by Oliver Evans

Oliver Evans
Post-2016 junior national championships. Photo:Matt Boyle

How do you manage your caloric intake when training?

Currie Gillespie, Winnipeg

Every rider has different techniques, opinions and fears associated with food. Similarly, every coach or directeur sportif will have different sets of beliefs.

I don’t have eating down to a science whatsoever. Eating disorders in cyclists aren’t uncommon and I’ve decided to do my best to avoid becoming obsessive in an effort to prevent potential unhealthy habits. So, my response to this question isn’t an answer or advice, it simply reflects my eating strategies, which are unclear even to myself.

I have no trouble consuming enough to replenish what fuel I use. For me, the key is not to overeat. Overeating has been my biggest food-related challenge. Some riders will go so far as to weigh their food and add up their calories to ensure they aren’t eating too much. They travel with scales; one for their food, and one to weigh themselves daily. To me, those habits could lead to very unhealthy habits.

I eat the same breakfast every day before a ride: oatmeal with peanut butter, dried fruit, a sliced banana, and chia seeds if I’m feeling bougie. I might have a slightly larger serving or add more peanut butter on bigger days (I always add more peanut butter who am I kidding?). I’ll generally eat a bar (or equivalent) each hour on rides over two hours. I always start with a banana. You don’t want to under fuel on a ride, as you will either bonk or binge eat upon getting home and wind up eating more than you burned on your ride.

After a ride, I’ll do my best to have a relatively normal sized meal. This meal will have a source of protein and carbohydrates to help with recovery. The quantities vary based on my ride. Depending on what I have for a ride the following day, my serving size later on at dinner will sometimes be a little bigger.

If you have a specific diet-related goal, I would highly recommend working with a nutritionist or at least consulting with one.

What’s your favourite coffee shop you’ve ever been to?

Kelsey Unger, Winnipeg

This is a tricky question. I love a lot of coffee shops. I’m not going to name just one because I’d feel bad for leaving the others out.

In Winnipeg, I like Thom Bargen Coffee and Tea, Forth and Parlour Coffee. In Victoria, Fairfield Branch and Hide + Seek Coffee are my two faves. Branch comes first on bike rides though, as they have prime, safe bike storage on their patio. Hide and Seek is my Sunday coffee shop of choice, because they have waffles on Sunday.

What was your unluckiest race?

Scott English, Winnipeg

I’ve had a lot of bad races. I’m struggling to come up with one that stands out as particularly unlucky.

Junior nationals, however, does come to mind. Nationals was a race that I decided I wanted to win when I was a cadet. I raced it when I was a year too young to contend and finished in the top 20. I figured I’d be able to win the following year or worst case in two years. Winning nationals became an obsession.

The following year I crashed while training about a month before the race and spent nationals on a sofa recovering from my concussion. That year the course was hilly and suited my abilities.

In 2016, I was having the season of my life as a second year junior. I was consistently finishing on the podium in pro 1/2 races. I got carried away on a fitness high and didn’t rest as much as I should have. I was tired come nationals. I crashed on a training ride less than a week out and had a heavily bruised hip for the race. During the race, which was flat and didn’t suit me (sprint finish), I spent the day off the front, and before the last lap on my final attempt to get away, I was crashed out as myself and two other riders were establishing a small gap.

Some of this could be due to bad luck, but a lot of it comes down to poor preparation. I’ve always thought it was unlucky that the course I raced on in 2016 was pan-flat, as I would have loved to break away on a hilly course. But my focus shifted that season from my goal of winning nationals to the thrill of being fast in the early season. That was due to inexperience and I can’t blame it on bad luck. You can’t win every race.

Oliver Evans is a 19-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, who is currently based in Victoria. He races on the road with H&R Block Pro Cycling.

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