John'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.
John used a variety of products to avoid flavour fatigue whist hitting ~95g of carb per hour, to secure his third win at the Gravel Worlds. Having worked hard on training his gut to tolerate more fuel, it’s great to see a ~46% increase in his average hourly carb intake when comparing this event to John’s 2021 race (~65g/h to ~95g/h). This will have helped him to maintain a very similar power output to the 2021 race (318w NP to 322w NP) for an hour longer in 2023.
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.
Given John’s losses are High (1,310mg/L), nailing his hydration strategy becomes especially crucial when it’s hot and/or humid.Learn more
John knows, having undergone sweat rate testing and taken a Sweat Test, how much sweat he loses per hour, and exactly how concentrated that sweat is. During this race, John was sweating and therefore accumulating a hydration deficit for an hour longer than he had done in comparable events in years gone by, which is likely why he felt thirsty at the end. John's power output remained constant throughout the race, and he was able to finish strong. This suggests that even if he was slightly dehydrated in the final part of the race, he likely hadn't surpassed the 2-3% bodyweight loss which can lead to a decline in performance. John was also happy to report no cramping during this race, which is something he has suffered with in the past.
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.
While the absolute value of John’s intake meant he was just over the general recommendations for caffeine intake during the race, the ~750ml of coffee he had alongside breakfast would mean his intake was likely more than 750mg for the day. Because caffeine has a half life of four to five hours (meaning half of it is left in the bloodstream after this time), John’s intake during breakfast would have impacted his performance during the ride. We know that the ergogenic effects of caffeine have diminished returns after hitting the top end of the guidelines, which means John could afford to dial back slightly in future events if he experiences any undesirable side effects.
How John hit his numbers
Here's everything that John ate and drank on the day...
John's weapons of choice
John's full stats
There is some confidence in the quantities and brands of products consumed but the data may lack specifics (e.g. volumes specific flavours). A high number of estimations have been made and the room for error is moderate-high. There may also be the possibility that some intake has been grossly over- or under-estimated.