Florian's headline numbers
Carbohydrate is the main fuel you burn when racing. Failing to fuel properly is a leading cause of underperformance in longer races.
Having completed most of the 2023 road cycling season by the time he arrived at this race, pro Lotto Dstny cyclist Florian’s gut was well prepared to tolerate ~120g of carb per hour. Knowing the temperatures would be north of 24ºC / 75ºF by the end of the race, Florian decided to take over half of his carb on board via his drinks. This was a clever strategy given the technical terrain on course in Veneto, which made riding one handed and taking gels more difficult than riding on the road. To gather all of this fluid, Florian planned his feed zones so he could pick up musettes containing bottles. With 29km (18 miles) to go, Forian dropped his final bidon of PF Carb & Electrolyte Drink Mix. Fortunately, the Belgian national team's coach was on hand to give him a replacement further down the feed zone, which was crucial as it meant Florian was still able to get ~30g of carb on board through the tough final section of the race.
Taking on board an appropriate amount of fluid and sodium is essential to maintaining blood volume and supporting the cardiovascular effort needed to perform on race day.
Whilst the absolute amount of sodium and fluid consumed per hour is important, it’s critical to consider these in relation to each other. This is known as 'relative sodium concentration' and it’s expressed in milligrams per litre (mg/L). How much sodium you’re taking in per litre of fluid is more important than the absolute amount taken in per hour.
Sweat sodium concentration (mg/L) is largely genetically determined and remains relatively stable. Knowing how salty your sweat is enables you to replace a good proportion of your sweat losses, which can range from 200-2,000mg/L.
Whilst Florian’s losses are on the low side, getting his hydration strategy right is still crucial when it’s hot and/or humid as his higher sweat rate in these conditions can result in significant net losses over the duration of a race.Learn more
Having had a Sweat Test at the start of 2023, Florian knows that he isn’t a particularly ‘salty sweater’, losing around 500 milligrams of sodium per litre of sweat. Conversely, he loses a fairly high volume of fluid as he has a high sweat rate. We considered this when helping Florian design his strategy for the race, deciding on a mixture of PF Carb Only Drink Mix (which was developed alongside Florian and his teammates at Lotto Dstny) and PF Carb & Electrolyte Drink Mix to proportionally replace what he would lose out on course in the heat. Florian also anecdotally finds the need for hydration increases when gravel racing because of the dust and dirt sticking to his skin, making it harder to sweat effectively and cool the body down. Despite drinking an average of ~876ml fluid per hour during the race, Florian still accumulated a significant deficit by the end and enjoyed a few cold drinks post-race to replenish his sweat losses.
Beyond the Three Levers of Performance (carb, sodium and fluid), caffeine is one of only a few substances that is proven to improve performance for most endurance athletes as it can help stave off mental and physical fatigue.
Florian's passion for coffee knows no bounds; he's so dedicated to perfecting his latte art that he invested in a professional espresso machine. Interestingly, he's discovered that this love for coffee also gives him an edge during intense one-day events like the Gravel World Championships. Throughout the race, he consumed enough caffeine to unlock the ergogenic benefits, such as a reduced sense of exertion and heightened focus. When you factor in the coffee he enjoyed with his race-day breakfast and caffeine's five hour half-life (meaning half of it remains in his bloodstream after this time), Florian's steady intake of caffeine throughout the race not only ensured that he nailed the recommended dosage but he likely reaped every possible benefit from the stimulant.
How Florian hit his numbers
Here's everything that Florian ate and drank on the day...
Florian's weapons of choice
Florian's full stats
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).