Not only are Veloforte providing the world’s most delicious cycling fuel for M2L this Sunday, but their creative director, Gareth, is riding too.
Having recorded the fastest course time back in 2017, he knows a thing or two about a successful M2L ride. We quizzed Gareth on his fuelling and general riding tips.
Gareth: “Fuelling is key to enjoying the ride and getting the best performance from yourself. I have done this event twice and didn’t eat enough the first time! I don’t want you to learn the hard way… as I did.”
“There are four feed stops during the ride, so if we break the challenge down into four bite-sized pieces (pardon the pun), it feels far less daunting.”
Set your alarm to ensure you have time to get a substantial breakfast on board. I always go for something like porridge or eggs on toast. Don’t overeat, as your body can only absorb so many nutrients at one time. So it’s better to eat little and often, rather than all in one go.
The first quarter is all about starting as you mean to go on. Hopefully, you will have tapered your riding leading up to Sunday (had a good rest), meaning your legs are fully recovered and desperate to go cycling. However, be careful. Well-rested legs want to ride hard — you need the confidence and discipline to keep it steady and conserve energy.
Think of M2L as more of an eating challenge than a cycling challenge, and you’ll be in the right mindset. I aim to eat 90g of carbohydrates every hour. To stay on track, I set a reminder on my Garmin head unit to say, "EAT" every 30 minutes (this really helps).
We climb through the Peak District during the first quarter of M2L. I prefer to feel a bit more “nimble” over this hilly section. Therefore, I will fuel on Veloforte chews, gels and hydration — as they are low residue on your stomach and easy to digest as they are made from fruits and natural ingredients.
As soon as we get through the Peaks, I’ll reach for a Veloforte Mocha bar, as it’s the perfect reward for all that climbing (for your mind and body). A Mocha bar has 37.2g of carbs, which are the primary macronutrient needed for M2L, and almost half of my hourly intake goal. It also has 10g of protein, which helps me feel fuller, and it’s important to get some protein on board throughout the day.
Before you know it, we will be at the first stop in Carsington Water (85km/52.2miles), where the Rapha H van will greet us with a beautiful espresso machine and an opportunity to restock pockets/handlebar bags. Try to eat something substantial, and stay on your toes.
If you sit down, the dreaded “cafe legs” will sink in, and it will be harder to restart. Remember to refill your bottles and mix some electrolytes to top up your sodium (after sweating it out through the climbs). Topping up your sodium will also help keep cramps at bay.
My favourite electrolytes are Veloforte Vivo, as I love the flavour, which encourages me to drink more, and it has 22g of carbs, 240mg potassium and 350mg of sodium.
Underfuel the first half. Pay for the second.
Every hour, you dig deeper into a calorie and glycogen deficit. However, stick to the 90g carbs per hour rule, and you'll be in a better position later in the ride. This is where the Veloforte all-day energy bars are my go-to. They deliver a delicious hit of 100%-natural, easy to digest high-performance nutrients.
The second quarter is still pretty punchy as we roll through Derby and into Leicestershire, so keep fuelling and keep the pace steady. Otherwise, the hills will sap away your energy. However, if you arrive at the second stop at Bosworth Battle Ground (153.7km/93.9miles) in good spirits, you’re doing something right.
It will be lunchtime-ish as we arrive at Bosworth, so stick to your body’s natural rhythm, and enjoy something savoury.
It’s all downhill from here… on paper.
However, you may be getting tired, and your appetite might be flagging. It can be easy to stop eating when you don’t feel hungry.
The Veloforte range has a fantastic flavour variety to keep fuelling fun: citrus, coffee, chocolate, red berries, ginger, fennel and almonds — to name just a few. So rotate your favourite flavour combinations to excite and surprise your palette.
If you really don’t feel like eating… drink your carbs! It is vital to stick to the “90g of carbs per hour” rule. Our chews melt in the mouth and taste so good that you’ll never get bored of them. Our gels deliver 22g of carbs, so keep sipping on their syrupy goodness (mix them into your water bottles if you need.
For an extra kick, reach for our Doppio gel, as it has 75mg of caffeine from guarana (if you’re a coffee fan, you’ll love these).
Once you arrive at Sywell Village Hall (219.1km/136.2miles), take some time to conduct yourself — take some deep breaths, refocus, and give your pockets/bags a quick tidy to remove all of the wrappers before you re-stuff your pockets with goodness.
You’ve got this. Ride slower if you need to recover, but just keep moving forwards.
Remember, our brains need glycogen as much as our muscles. Nutrition fuels a positive mindset, which is your most powerful asset. So eat yourself happy — whatever food or drink you are craving, satisfy that craving.
In this situation, I reach for our Fresco chews, as I love the flavour combination of lemon and mint — the cooling sensation opens up my airways, and the fast-acting natural sugars refocus my mind and body. Food is powerful stuff.
Need more motivation? Think about Spokes Cafe (313.4km/194.7miles), where the Veloforte team will re-fortify you with more of the world’s finest, most delicious nutrition, and offer any advice you may need to help power you forward to Rapha HQ.
Stay focussed. You are so close to the finish. As you enter Greater London, you’ll be greeted with traffic lights… The start-stop nature of riding in the city will eat away your energy reserves — as it takes a lot of effort to accelerate back up to speed. Keep snacking and keep sipping electrolytes! The sugars will keep your brain alert, and the electrolytes will keep the cramps at bay.
Congratulations. I know how hard this challenge is. Each time I have ridden M2L, I have thought, “Wow, that was amazing, but I never want to put myself through that again.” However, I keep coming back for more. The positives of this incredible achievement and the support raised for Ambitious About Autism conquer all.
As soon as you cross the line, reach for a recovery shake. Our rewarding thick and chocolaty NOVA plant-based recovery super-shake kick-starts your recovery by providing high-quality complete protein and essential carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen and deliver the protein to your muscles.
Now you can sip and savour the moment with your road companions. You will have a lot to talk about, stories to tell, and any friendships you have made during this event will last a lifetime — as I believe that riders that suffer together stay together.
Your mind and body will have built more resilience than you can imagine. Your next 100km ride after M2L will feel like 10km.
I hope you enjoy Veloforte as much I do.
Don’t forget to take advantage of your exclusive 30% Veloforte discount code (including free UK Delivery) to get stocked up ahead of Sunday.
Simply apply your code at Checkout: AAA-M2L-30
- Tags: Cycling