Three weeks on the road in Spain can be summarized in many ways and with various statistics. For instance, we covered 5849 kilometers by van, stayed in 5 different Airbnb accommodations, and consumed an indeterminately large amount of pasta, rice, potatoes, and tuna along the journey. The imprecision in tracking our food intake arises from our lack of diligence, although it’s something we probably should have done just to grasp the extent of junk food we consume while on the move.

Speaking of nutrition, however, our Spanish trip wasn’t solely about random grocery runs at the nearest Mercadona. It actually marked the first time we genuinely began to comprehend the intricacies of race-day eating, thanks to Neversecond, who undertook the daunting task of enlightening us on this subject.

Lorenzo joined us at The Traka and guided us in understanding how to optimize nutrition for the 360 km and 200 km races of Mattia, Frank, and Morgan. While the other riders, of course, preferred indulging in pasta with ragu and tortillas from the feed stations, we knew that striving for the best possible performance upfront meant making different choices. Studying nutrition in this context went beyond merely determining the consumption of x grams of carbohydrates per hour; it involved deeper insights. We asked Lorenzo how he worked with Mattia, especially for the 360 km race.

What was the starting point in crafting the feed strategy with Mattia? 

Initially, we focused on understanding the race comprehensively, considering Mattia’s dietary preferences, the logistics, and the different course stages. It’s a realm unlike any other in endurance sports, therefore collaborating with athletes like Mattia is undeniably stimulating and valuable.

 

Do the features of the course, such as climbs, descents, and technical sections, heavily influence the strategy, or is the focus primarily on understanding what to eat to maintain optimal energy levels?

The course terrain plays a crucial role in shaping the strategy. During The Traka 360 2024, athletes encountered a diverse route. Hence, we tailored our approach, alternating between solid foods, liquids, and gels based on their energy requirements and practical considerations.

What factors did you consider when advising Mattia on the optimal strategy?

Initially, I focused on estimating the duration of the effort and the expected energy expenditure.

Next, we analyzed the various phases of the race, balancing moments of probable aggressive moves with sections for energy conservation.

Then, we delved into the Feed Zone aspect together, considering both technical requirements and taste preferences, which are crucial for a race of such length. Adding the hydration concern to all of this, you end up facing a multitude of data and variables to address.

 

Looking back, are there differences in organizing an off-road endurance race compared to other disciplines? Did you gain any new insights or understanding from your experience at The Traka?

Honestly, I believe that no race can be compared to an off-road endurance event. The sheer effort required to sustain such high intensity for over 10 hours, combined with the rugged terrain, makes it almost a sport of its own. Let alone the fact of having fixed refueling points, but in a pit-stop mode, so everything has to be done pretty quickly.

This experience at The Traka has certainly opened my eyes to an evolving world, where there’s so much to be done and where logistical and technical planning (especially regarding nutrition) can be further improved, reaching levels comparable to professional road cycling.

Certainly, while a highly personalized plan remains the gold standard, what general advice would you offer to those tackling such challenges and aiming to fuel themselves effectively? 

First and foremost, I’d recommend utilizing top-notch products (Neversecond, naturally 🙂 ) and meticulously testing them during training sessions before using them in a race. Stay well-hydrated and plan your workouts strategically. Utilize available resources such as hydration packs, 1-liter water bottles, and Performance Nutrition. Break down the route into manageable segments and view each phase of the race/training as integral to reaching the finish line. KEEP EATING.

 

Talking about upcoming events, you’ll join us at Unbound Gravel. What are your expectations?

I guess we will dive into an extremely thrilling environment. I expect to discover a whole new realm, right in the homeland of gravel, alongside the world’s best athletes. I’m definitely pumped to tackle this new challenge.

Are you looking to take your sport nutrition to the next level? Neversecond might very well provide you with what you need and grant a 30% discount using the code ENOUGH30 at checkout.