Preparation is key for OCBC Cycle riders who fast

Anita Abdul Gani agrees that sleep plays an important part in her preparation.
Anita Abdul Gani agrees that sleep plays an important part in her preparation. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANITA ABDUL GANI

He will be taking part in his maiden OCBC Cycle later this month and, coincidentally for Ahmad Adib, the 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 during the May 11-12 event at the Singapore Sports Hub, the 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."

The 27-year-old added that 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."

Getting sufficient rest is also crucial, he added.

 Ahmad Adib will be eating clean and having a higher carbohydrate and protein meal like rice with chicken breast meat or salmon to prepare for the ride.
Ahmad Adib will be eating clean and having a higher carbohydrate and protein meal like rice with chicken breast meat or salmon to prepare for the ride. PHOTO COURTESYOF AHMAD ADIB

Likewise for Anita Abdul Gani, 44, who agreed that sleep plays an important part in her preparation.

"During the fasting month, we have less sleep because we have prayers to perform 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.

Anita will be covering the 23km route as one of the road marshals for the hand cyclists taking part in the Straits Times Ride, a non-competitive category of the OCBC Cycle.

She said: "You will need to train without hydration. 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. To cope with that, I would rest and nap after the event."

Parimala Sivaperuman, sport dietitian at Singapore Sport Institute, shared some tips for those who will be fasting during the event.

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

"This helps them to get into optimal activation state for the ride. Additionally, when exposed to intense heat, use cooling techniques such as a cold towel on the head and neck. Wearing appropriate clothing also allows better dissipation of sweat and promotes cooling as well."

More information can be found at www.ocbccycle.com.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 05, 2019, with the headline 'Preparation is key for OCBC Cycle riders who fast'. Print Edition | Subscribe