How fun was our first Day in the Life episode with Brian Davidson? Even as a vegan and an athlete myself, I learned a lot. Which is why we are doing this series- veganism works in different ways for different people and seeing this makes it more accessible. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback; there’s a desire out there to know more about vegans and how they do what they do!
Last week we caught a glimpse of how Brian eats and trains as he prepared for the Death Valley Double Century- a 200-mile time cycling event. Today’s show goes into Death Valley and follows the race. And have we got a treat for you! When we approached Brian about this project he was worried that his training and competing was too unstructured. We assured him that his style is just one of many and we want people to see that. He expressed that he wanted to do well in the 200-mile event because veganism is so important to him. He didn’t want to let us down. I’ll let the video speak for him and just say that he definitely didn’t let us down!
There you have it! Brian with his dates and liquid food was the first across the line after 200 miles, with the next racer more than 30 minutes behind! Check out the unbelievable results. So how does Brian do it? Here are his recommendations for riding or racing your first ultra-cycling, 100+ mile event.
Brian Davidson’s Tips for Your First 100+ Mile Bike Event
-Have a plan, but know it is okay to deviate from it. If we learned one thing from Brian it is this: Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not going to make or break your success.
-Start slow and build a base! Not only with slower speeds, but less frequency. Brian thinks cyclists start too fast and get burned out before they build a good base.
-Build up to longer, unsupported rides. Brian suggests you be comfortable with 100 miles on your own before doing a supported 200-mile event.
-Make mistakes. Brian has very little ego and was not scared to admit he had failed numerous times. More than once he was out on an all-day ride and hadn’t planned appropriately for the heat and needed to not only quit for the day, but find a ride home!
-Learn from your mistakes. Understanding yourself and what you need to do is a huge part of success in ultra-distance events.
-Aim for about 250 calories an hour. Many cyclists can go with very little food for the first few hours and may be unfamiliar with having to eat while riding. Aim for 250 calories an hour and adjust for heat and experience.
-Cross train. As we saw in part one with Brian, he does sit ups and push-ups and runs to cross train for cycling. With over 10 hours on the bike, non-cycling muscles get fatigued, so doing more than cycling in preparation makes you stronger and better suited for endurance.
-Do speed work only after spending many hours at a time on the bike. Brian said he only worked on getting faster after he was comfortable going for a long time. Then he does intervals and hill repeats to build strength and speed.
-Mentally prepare. In my own experience with ultra events, the brain wants to quit before the body needs to! Train your brain, while you train your body. Know that lows will come and be ready to work through them.
-Lastly, Brian uses some liquid foods in order to more easily process the thousands of calories he needs on a really long cycling day. There are commercially-available vegan options, but what Brian was using is a homemade version. More on that in an upcoming post.
And that concludes our time with Brian. Thank you Brian for being such a bad ass and letting us peek into your life. And for showing that you can be vegan and a damn fast cyclist! Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed this please share it with others!