3 years ago by Emerson Oronte

Calories in, calories out

How multi-day events are about more than pedaling

A few nights ago around 3 am I woke up, got out of bed, and proceeded to eat a cheese sandwich. “Sandwich” might be a generous description, actually. What I really did was alternate between eating a few pieces of cheese out of one hand and a baguette out of the other. Not sure if there’s a name for this sort of thing. I’m open to suggestions.

My newfound 3 am snacking habit is very much a symptom of our team camp which drew to a close Sunday. In keeping with Rally Cycling tradition, camp was an affair not for the faint of heart. The rides were long, the pace not slow. If you really want the specifics you can check out Strava. As they say, a Strava ride is worth a thousand words (or something like that). To throw what hopefully amounts to another thousand words in the mix, below is a summary of the first seven days of camp.

Often in training blocks this intense one of my biggest struggles is keeping up calorically with everything we burn out on the road. In a world that’s constantly stressing weight loss and cutting calories, I know this predicament might sound strange but it’s true, at least for me. Perhaps I need a bigger stomach.

Perhaps I should learn to like pasta more. Or, perhaps, I should just suck it up and go for that extra bowl of rice at dinner even though I feel full. One thing many people don’t realize about bike racing, especially multi-day events, is that it can be as much of an eating competition as a sporting one. It can get a bit exhausting, honestly. In the past, I’ve come home from major week-long stage races, where my daily caloric burn averaged over five thousand calories a day, only to crave salad and a beer. Day-after-day of devouring a massive amount of carbohydrates will do that to you.

Another struggle with camps like this is not overdoing it. Even with only ten days to work with, it’s still possible to dig yourself into a ditch fatigue-wise that’s hard to climb out of. In years past I’ve definitely gone down that rabbit hole and it can be counterproductive. Proper training is about working hard…but not TOO hard (think of a bell curve). Maximizing the time to train with everyone without killing yourself is the whole balancing act, I guess.

All in all, team camp was a productive affair and it was nice to get out there and push it with the guys. Despite our best efforts though camp MVP definitely went to Clara Koppenburg, a new member of our women’s team that joined us for the week. She did a majority of the rides with us boys, including a six and a half hour day with over 12,000ft of climbing. Impressive. She also writes for a gardening magazine which is double points in my book.


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That’s the news for now. As for me, I’ll be racing a slate of one-day races starting with this weekend’s Cholet Pays de la Loire in France.

Thanks for reading,



Whether you’re coming to the end of a thirty-hour training week or sixty-hour work week, an audible pick-me-up is a certainty needed. This album can help.

For the latest updates from the road, visit Emerson’s blog.