United Energy Around the Bay

Basic nutrition guide

As you get ready to take part in United Energy Around the Bay, hydration and nutrition are a critical part of your preparation — but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Before the ride – get your body ready

The day before

What to drink

Stay well hydrated the day before your ride by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Remember the recommended water intake is eight glasses (or around two litres), so try keeping a 500ml water bottle with you for the day and finishing it at least four times.

What to eat

Have a carbohydrate-rich meal for dinner the night before to top up your glycogen stores (the sugar your muscles use for fuel) and ensure your body can meet the energy demands of the ride. Many cyclists swear by a good bowl of pasta the night before an event, but you can figure out what strategy works best for you.

The morning before

What to drink

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. In addition to water, juice, hydralyte and tea will help keep you hydrated for the ride. It is (hopefully) going to be a beautiful spring day in Melbourne, and you will lose a lot of fluid on your ride, so now is the time to top up. 

Hot tip: With all that liquid, our advice is to take a strategic trip to the bathroom just before you leave. While we’ll have plenty of toilets on site, the queues can sometimes be long and there’s nothing worse than getting caught out! 

What to eat

On the day of the event, avoid eating a large meal right before you start. This may make you feel sluggish and lead to cramping. Instead, around 1-4 hours before the ride starts, have a small meal or snack of low-GI carbohydrates. Where possible avoid high levels of saturated fat and sugar. Some suggested foods include: fruit salad with low fat yogurt, baked beans on toast, a low-sugar museli bar, porridge or cereal/muesli.

During the ride – keep your body fuelled

Riding mantra: Eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty

United Energy Around the Bay is a fully supported bike ride, and there will be lunch and/or snacks provided throughout the day, depending on your ride distance.

The lunch is not intended to provide full nutrition for longer ride distances. In addition to what’s provided, riders are expected to adequately cater for their individual nutritional requirements.

If you are doing a longer distance, make sure you use our complimentary valet bags to stock up on extra food and if you get really stuck – there are plenty of shops along the route in case you bonk. 

What to drink

You will lose fluid through sweating during your ride so drink as you go. The
aim is to have no significant reduction in weight after exercise. It’s recommended that all riders carry two drink bottles – one filled with water and one filled with a sports drink, like Hydralyte or Gatorade.

What to eat

Make sure you eat every 45-60 minutes during the ride. You should know from your training rides how much fuel your body needs, but it’s often best to be cautious and eat more rather than less. Muesli bars, bananas and sports gels/bars, such as Winners, can be great for keeping your body fueled on the bike.

After the ride – help your body recover

To aid in a speedy recovery, planning what you’ll eat and drink after your ride is just as important as preparation.

Keep drinking water after a ride. Although you’re likely to have been sipping throughout the ride, you’ll continue to lose fluids during the recovery period so it’s important to combat any potential dehydration straight away.

Help your body during recovery mode by refuelling with a healthy snack containing
carbohydrates and lean protein within 30 minutes of your activity, such as a tuna and salad sandwich.

Continue to drink fluids throughout the day. If you’re going to drink alcohol, avoid doing so until you’re fully re-hydrated. Be aware that alcohol is a diuretic and can dehydrate you; it can also have detrimental effects on your recovery and can delay healing of soft-tissue injuries.

Enjoy a dinner that is high in quality carbohydrates and include some protein to aid in recovery.

And last but not least, relax and reflect on your achievement – you did it!

Grab a ticket by Sunday 24 July to score a bonus event jersey!

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