Tips & resources

Cycling event preparation

11 hour wave leaders

Meet the team

Correct preparation before a cycling event is essential for performance on the day. Take a behind the scenes at Team Bicycle Network’s Kate and Justin approach their pre-event preparation in the lead up to Peaks Challenge.

11 hour wave leader Kate Peaks Challenge Falls Creek

Kate Penglase is the current Australian solo 24 hour mountain bike champion, part of Team Bicycle Network as an 11 hour wave leader and has a wealth of experience in preparing for endurance cycling events.

Justin is an 11 hour wave leader at Peaks Challenge Cradle Mountain

Justin Benson has ridden multiple Victorian Grand Fondos along with a number of Peaks Challenges at both Gold Coast and Falls Creek finishing in sub 9 and sub 10 hours respectively. Justin is an 11 hour wave at Peaks Challenge.


Pre-event on the bike

While the week of Peaks is definitely a tapering week pre the event on the Sunday, it still needs to include some high intensity, low duration efforts to keep the legs active.

One week to go!

Saturday (3–4 hours)

40 mins of low cadence moderate intensity climbing and easy spinning

Sunday (2 hours)

Social ride with mates


Rest day

Mid week

Tue (1 hour)

3 x 5 mins high intensity (85-90% max heart rate) and easy spinning

Wednesday (1 hour)

Easy spinning 

Thursday (1 hour)

6 x 30 sec hill sprints and easy spinning

Event weekend


Take it easy and enjoy your rest day!

Sat (45 minutes)

Pre-event roll


Peaks Challenge Falls Creek is here! You’re nearly ready to go…

“It’s important to keep the legs ticking over, so the body doesn’t forget what it has signed up for”

Nailing your nutrition

You can go into an event physically and mentally fit but nailing your nutrition in the lead up is equally important.

Friday and Saturday – carbs, carbs, carbs! 

Dinner on the Friday night, lunch on the Saturday and dinner on the Saturday night will all be about carbs. A big bowl of pasta, risotto or pizza are Kate’s go-to meals in the two days leading into an endurance event.

For breakfast Kate will be eating toast (white bread) with jam, a banana and an Up and Go (or similar, e.g. chocolate milk). In between meals on the Saturday, she will be constantly grazing on pretzels, some lollies, and will throw a bakery goodie into the mix for morning or afternoon tea.

Justin’s peanut and almond free vegan diet means he tends towards a lot of broad beans, rice and vegetables, with a particular love for roasted vegies in a light covering of olive oil and pumpkin risottos.

Keep a bottle close in the lead up alternating between diluted electrolyte (i.e. half mix) and water.

Kate's event day nutrition
Sunday – Event day!

On Sunday Kate’s breakfast will be toast (white bread) with jam, a banana and an Up and Go. This is followed by a DIY gel (see recipe below) 20 minutes before rolling off the line. Justin dials up some toast with cashew butter and jam, along with a banana for slow release energy. 

On the ride

A standard rule to help you with estimating your required carb intake is:

Required carbs per hour = 1g carbohydrate per kg of body weight

Kate gets her 45g of carbs per hour with a combination of the below

  • Chocolate custard and fruit jelly
  • DIY gels (recipe below)
  • Bananas
  • Muesli bars
  • Jam pikelet sandwiches
  • Turkish delight from the deli 
  • 700ml bottles containing 1 scoop of staminade and 2 scoops of maltodextrin

Justin gets 60g of carbs per hour as below:

  • A gel at the bottom of the hour
  • Electrolyte drinks I take on the quarters
  • An energy protein ball (recipe below) at the top of the hour.

This methodology ensures he either eats or drinks something every 15 minutes at least, and is easy to control and remember. 

“All of the hard work that you’ve invested into your training and preparation can come undone if you don’t eat and drink enough in the two days prior and during the event.”

Shhhh... It's a secret


Home-made protein balls

200g prunes or dates (or 100g of each)
200g cashew or macadamias
200g cranberries
50g dairy free dark chocolate
Scoop of arbonne pea protein powder
Dash of peppermint essence to your liking
Covered in coconut

Combine the dates, prunes, cashews, macadamias, cranberries, dairy free dark chocolate, arbonne pea protein and peppermint essence in a food processor. Roll into small bite sized balls before covering in coconut.  

They taste like choc mint and they’re easy to grab out of my pocket, and straight in the mouth. 

DIY Gels

2 x tbs maltodextrin, 4 x tbs sugar, 100-120ml water and lime juice to taste

Get the bike ready

Some final advice

Bike service

A bike service including new brake pads and new tyres is invaluable. Even if your brake pads or tyres aren’t fully worn, replacing these for an event like Peaks Challenge is definitely “cheap insurance”.

On the ride

Check the bike over, in particular the tyres for embedded pieces of glass or other sharp items (to avoid having to fix any punctures in the first 15km).

Make sure you have enough spares out on the course. A combination of tubes, CO2 and a spare connex chain link will be waiting for Justin at some rest stops. He bundles up what’s not needed at the lunch stop and puts it in a return bag for collection at the end while always having enough on hand for at least two issues to occur.