Fuelling for a two hour race on a beach

I’m taking part in Battle on the Beach in Wales in a few weeks time and have been trying to work out a fuelling strategy for before and during the race.

It will take me approx. 100-120 minutes, the course is pan flat so I will be going full-out for pretty much that entire time. How should I fuel for this event?

I’m used to using reasonably high levels of carbs during activity and I often take on 90g/per hour on hard rides. However, do I need to focus more on pre-race card-loading as the event is so short? How can I optimise this to avoid running out of energy towards the end of the race?

An added factor is the that the intensity of the event means there are very few opportunities to eat/drink. I would use drink mix and maybe some gels, but getting those in your mouth whilst blasting around single-track and through sand isn’t easy. Last time, I found I was taking on nearly as many grams of sand as I was carbs! Maybe a small CamelBak with carb mix might be a good option?

Carb loading is typically for longer events due to the fact you can’t replace carbs used versus intake. So, the longer you race the bigger the deficit. You can carb load if you’d like for possibly marginal gains, just test out your strategy weeks in advance. During the race I wouldn’t change what has worked for you other than possibly skipping the gels. Go with liquid only fuel in either bottles or hydration pack, whichever you prefer.

If you can preride the course or portions of it, look for spots where to drink. This is what I’ve done for my XCO races.

Your body can only hold a certain amount of stored energy. For me I find consuming a slower releasing carb mix an hour before an event allows it to release its energy during the event. For a 2 hour or less event I would take in a caffeine gel at the start with some liquid. Then normal fueling if possible during the event.

How did you find the event? I rode it this year and hated the course. Very different to previous years with the amount of swimming/running/wading involved.