Its Day 2 and by now Penny Barker is now into full endurance cycling through the desert! Temperatures are reaching, and exceeding 45 Celsius! She so far has covered around 500 miles and had only a few hours’ sleep. The Race Across America (RAAM) is well and truly up and running.
It’s vital at this time that she is giving her body everything it needs to continue working and functioning in the best way possible. The three main areas she needs to focus on are:
Nutrition, Hydration and Body biomechanics.
Penny is averaging 256 miles a day… to complete this she needs to be consuming 8000 to 9000 calories a day! This also must be the right balance of vitamins, carbohydrates and fat etc. This is a fine science that Penny has down to a T! Trying to eat correctly is tricky when it’s scorching hot and you are trying to eat whilst cycling. Penny has found that puré food is the best way to get it in! However some of her blending choices are questionable… I will save you the ‘horror’ combinations!
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Penny is also losing a vast about of fluid due to the extreme heat and the physical exertion. This needs to be replaced again with a fine balancing act of water and electrolyte solutions.
We all need to stay hydrated but there is a lot of confusion about hydration and how much fluid we should be drinking.
Fluid requirements are individual and vary greatly, and are effected by age, gender, body mass, physical activity levels and climate (please don’t try and match Penny’s fluid intake unless you are cycling through a desert!). So us ‘normal’ people should be consuming 2.5 litres of water for men and 2.0 litres of water for women per day as recommended by the European Food Safety Authority. They state that:
Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical functions, normal cognitive function and normal thermoregulation.
Penny is currently having physical treatment for her joints, muscles and tendons. Being stuck in one position for long periods of time is not ideal for the body. Penny is spending around 20 hours a day sat in an aerodynamic bike position and so is having physical care, by our senior chiropractor in Reading Zoë Lofthouse DC, at some level twice a day. Zoë says, “It is similar to being stuck behind a desk in a bad sitting posture for 40 hours a week! We know that this can cause lots of different physical issues including neck pain and headaches, back pain and repetitive strain injuries. So again you may not need treatment twice a day like Penny, but getting checked by you practioner regularly can help keep aches and pains away and keep your body functioning the best it can!
Keep your fingers crossed for further updates from Zoë, and all of the Penny Barker cycling team!
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