Cycling uphill is all about the power to body mass ratio or watts per kg as they say it in the cycling jargon. This year our Head of Science Dr. Tim Podlogar is getting ready for the British Hill Climb Championship taking place in the Peak District’s Winnats pass on the 31st October and this is the continuation of the story behind the scenes of preparation.
Two victories for Tim
Firstly, a quick update on the progress. Last weekend of September Tim planned to do a Hill Climb race near the Winnats pass and actually preview this climb as well, however, he was stopped by lack of fuel in the UK.
So, he found the next one next week when there were two races scheduled in Wales near Swansea on Sunday the 3rd of October. These climbs were somehow longer than most British climbs. And well – Tim won on both of them by a relatively big margin. The first one was Bwlch Mountain from Treorchy and the second one the Rhigos Mountain from Treorchy as well.
Tim’s coach Simon Cirnski comments on the performance:
So, nutrition. Tim’s body mass at the start of the project was around 64.5-65 kg after gaining a couple of kilograms after his injury in the end of August. Tim and HPC’s dietitian Blaž Grmek decided to try to shed the body mass by a few kg in order to improve the W/kg ratio.
Tim’s diet was planned so that carbohydrate availability remained very high before and during high intensity interval training sessions. This way he was able to properly execute the training programme prepared by HPC’s coach Simon Cirnski. At the same time Tim cut down on fat intake so that the overall caloric intake was too high. Tim was therefore allowed to eat lots of Haribo, rice and everything else that he loves eating. On the other hand, after such sessions and prior to lower intensity sessions, the food intake was relatively low with a focus on protein (e.g., Skyr). Aim was simple. Lower intensity rides could be primarily fuelled by fat that is stored in our bodies. Tim was able to get down to 63 kg in a few weeks. Then, his body mass plateaued as his recovery started to suffer.
The problem of a calorie restriction and thus carbohydrate restriction before training sessions, low or high intensity ones is the muscle damage arising as a result of low carbohydrate availability. And because the training sessions only got more intense and the qualifications were coming up, body mass loss simply wasn’t possible anymore. Hence Tim and Blaž decided to maintain the body mass and rather focus on executing the training properly.
Once Tim finishes with qualifications in the middle of October there will still be 3 weeks left to shed some more body mass for the final race and based on the training performance it will be decided on how much body mass he can lose.
The other thing that we get asked a lot is – what supplements does Tim use and recommend.
Not many actually… Tim uses Beta Alanine to increase carnosine levels in the muscle tissue that should end up helping him with buffering excess H+ ions that would otherwise be causing acidosis. Also, higher levels of carnosine should help with improved contractility in a fatigued state.
Another supplement that should help with performance of high intensity intervals would have been sodium bicarbonate. Tim used it in the past but due to the very unpleasant taste hated it so much that he cannot stand it anymore.
That’s it for now… We will definitely keep you up-to-date!