS Kenda Women’s Elite team, each of us looked longingly at social media posts of teams at training camps and pushed back pangs of jealousy when we heard tales of team riders working technical terrain together and getting to test new product. Envy no more. In our second year as a team we had a training camp!

We met in SoCal for a week of riding together and doing all things bike for a week. We did many of the things we dreamed of at training camp: rode challenging trails, got in some serious saddle time, dined with sponsors, experimented with new equipment, laughed so hard addressing a trail mechanical you would have thought it was intentional, had photo shoots, video, drank lots of coffee, ate super healthy (and gigantic) meals, got a bloody knee, cleaned the series of impossible switchbacks, napped, and just savored being immersed in bike time with like-minded women. Here are some of our favorite moments:


We are so stoked we met Auntie Candy!!

With the dates chosen back in early fall, I have been looking forward to this Bikecation for a long time! My task was to have an idea of where we would be staying throughout the week. With Emma and Jen coming in on seperate days and the roads to my home in Idyllwild closed due to flooding, Emma and I decided to get a cheap hotel on Friday night. We went to Eureka! in Redlands where we ordered a meal and tasty beverage. The woman next to us gave us a hard time about being asked for our id. We ended up chatting with her for a while and found out that she also was a cyclist! While looking at a Motel 6 nearby, we asked her if it would be an okay place to crash. “No, you can’t stay there! Stay with me. I have plenty of room!” Emma and I looked at each other and simultaneously answered, “okay!”. Auntie Candy is now a dear friend. We ended up staying with her for a total of 4 nights and talked about so many parts of life. One of the neatest things that happened? We got to join her for a bike ride AND gift her a KS Kenda jersey to rep in Redlands! It was a hilarious beginning to camp and a fortunate happenstance that we were ID’d at Eureka! on that fateful Friday evening.


Team camp has officially begun!!

The Arrival! I was so excited for camp that I forgot to take my wallet out when I used Curbside Check-in for my bag before boarding my first flight.  This error left me sans a solid meal for 10 hours which, for an athlete, is the equivalent of 10 years. Nikki picked me up at the airport late in the evening and I was desperate for fooddddd. The best quick, late night vegetarian option was Del Taco. I asked if they had a rice and bean burrito with avocado. The speaker box guy responded that they had a “Chicken Avocado burrito that has rice and beans.” I asked if it could be made without chicken and then there was a long pause. When we said, “Hello, are you there?” the speaker box guy then asked if I had decided on my order. Too hungry to clarify the vegetarian-ness of the burrito, I just ordered it and hoped the chicken was omitted. Ze burrito was delivered and all was right with the world! I faintly remember Nikki asking me if I wanted to check for chicken but there was no time; hunger! I just took a big bite hoping for the best. My meatless choices were respected. Brain reengaged, it’s off to Candy’s (Nikki’s story) to reunite with the whole team.  All the excites!


Silliness in the heart of Citrus Country!

SoCal in winter means things in bloom, birds chirping, and citrus heavy on trees. Quite the sensory overload from the white of winter I live in. On day one of camp we were pedaling back to Candy’s on backroads after riding the flow trails at Grafton Hills in Yucaipa, and I simply could not resist stopping and picking up grapefruits that were all over the road.  I started to peel one and looked up to see Nikki, who had just stuffed two grapefruits under her jersey. Bike Barbie! I fell over laughing so hard.


Getting a group of our sponsors together at Pizza Port was a definite highlight of the camp!

Part of our decision to have the team camp in SoCal was because a good majority of our sponsors are located there. We enjoy the relationship aspect of running a team so for us it is very valuable to spend time with the people who give us tools to chase our dreams. On Tuesday we were fortunate enough to hang out with our KS Suspension family. We even got to eat dinner at the Trabuco Steakhouse, which cooks their meals using hardwood smokers! The night consisted of funny stories and even funnier pictures before leaving the restaurant. The next day, on Wednesday, we moved towards San Diego. After a slightly rainy but very fun technical ride at Elfin Forest Preservative, we drove to Carlsbad to join our friends at Pizza Port for pizza and beer! TASCO (and Top Rope Media), Wend Wax, Gup, and VeloFix-San Diego North were all there to join the fun. It was awesome to see people who have joined our squad chat with each other and exchange stories. I specifically remember looking around and seeing every person at our table talking with a grin on their face. Moments like these are ones I cherish and hold close to my heart. Our team has created a family and we are so stoked to have so many rad people in our corner!


Hike-a-bike is a part of adventure riding in Mecca Hills. This is one part where our non e-bikes ruled.

One day we were taken to Mecca Hills, by David Wood, our host in Palm Springs. This area features sand canyons, steep rock strewn hills, plenty of cactus, and choose your own adventure routes. Primitive riding is a rarity and there are few riders who would think several hours of this would be a good time. It was so cool that David wanted to show us around this gem of a riding area. Straight from the truck we ascended a slope with big step-ups and hairpin switchbacks. I am fit and pride myself on my technical trail skills, but David was gracefully linking the obstacles and pulling away from me while I was breathless and put a foot down on several features. I was beyond impressed with David’s riding and knew if I could just get on his wheel I would learn a lot, but that was a huge ask. He would patiently wait for us at the top of hills and I would catch his wheel for a bit but get blown off. We stopped for a snack and I really took a hard look at David’s long travel bike to try and figure out how it was an efficient climbing machine. Only then did I notice it was a machine! David was on an e-bike. I did learn a thing or two about technical climbing that day!  


Emma explaining the importance of keeping your elbows out and proper “windshield wiper” motion.

We didn’t let a rainy (aka torrential downpour) day ruin our chance to spend time on the bike and hang out! With trails too muddy to ride, we decided on a “Skills and Drills” day. We each coach mtb through NICA, regional teams, and private clients and thus each have different strengths as riders: Nikki is a master of riding technique, Emma sees lines where none should be found, and I excel at power and balance moves. We shared our drills and helped each other make changes or try something new. Yes, even professional cyclists need to strengthen the fundamentals. Sometimes I get self-conscious or frustrated with myself for not being able to do a “basic” skill and tend to shut down. This was not the case at all when riding with Emma and Nikki. When cornering on steep or technical terrain I am not as confident as I would like to be and tend to death grip the top tube with my knees. They were so supportive and helpful breaking down how to turn my bike before progressing the fundamentals to apply to challenging terrain. I walked away from the ride with the steps to turn my bike correctly and drills to practice, but most importantly all the “happy feels” and self confidence gained from being a part of a truly supportive and amazing team. Also, practicing controlled endos and bunny hopping was pretty freaking fun.

It was a wonderful week to spend as a team riding bikes in different areas of SoCal!

We had such an amazing time. It was hard to part at the airport. Instead of saying goodbye, we reminded each other we will be reunited at Sea Otter in just a few weeks!  See you there.