What to eat and drink: Dame Sarah Storey blog

Multiple Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey gives you some tips to help your riding in her monthly blog for Cycling Weekly…

“What is the best fuel for 90 miles as I am running a bit short in the last 15 miles?”

In my last blog we talked about how to increase cadence and making your pedalling style more efficient. So as we progress, don’t forget to go back and re-visit those hints and tips from time to time. As a rider, you have to focus on so many things and it’s easy to forget the little things that make a big difference.

What to eat and drink is a subject that many sportive riders get concerned about and if you get your nutrition strategy wrong then your whole ride can be ruined. Fuelling for a long ride takes good planning and should start the day before.

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Make sure you keep your glycogen stores topped up and don’t go hungry, especially the night before a long ride. Most importantly, eat plenty of carbohydrates that are released slowly into the blood stream (pasta, rice, etc).

On the morning of a long ride make sure you have a good breakfast, such as porridge or another slow-release carbohydrate cereal. Then, ensure you have plenty of food for your ride or alternatively know where you can stop to buy good quality fuel to minimise your load.

On a long ride you can never start eating too soon. Start nibbling from the first half hour and make sure you don’t go longer than 30 minutes without taking at least a small snack. Some of my favourites are brioche with jam, cereal bars, bananas and specially formulated energy bars.

Energy bars are very effective and there are lots on the market for you to choose from. Your fluid intake is also very important and it should contain some carbohydrate too. Keep eating and drinking throughout your ride with the general rule of thumb to be that you need to do so before you feel hungry or thirsty.

Finally, try out different nutrition strategies in training because everybody reacts differently so what others swear by may not suit you. Once you’ve found a strategy that works stick to it and do not change it on the day of your event. This will make sure you’re full of confidence and able to concentrate on reaching the finish line rather than worrying about running out of fuel.

Look forward to giving you more thoughts next month.


Dame Sarah Storey is the ambassador for the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Series. Etape Mercia (


) and Etape Pennines (


) are still open for entries and there are a limited amount of free places available in both events if you pledge to raise £250 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Previous blogs by Dame Sarah Storey

Increasing your pedalling speed