Adding fuel to the fire

A few weeks back I had a rough experience at the end of a century ride. Usually I carry a little pack on long rides that has food, identification, and other miscellaneous items. That morning I left it sitting on the couch at home. Fortunately a friend let me borrow some money for the ride. We stopped at around mile 40 at a buffet restaurant. Usually I would eat pretty light and rely more on the food in my pack to get me home, but this time I overdid it some. I had a big helping of mashed potatoes, Salisbury steak, macaroni and cheese, and a ton of veggies. For the first ten miles after eating I had some weird stomach cramps. I was able to pedal through those eventually and managed a good pace most of the way back.

Then I hit mile 90 and SMACK — I bonked. Hard. All of a sudden I went from riding 16-18 mph to 12-14. On hills I was practically worthless, going all the way down to the lowest gear on an average-sized hill and struggling with it. My heart rate soared and I did what I could to hold on. Fortunately I had a good riding partner who talked to me and pulled me along. That last stretch took me nearly an hour and I was never happier to see my car when it was over.

After this experience, despite the unusual circumstances, I decided to get some help. I had been a longtime reader of They occasionally have a nutritionist post little tips about what to eat. Most of these tips are cycling-specific, but they could help anyone who is athletically inclined. After clicking around a bit, I found that this nutritionist named Kelli at Apex Nutrition was for hire. I signed up and this may have been the best thing to happen to my training yet.

Kelli conducted a thorough evaluation of my food choices and put together a customized, comprehensive meal plan. I thought my eating had been relatively healthy, and it is probably better than most, but she quickly pointed out some problem areas. She also gave me specific guidelines for how to fuel myself for rides. Her guides varied based on the type of ride and time of day. It took a little work to get these healthier (and yes, more expensive)  foods into my diet, but almost immediately I saw results. In the long rides I’ve taken since working with her, I have felt vibrant and energized throughout. I haven’t yet bonked, or even come close to this point, while I have been picking up the intensity and pushing myself harder. Not only have  I felt better on my rides, but I am riding considerably faster. Over this past weekend I found myself at or near the front of the pack just about all day.

Kelli also offers ongoing coaching, which I plan to take advantage through my training for Mitchell. She has already given me a battle plan for this weekend’s Marquis de Sade ride, which will the biggest challenge I have faced yet.

4 responses to “Adding fuel to the fire

  • lovingthebike

    Great to see your blog up and rolling. Thanks for the mention and thanks also for promoting Kelli. We are so happy to have her as one of the Loving the Bike (and Loving the Run) Teammates, and I’m glad she has been able to help you out.


  • Bryan

    Thanks for the email you sent Aaron. Kelli is great. She’s helped me too and I’m glad to have her in my corner.

    Super jealous of the Cervelo. Like you were, I’m riding an Allez but won’t make the jump to something nicer until I lose the weight.

    • aaronwest

      My situation is a little different because I’m trying to maintain weight while increasing muscle mass and fitness. But with this plan, I know that I could lose the weight if needed by dropping some calories.

      Keep it up. You’ll be at a good riding weight and on a Cervelo (or something like it) soon!

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