The Tour of California is a grueling eight-day stage race that attracts many of the top pro cycling teams from around the world. Although we like to think we are pretty good cyclists here at GU Energy Labs, we haven’t yet been recruited by BMC or Team Sky to join their ranks. But, just because we aren’t on a pro team, it doesn’t mean we can’t train and test ourselves like the pros do. That’s why a group of GU cyclists, lead by GU Energy CEO Brian Vaughan, tackled each of the eight stages of the Tour of California ahead of the riders in the Tour.
The long days and the compounded mileage over the eight stages create an incredible testing ground for the cyclists. While the stakes aren’t as high for the GU Crew as they are for the pros, having and sticking to an effective nutrition plan is an essential factor for a successful week. During each stage, the riders tracked what they consumed and when to help analyze their performance and effort. They used markers like body weight, blood glucose levels, and fatigue levels to determine how effective their plan was and make adjustments accordingly.
Stage 1: Covers 111.3 miles through the hills east of San Diego with over 7,000 ft. of elevation gain.
Stage 2: Starts in Pasadena and winds through the Angeles National Forest, 96 miles and over 11,000 ft. to Santa Clarita.
Stage 3: Heads 104 miles up the coast from Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara with over 9,000 ft. of climbing.
Stage 4: Continues north from Morro Bay to Laguna Seca, hugging the coast for a massive 134 miles and 10,000 ft. of vert.
Stage 5: Heads inland to Lodi, in the Central Valley, and climbs into the Sierras with a finish in South Lake Tahoe and a massive 13,000 ft. of elevation gain.
Stage 6: Trades distance for speed in a time trial on the flat roads outside of Sacramento.
Stage 7: Covers a similar route to Levi’s Gran Fondo, a favorite annual event here at GU, that features some serious climbing and incredible vistas.
Stage 8: Heads east through wine country and onto the levee roads of the inland delta to the California State Capital.
Nutrition Tracker: Riders carefully track their nutritional intake to make sure they are meeting their bodies’ demands for nutrients.