919 kms, eh ? Sure, some of the TFN participants are seasoned riders, and many have done 100+ rides numerous times. Even so, doing such distances across mountain terrain day after day is not something that one's body usually takes to kindly.
It was in this context that Dr. Chandra, the doctor of sports medicine at the Manipal Hospital, the official Medical Assistance Partner for the TFN, had organized a session on advice related to nutrition and fitness for the participants today.
About 14 participants attended the session today. It was great to meet fellow participants, many of them with impressive histories.
The first session was on nutrition - conducted by Dr.Jyothi Prasad.
Nutrition (We start with the Cake Festival!)
Dr. Jyothi started off with a gem of an analogy about nutrition for endurance sports - paraphrasing here - "You are like a sports car, you won't go far on and empty tank or do too well on cheap fuel". So eat well, eat often and rehydrate all the time.
The total energy expended must be replenished, and this mostly comes from carbs, proteins and fats, and fluids and salts lost must be accounted for as well. While the exact amount of calories expended varies a lot per person and with effort, the replenishment should follow a 70% carbs, 20% proteins and 10% fats guideline.
- about 7-10g of fat per Kg per day
- about 1.5-2g of proteins per Kg per day
The average Indian meal has enough carbs to take care of your needs, and more often than not you do not need supplements of any form.
Its a good idea to stack up on carbs the night before a long ride, and unless you have breakfast 3 hours before the ride begins, go with a not-heavy breakfast and keep munching on quick release carbs - sugars, juices, energy bars - every now and then.
Hydration is of paramount importance to avoid fatigue and keep performance levels up throughout the ride. Drink 400-600ml before you start, and 150-300ml every 15Fitness-20 minutes as you ride. Its important to keep repleneshing salts as well, so an electrolyte (Electral/Gatorade or even water with some salt and sugar) will do much better than plain water. Include salt rich snacks as well.
Biscuits, chikki, bananas found pretty much everywhere make for good snacks. Its important to eat regularly. Its also important to replenish carbs, fluids, salt after the ride, so you're all set for the next day as well!
Dr. Chandra has deep experience with sports medicine, and was with Machester United for a while as well!
We were initially introduced to the pre-ride issues - cycle fit techniques, riding positions, things to watch out for.
Its important to get the saddle height correct. One method discussed was
The correct fore-aft position of the seat :
Sit on the bike, with both pedals parallel to the ground. In riding position, a plumb line dropped from the edge of the knee should ideally pass through the axis of the pedal. Else you're putting too much pressure on the knee.
He also discussed the muscles that get used most while riding, and training them well for achieving symmetry and balance in effort during the ride. The gluteus - buttock - muscles are the ones that provide maximum strength to the pedalling motion. These were the ones we all got tested later as well.
The importance of chained kinetics and hence strengthening the other 'helper' muscles as well was also highlighted. Doc especially pointed out the impact of weak scapula - the muscles between the shoulders - that can cause neck aches and overall fatigue and imbalance.
Dr. Chandra assured us that the medical team travelling along with the riders would be able to handle all aches, pains, strains and cramps, and keep the riders going. There's also Magesh - who will be available for specialist sports massages as needed - for peace of mind and muscle!
He did ask the riders to lookout for out-of-the-ordinary symptoms inclusing excessive sweating, dizziness, loss of control lasting a few tens of seconds, numbness, and rest, and seek attention. A process for keeping emergency contacts handy, and clearly outlining the name, location, nature of the problem, as well as getting a clear acknowledgement from the person at the other end, was also spelled out.
We were asked to not lose focus on recovery after the rides - stretching, resting with elevated legs, a decent massage, icing sone properly were some techniques described. Proper food and even psychological rejuventation are part of the recovery process itself, as is a good night's sleep!
We then got our blood grouping done, and Ravi kept all the cards. A test to gauge the strength and balance of our buttock muscles was also done, and I will completely avoid getting into the details of the results of my specific readings here for evident reasons :)
We had a very informative session, and the confidence it inspired in us about being is safe, experienced hands and having acceess to excellent medical facilities will surely help in a much more fun ride.
Thanks Doc, thanks Manipal and thanks Ravi and the TFN organizers!
Look forward to a terriffic ride.