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Oliver Evans discusses the input, and output, of food

Not one to shy away from what really happens in a race, the rider talks about the ins and outs of grub

Oliver Evans

by Oliver Evans

Oliver Evans
Oliver Evans always eats a gel before a crit. But, he doesn’t always enjoy it. Image: Bryanna Gillespie

What’s your diet like?

Bill Smitheringale, Winnipeg

It’s really nothing special or strict. I’ve been vegetarian all my life, and stopped eating large portions of dairy a few years ago. I’m sensitive to dairy and eggs, but will eat baking that contains either or both because I have very little will power and can always convince myself that I’ve earned it.

Focusing on weight and diet is something that has certainly contributed to my mental discomfort. I love food. I love to cook and I love to eat. Cycling is very power-to-weight focused, so it isn’t difficult to become obsessed. I haven’t weighed myself since February though, and kind of just eat what I want. I find it much easier to eat healthily when you aren’t concerned about it.

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How do nature breaks work when you’re racing?

Cara Longworth, Victoria

Ask Tom Dumoulin. Just kidding.

To be completely honest, I have yet to rid myself of anything other than calories, my will to live and whatever comes out my nose during a race. However, while it is uncommon to do anything more than pee during a race, relieving one’s self is less than uncommon.

Often you’ll see guys on a descent standing on their bike while turned toward the shoulder peeing. If coasting isn’t an option, teammates will line up in a bit of an echelon with a hand on their teammate’s hip, pushing him along while he goes about his business.

At other times, etiquette will come into play once the race leader’s team has decided that they’re content with the day’s break. In this case, the leader, or a respected rider in the peloton, will call a pee break, and the race essentially neutralizes. Guys will stop and pee quickly before regrouping. I’ve only experienced this in races that I can barely hold on to, so I’ve been far too afraid to stop and usually just seize the opportunity to eat as many gels as I can before the pace picks back up.

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I’ve also heard of instances where a rider will just go in his shorts if it’s pouring rain. I’m proud to say this hasn’t been me…yet.

What’s your favourite ride food?

Mom, Oli’s biggest fan and supporter

This would be the perfect opportunity for some sponsor exposure…if I had a nutrition sponsor. Anyone out there with a contact that wants to sponsor a rider…or a team!? Seriously.

Ride food is expensive. There’s a lot of good stuff out there. Caffeine gels are essential during races. Bananas are too. Race buffets generally have pancakes or waffles or some sort of pastry at breakfast. It’s pretty common to see a soigneur (maybe just ours) grabbing whatever she can get her hands on and then taking it up to her hotel room, wrapping it in tin foil, and then handing it to us two hours later through the window of our team car at 50 km/h.

I love to train with a banana or two, banana bread, peanut butter and honey wraps. Bars are nice, too, but you can get sick of ride food pretty quickly. Any moist, easy-to-eat and pocket-able food is great for riding.

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.