One of the biggest challenges of an unsupported long distance ride is finding food and getting these 7.000 – 9.000 calories that you need every day. So how do I manage finding the right food in remote and exotic locations?
It’s very simple, I don’t find it and hunting for food is the single most important concern of my daily life on the road. It’s not the ultra light bike or the daily massage that puts the supported rider at such a massive advantage but foremost having a constant supply of energy bars and the right food.
At peak performance my body is trained to the degree that I can cycle slowly but consistently for months as long as I get my calories, although when I’m starving the body needs days to recover from it.
So here comes my daily nutrition from my Eurasia World Record:
In Europe I had infrastructure and mostly got the food I wanted. I normally started with oats or cereal for breakfast and than ate consistently on the bike. Mostly bananas, energy bars, nuts and dry fruits around all 20 minutes. At noon I stopped for a lunch break at a restaurant and got my pasta that was easy to find. More snacks in the afternoon and than a big plate of pasta together with a protein bar at my camping spot in the evening. Good and easy times but this changed the further east I got.
Bread turned into toast, restaurants into gas station fast food and energy bars into chocolate and cookies. As I avoided the big cities I bought my food from the village shops or gas stations that sometimes have bananas and bread but otherwise tend to specialise on chocolate bars and chips, not the food you want after 250 km on the bike
So I picked my favorites between the limited offer and basically had every day the same. Oats for breakfast and small stops, lots of Snickers bars during the day (I imagine that this was the most nutritious chocolate on offer) and whatever bread I could find in villages. It’s basically eating the wrong food all the time but it keeps you going as long as you get proper food sometimes. Hence, the rare restaurants along the Trans Siberian highway turned into a proper feast where I ordered 5-7 plates at every visit.
Eventually my body adapted to the food I found but I finished the record ride as skin and bones and needed a month to get back to a normal digestion and body feeling.
I try to be a bid overwheight before Panamerica Solo, though it’s tough when training eight hours every day. It will be interesting to see how my body manages 100 days of peak performance without the right food and this will have a big impact on my performance during the last weeks.
But going supported? Never! I enjoy the adventure far to much and those moments of hunger and misery are just a part of it. You can’t imagine how much happiness a simple dish in the middle of nowhere can give you :)