Cycling: Preparation is key for those fasting during this month's OCBC Cycle

Ahmad Adib, who is taking part in the 42km Sportive Ride in his maiden OCBC Cycle later this month.
Ahmad Adib, who is taking part in the 42km Sportive Ride in his maiden OCBC Cycle later this month.PHOTO: AHMAD ADIB

SINGAPORE - He will be taking part in his maiden OCBC Cycle later this month (May) and coincidentally for Ahmad Adib, this year's annual race also falls during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan for the first time.

To ensure he is physically ready for the 42km Sportive Ride he has signed up for, the 27-year-old, who is a regular cyclist, said preparation is key.

"The morning is very important because I won't be drinking for at least the next 10 to 12 hours so I will overcome that by eating clean, that's the most important thing for me," he said.

"I'll consume a more high carbohydrate and protein meal like rice with chicken breast meat or salmon to prepare for the ride."

He added he would load up on water the night before and have healthy snacks such as fruits before going to bed.

But, beyond nutrition, Ahmad, who is enrolling at Murdoch Kaplan University in August, also emphasised the importance of pacing himself during the ride.

"Maintaining a proper cadence is really important. If you burst too early, you'll burn out very easily. Cycling is more of an endurance sport so it's better to maintain a good speed throughout until the finishing line."

Getting sufficient rest was also crucial, he noted.

Fellow OCBC Cycle participant Anita Abdul Gani, 44, agreed that sleep is an important part of her preparation.

"During fasting month, we have less sleep because we have prayers to do the night before but, a restful sleep is more important than the number of hours of sleep. Even a good power nap is enough to help me feel less lethargic," said the teacher, who had signed up for previous editions.

As a road marshal for the hand cyclists taking part in this year's Straits Times Ride, she will also cover the entire 23km route.

Anita said: "You will need to train without hydration prior to the ride. If you do it for the first time during the ride, your body will be in shock so the training is important.

"After the ride it will also be a struggle for some people to go without water because it's still early in the day so to cope with that, I would rest and nap after the event."

Parimala Sivaperuman, sport dietitian at Singapore Sport Institute, shared some tips for participants who will be fasting during the May 11-12 OCBC Cycle at the Singapore Sports Hub.

She said: "Low intensity warm-ups lasting not more than 10 minutes is useful to reduce 'sleep inertia' in fasted participants who plan to ride soon after waking up.

"This helps them to get into optimal activation state for the ride.

"Additionally, under intense heat exposure during ride, cooling technique such as cold towels on head and neck, promotes perceived cooling sensation.Wearing appropriate clothing also allows better dissipation of sweat and promotes cooling as well."

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