Pro tips to fuel your Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg 2023

Thousands of cyclists will put months of hard training to the test as they take to the streets for one of the biggest single-day cycle events on Sunday, 19 November, at the Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg.

While preparation is the key to a successful performance, every well-trained body needs fuel to perform on race day. We spoke to two elite Biogen-backed cyclists to find out how they fuel their efforts on race day:

Candice Lill, winner of the Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg MTB 2023 women’s race on Sunday 12 November, starts her race-fuelling plan the night before the race with a meal rich in carbohydrates.

“It doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, the simpler the better. I stick to foods that are low in fibre to avoid digestive system issues and foods that I am used to eating.”

The Seattle King Price Rola rider recommends options like rice, pasta or potatoes. “Try and avoid spicy, rich foods,” adds Candice.

For your pre-race breakfast, Candice suggests eating at least two hours before her start time. “This will give some time for the glycogen to reach your muscles, where it is ready to provide energy.”

She recommends keeping breakfast simple, sticking to options you’re used to eating, with carbohydrates the main focus for this meal.

“Don’t try anything new on race day. If your normal breakfast is oats, stick with that. I would add some peanut butter for some fat and protein to sustain me for longer.”

Eggs on toast, peanut butter and banana toast or muesli and yoghurt are all good options, according to Candice.

Biogen Iso-Whey Premium or Biogen Plant Based Protein (select the one that best suits your taste preferences and tolerability) added to oats or as a shake in the morning can also help to limit muscle damage during the race.

Reigning Absa Cape Epic and Cape Town Cycle Tour champion Kim Le Court starts her race day with a bottle of Biogen Electrolyte Plus on her way to the event.

Depending on your start time, you could wait minutes to hours before getting underway. It is advisable to top up your energy stores if a few hours have passed since breakfast.

“If you’re feeling a bit peckish on the start line, eat a bar or gel,” recommends Candice. “I would suggest the Biogen Energy Oats Bar or Biogen Energy Nougat Bar.

Kim, who rides for team Efficient Infiniti Insure and finished third in the Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg in 2022, relies on Biogen Cytogen Racing Mix to fuel her performance during the race.

“I find it effective to carry two substantial bottles with me on a race like the 947 Ride Joburg. One bottle contains my Cytogen Racing Mix, and the other has water.”

Kim uses the water to cleanse her palate, especially when it becomes sweet and sticky. If it is a hot day, she will also use it to cool down by pouring it over her head or neck.

Candice also relies on Biogen Cytogen to get in 80 – 100g of carbohydrates per hour during the race.

“This normally includes one small bottle of Cytogen, a Biogen Energy Bar and a Biogen Liquid Energy Gel every hour,” she explains.

“Immediately following the race, I have a Biogen Recovergen shake prepared and ready,” says Kim.

“This is crucial because there is a limited window of opportunity for your body to recover optimally. I aim to have the shake within 30 minutes after dismounting from the bike.”

Candice supports her recovery with the same approach by drinking a Biogen Recovergen shake within 30 minutes of finishing the race for optimal recovery.

“You need some protein for muscle repair and recovery, which Recovergen offers in a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio. This could also take the form of a snack.”

Candice and Kim say Strawberry is their go-to flavour for a tasty recovery shake.

Kim Le Court Professional Cycling Tips 2023
A few considerations

While general guidelines for nutrition and race-day fuelling apply, Kim says that offering universal advice is complicated. “Individuals react differently to fuelling strategies. The key is to find what works best for you.”

Candice adds that if you have not trained your body to absorb the amount of carbs at race intensity, it is ill-advised to try it on race day.

“Aim to provide a slow and steady stream of energy to your system instead of eating a lot all at once. My advice would be to have a plan for your nutrition and try to stick to it.”