Welcome back for Part “Deux” of our series on fueling for success at this year’s 24 Hours of Moab, the U.S. 24 Hour National Championships. This time around, we’ll take a look at how Montana riders Clint Muhlfeld and Ben Parsons worked together and fueled right to win their first national championship.
Watching from the sidelines of my much less demanding four-man races, I’ve always thought that 2-man racing looks ridiculously hard, almost worse than solo in some ways. The catch with 2-man, 24-hour racing is that you are expected to race like a 4-man team, just without any recovery. Hammer’s ever-present fueling guru, Steve Born, took this into account and created a desert-proof fueling program for these two athletes. He set them up with HEED, Hammer Gel, and Endurolytes for the course and had a supplement cocktail ready after each lap. The interesting thing about their short time between laps was that there wasn’t enough time to take Recoverite. While the whey protein in Recoverite is great for rebuilding muscle, it wouldn’t be ideal for athletes going back on course within three hours. For this reason, Sustained Energy or Perpetuem was recommended on occasion to fulfill the protein requirement for longer events. Basically, as soon as Ben or Clint finished a lap, they wanted to do as much as they could to recover from their lap, while simultaneously preparing for the next . . . quite a tall order.
Steve’s expert advice paid off, and the dynamic duo were able to ride 10 laps—each! To put this into perspective, our 4-man team only lapped them twice, completing 22 laps on the same course. Having little explanation of my own on how to ride this much in one day, here’s what Clint had to say about the experience:
Ben and I worked as a team at Moab, setting a high pace in the first two laps and maintaining a winning pace thereafter. After two laps, we were neck-and-neck with the Honey Stinger® duo from Colorado. These guys were legit, placing fourth in the prestigious Trans Rockies in August. After each lap we fueled with Hammer supplements, as recommended by our fueling expert Steve Born. During each lap we drank HEED and popped several Endurolytes, and as we got off the bike we took a premixed concoction of 1 Race Caps Supreme, 1 Mito Caps, 2 Endurance Amino, 2 Anti-Fatigue Caps, 1 Tissue Rejuvenator, 1 Super Antioxidant, and 1 AO Booster—a recipe for success!
Quite a great success indeed, Dr. Muhlfeld! Always the multitasker, Clint is also a happy father of two, has a Ph.D. in Fish and Wildlife Biology, and is a Research Aquatic Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Glacier National Park. Teammate Ben Parsons, a firefighter and paramedic for the Whitefish Fire Department, is always on call for important mountain bike missions with Hammer Nutrition®. Ben, a few words please?
As Clint mentioned, we had our supplements dialed, and with the help of my dad and the rad boys of Shimano, our bikes and lighting were well taken care of, allowing us to focus on fueling and recovery. In previous 4-man races, I was able to just go out and throw down hot laps every time, losing some steam by the end of the race, but never feeling completely drained. This race took on a different character. On my first lap I went out and made sure not to get sucked into hitting the red. I felt great, put down a good lap, and felt like I could definitely have gone faster (if I wasn’t worried about the nine more laps I had to crank out). The second and third laps went great, uneventful, and would be followed up with some simple food and continuous consumption of HEED. However, I made the mistake of eating a little too much pasta around “dinner time” and went out for my fourth lap and nearly had to pull over. My legs felt terrible as well, and I definitely felt as though I had just lost steam for the rest of the race. Fortunately, I got back, recovered, held out on eating, and just went out for my next lap with HEED and Hammer Gel. This was where I discovered what worked for Duo racing. With only one hour of downtime between laps, I needed to minimize the amount of food I consumed while off the bike and only take in what I needed. For me this meant that per lap I consumed a whole bottle of HEED and 3 shots of Hammer Gel—definitely Espresso. Caffeine was a great friend and teammate!
Good work, Benny! I know it can be tough to hold off on the big meals, especially after four or five laps, but it needs to be done. Nobody races well on a full stomach; it just won’t happen. I’ve been in similar situations. If you overeat during a race, it can lead to a bad feeling in your stomach. You just have to wait it out and stick with the basics. At any rate, Clint and Ben crushed the comp in a very tough event, bringing home Stars-and-Stripes jerseys to the Flathead Valley. Great work, fellas!
The Chronicles of Moab, Part One: Fueling and Race Strategies of Four-man Racing
Breck Epic 2010