It should go without saying that a 12 Hour mountain bike race stresses the body. That’s common sense. But what isn’t common knowledge is how your body is going to respond. There are general tips (e.g. drink plenty of water, take in additional calories days before the race, etc.), but every person reacts differently to the stresses of an endurance race based on fitness, physiology, preparedness and experience. Heading into my third season of the 12 Hours of Temecula race series, I’m improving in these areas and (queue bad LeBron James quote) “have taken my talents” to the kitchen to make my own race day food.
I can’t speak for others, but after some bad experiences, I know that my digestive system can’t process much solid food for these long days on the saddle. My body just doesn’t send the blood and energy to put my digestive system to effective work in these events. Which is a problem, considering upwards of 4,000 calories is consumed/required for this event!
In prior races, I have eaten pre-made PB&J sandwiches (which I love and happily eat for workday lunches) but have found that it doesn’t lead to success. Eating them mid-race with another 30 miles and 4 hours to go, PB&Js sit in my stomach like ex-mafia-henchmen-turned-informants do on the ocean floor. Same goes for other “bulky” food. My subsequent laps were slow as my legs and stomach were at war with one another. So I’ve since turned to natural and easy to digest foods like fruit and rice and am racing better because of it. In short: I can eat all types of goo and processed foods on shorter rides but need natural foods on endurance rides.
For all the cyclists reading this, I’m sure you’re now aware of Scratch labs and the men behind it, Biju Thomas and Allen Lim. In addition to using their “Secret Drink Mix” (again – all natural ingredients), I turn to their amazing cookbook “The Feed Zone Cookbook” for inspiration and insight on how to keep my body fueled and legs spinning (fast – hopefully). In scanning through their recipes, I knew I wanted to make something that was 1) easy; 2) portable; and 3) light but filling.
Eureka! The Banana & Rice Muffin:
- 2 cups cooked white rice (I use calrose sticky white rice)*
- 2 eggs
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice or potato flour
- 1/4 cup milk
- pinch of salt
- Optional: 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract &/or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or nutmeg (I use cinnamon)
- Heat oven to 325 degrees & lightly grease muffin tin
- Combine rice, eggs, banana, brown sugar, & flour and blend together. (I use a hand blender) Slowly add milk to make thicker batter.
- Fill muffin tin hallway with batter. Bake 15-20 minutes or until centers are firm. Muffins will not rise much (true).
- Let cool completely, then use knife to loosen muffins from pan. Store in the fridge in a sealed container.
- 1 muffin has 77 calories; Fat 1 gr; Sodium 36 mg; Carbs 15 gr; Fiber 1 gr; Protein 2 gr
*Note = I forgot the recipe calls for 2 cups cooked rice. I originally made 2 cups of uncooked rice so I was left with 6+ cups of cooked rice! No bother, as many of the recipes in The Feed Zone Cookbook call for cooked rice so we’ll explore some new recipes!
This past weekend I ate these without any ill effects on my digestive system and performed great, even late into the race as my lap times were very consistent. Often, in long races, eating becomes a chore in-and-of-itself and is done purely for energy and not enjoyment. I actually looked forward to eating these as the brown sugar and banana provided me with enough sweetness (I lean to the sweet side of the sweet/savory spectrum) and the sticky rice provided the “meat” to bite into. I passed them out to teammates too and I suspect at the next 12 Hour race in June our team might have it’s own baked goods sale we’ll have so many!