My Twin Lakes menu.

The Leadville 100 is a classic test of endurance and resolve, and when you set a personal record at this event it’s very special.  Earlier this month I wrote about my nutrition plan for this year’s race, and in doing so forced myself to think critically about my goals.  After finishing in 10 hours and 20 seconds last year it was easy to set my sights on a sub-9 hour finish, but what was harder was to devise a realistic plan.

In the days leading up the event I worked with Jane Rynbrandt, my coach at CTS, to break the race into manageable chunks.  When I looked at each section of the course I realized that the plan taking shape could work.  However, there was just one other element I wanted to guarantee–to finish the second half stronger than the first.

The course on Saturday was in perfect condition after thunder showers the night before, and the temperature that morning was ideal. Unfortunately, as the day unfolded the headwinds increased and the return trip to Leadville was more challenging than expected, and my sub-9 hour finish seemed to be threatened.

Nutrition plan meets reality

Everyone will have a slightly different nutrition plan for a given race. My plan called for 1,500 calories to the top of the Columbine climb. The reality? I consumed roughly 1,450 calories over 4 hours and 33 minutes. Roctane Drink: 720 cals; Roctane Gel: 600 cals; Chomps: 50 cals; solid food: 80 cals.

Nutrition for the second half of the race dropped off from my plan by about 400 calories as I consumed less Roctane Drink in favor of plain water. Total calories consumed for the return trip to Leadville were approximately 1,100.  Roctane Drink: 480 cals; Roctane Gel: 400 cals; Chomps: 50 cals; solid food: 160 cals.

All smiles with the Queen of Pain at the finish.

Overall, I consumed 2,550 calories, or 285 calories per hour, and drank approximately 8-9 bottles over the 9 hours of racing. Not terribly bad as the range for me is between 300-350 calories per hour.  I felt I had good energy throughout the race, and definitely had the ability to push hard the last 12 miles and finish strong–the 9 hour time cut motivated me to “race” this last portion of the course.  The nutritional components I attribute most to my success on Saturday were Roctane Drink and the addition of salt capsules that we’re currently testing in the field. The salt capsules supplemented me with an additional 2,660 mg of sodium and 2,375 mg of chloride. This pending Roctane product kept my muscles free of cramps, particularly during the final 50 minute push toward the finish line into Leadville.

Setting a Personal Record 

My supportive coaches from CTS, Chris Carmichael and Jane Rynbrandt.

Finishing in 8:56:35 is sweet, and receiving the gold and silver Leadville belt buckle is amazing, but the element I feel best about is my ability to race this 103 mile course with negative splits: the first 50 miles completed in 4:34, and second 53 miles completed in 4:22. To finish a race of this magnitude with a kick makes you feel like you’ve done something special.

I am now in Breckenridge, CO riding some amazing single track as I recover from Leadville and continue to test product and explore my limits as an endurance athlete. I look at bike riding and racing as a way to see the world and experience the landscape. Thanks for following my journey, and be sure to check back to see what I’m up to next. Remember, how you fuel is key to your success.


3 thoughts on “Nutrition Plan Meets Reality

  1. Brian, great job out there! Nice writeup. After doing my first Leadville I’m already planning my second, nutrition being at the top of my agenda. I started out with a knot in my stomach, and couldn’t gauge myself at the beginning. I was over hydrated for the first half of the race, and couldn’t tell if I needed more or less food and/or gels. I cracked with 20 miles to go. I need to figure out the right balance between regular water, energy drink, gels and chomps.

  2. Great job and write-up Brian. The “big buckle” is hard to come by at Leadville, but you did it! The perfect conditions, minus the afternoon winds, certainly helped.

    I too completed the race and finished in 8:30, and I too fueled my race with Roctane drinks. My goal was to drink all my nutrition, which I did, using the Roctane drink mix and Roctane gels mixed in to get my 280 calories per hour. I supplemented additional water when I felt like I needed a bit more fluid for hydration. I love the Roctane products and felt like they were a big part of my success at Leadville this year. I plan to use them next year as well when I go for my 2,000 mile buckle.

    Happy trails,
    Todd Murray

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