Fuel for short races (1hr or less)

Trying to find studies/research about any benefit from taking on nutrition for short races of around an hour or less. Had a discussion with some buddies talking about the upcoming CX season and the topic came up about whether you should carry a bottle of drink mix or water. I always carry a bottle half filled that I’ll take a big swig halfway through, then toss. Others believe there is no benefit from this.

I vaguely remember some studies on the podcast that showed some benefit from sugar even in short duration events, and even just swishing sugar in your mouth gives a boost, but I’m having trouble finding any actual studies.

What are your thoughts about sugar in short events like this?

I personally don’t take a bottle with me for TTs (up to 40K) and its not an issue. I would say a majority of riders I see don’t ride with bottles either. I will usually stay well hydrated during warm up. Occasionally I will slam a caffeine gel 20 min or so before I start just in case.


This is what I recommend for any cycling race 45-70min, especially where drafting may be a factor (ie less aero penalty for bottle carriage).

No reason not to take advantage of keeping blood sugar and blood volume elevated by consuming something in the first 75% of the race.


I don’t put a bottle cage on for road races under an hour (unless it’s insanely hot). I don’t carry anything in sprint tris either, though I’ll take a quick swig of Skratch from a bottle in transition just to keep the mouth fresh.

No need to fuel those efforts, IMO, but there is some research that even the taste of sugar can provide an RPE/mental boost to short term performance.

I don’t use a bottle either for 25m TT or less. Even for a 50 if it’s cool (less than 15C) then I won’t bother - big bowl of porridge, coffee, 800mls of energy drink and I feel fine. That said I did a 50 last month that reached 30C by the end…just about got around on 400mls of drink in my one aero bottle and 800mls before hand…world was going a bit hazy in the last 3 miles though!..oh and whatever you decide …I assume that a chuked bottle is retrieved there are littering rules now…even in the world tour! :grin:

It’s a looped CX course so they’re always easy to find. I wouldn’t toss out on the road.

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I’m legitimately curious about the cx rules regarding tossing a bottle now…

I’d imagine it’s fair game if you toss it in the pit?

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can’t imagine there’s anything preventing you from tossing anything off course. During a rainy race I tossed my sunglasses to a nonracing teammate who was spectating.

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I’ve never specifically asked the race directors but also never been told anything otherwise in the years I’ve been racing. I do my best to toss in a spot close to but off course and I always go pick it up. Up until this year though even UCI allowed tossing bottles. But I imagine my local races won’t care much.

I’ve also never raced big regional events, it’s all local stuff so they’re usually a bit more relaxed about stuff like that. Same with hand-ups even though they’re “not allowed.”