Alan Murchison's scorecard
East District 100
Sunday 14th July, 2019
Within recommended ranges
Just outside recommended ranges
Significantly outside recommended ranges
How Alan hit those numbers
How Alan's hydration and fueling went...
- Alan Murchison is a former Michelin-starred chef who creates bespoke nutrition and food plans for athletes at the highest levels. He is also a committed amateur cyclist himself and applies his professional knowledge to his own cycling performance
- With that said, it was not surprising that Alan’s personal fueling and hydration strategy was A-class and well-refined based on his own experiences and needs
- Back in 2019, Alan competed in the East District 100 mile time trial just seven days after competing in the National 100 mile TT where he finished 14th (in 3 hours 56 minutes). Despite this, he had a great day out, finishing in an impressive fourth place in a time of 3 hours 36 minutes; a personal best over this distance
- Following the race he mentioned recovering really well; ‘I find if I follow this strategy I don’t suffer any DOMS and recover very quickly. Just three days following the race, I rode a power and course personal best over 10 miles’
- Alan has carefully refined his race strategy over time, adjusting it slightly for different circumstances, and so despite being a retrospective case study, we have very good confidence in the accuracy of these numbers
- Alan made sure to include sodium in his race strategy after suffering from muscle cramps at the Nationals the week before, from ~1 hour 40 minutes onwards. This drove home the importance of including enough sodium in his plan
- To do this, Alan preloaded the night before and the morning of the race with 500ml (16oz) x PH 1500 to ensure he started the time trial well-hydrated and with an optimal sodium/fluid balance
- On top of this, Alan added PH 1500 (Tablets) to the bottles he was already carrying containing his carb energy drink mix. We often get asked if athletes can, or should, do this and the answer is ‘it depends’. Context matters and so we wrote a blog to help athletes decide for themselves
- It was effective for Alan who drank an average of ~569ml/hr (~19oz/hr) across the race, which is a moderate and sensible intake for the intensity and duration of the race, and the milder than expected conditions on the day. Given that Alan was relying on his fluids for a big proportion of his carbohydrate and sodium intake it was important that he was drinking enough
- Taking into account the volume of fluid Alan consumed and his sodium intake, the relative sodium concentration of his bottles was ~1,300mg/L. Without Alan’s sweat sodium concentration or exact sweat rate it’s difficult to know whether he was under or over-doing his sodium intake, but we do know that Alan is an athlete who is susceptible to muscle cramping in high-intensity, prolonged races. Given he didn’t suffer with any cramp in this race, that’s a very strong indicator that Alan dialed in his intake very well
Quick Carb Calculator Recommendation
- For a race of this duration and intensity, the Quick Carb Calculator would recommend that Alan consume between 60 and 90 grams of carbohydrate per hour. Including the pre-race gel he had 30 minutes before the start, Alan was consuming an average of ~84g/hr, a very impressive feat when riding hard
- This is an intake that Alan knows from experience he can tolerate comfortably. He has, in past races, taken as much as 90g/hr and had no difficulties with gastrointestinal issues or discomfort (at least when also following a gluten-free diet in the acute race build-up)
- To help meet his fueling needs and stay consistent, Alan set a reminder on his Wahoo to prompt him to fuel every 20 minutes. This can be a good technique for an experienced athlete to drip-feed their system. Note that Alan has learnt that this interval of feeding works best for him and it is important to listen to what your own body is telling you
- The backbone of Alan’s carb intake was two carb-rich energy drink mixes as well as four energy gels spread evenly across the three and a half hour race
- This fueling strategy was clearly effective as Alan rode a personal best time, felt his energy levels were a 10 throughout and suffered no gastrointestinal issues. Alan also commented, “I did the last 10 miles of the 100 in a shade over 19 minutes so I was strong until the finish”
- Alan had a fantastic race at the East District time trial event, riding a 100 mile personal best time despite carrying some residual fatigue from the 100 mile Nationals event the week before
- In the Nationals, he used the same fueling strategy but neglected to add any additional electrolytes to his bottles or preload. Consequently he suffered severe muscle cramps before the halfway mark of the race and “a huge tail-off in power”
- In this event, the East District 100 miler, he commented that “the only thing I changed was the addition of Precision Hydration electrolytes into my protocol; in theory I should have been fatigued with two hard 100s in seven days, however I actually performed better in the second race”
- Alan expertly dialed in his carb, fluid and sodium needs to match the race’s intensity, duration, conditions and his own personal needs - a wonderful example of when things go right!
I did the last 10 miles in just over 19 minutes so I was strong until the finish. In theory I should have been fatigued with two hard 100 milers in 7 days but I actually performed better in the second race and the only thing I changed was the addition of PH 1500 into my protocol.
Alan's full stats
|Carbohydrate (g)||Sodium (mg)||Fluid (ml)||Caffeine (mg)||Relative sodium concentration (mg/L)|
There is good confidence in the accuracy of the data reported. An athlete feels that the numbers closely reflect what they consumed despite a couple of estimations which may carry some degree of error. The majority of what was consumed is recorded to a high level of specificity (most volumes are known through the use of bottles brands quantities flavours). The numbers are very plausible and align with previous data recordings (if an athlete has collected data previously).