Energy for Event Day

By Larrissa Curvelo, Dietitian Specialist in Clinical and Sport Nutrition and in association with Cycle Superstore

A balanced diet is the foundation for good cycling health and fitness. There is an array of energy foods and drinks on the market for cyclists to take before, during and after cycling.

Energy Gel

An energy gel is essentially a concentrated form of sugars. They provide you with a concentrated hit of energy, which is generally simple to digest and absorb. Some gels available on the market contain extra ingredients like caffeine.

Top Tip: In general you need to take 20g of carbs every hour you are on the bike. Extra ingredients like caffeine helps delay fatigue.

Energy Chews

Energy Chews are small bite sized chunks of sugar, a bit like a jelly baby. They are simple and easy to graze on during training and allow you to spread your energy intake out a little more throughout the ride. They can be more useful on harder rides where you might not have too much time to take on board some energy while you are riding along at pace.

Energy Bars

An energy bar is bit like a cereal bar or flapjack and is made using simpler sugars so they can be easily absorbed and digested. They provide another concentrated hit of energy, but this time with a bit more substance and will fill you up with a little more than a gel on a long ride.

Top Tip: Will provide slow-release carbs from fibres and energy from fats like nuts.

Energy Drinks

An energy drink is one which contains simple carbohydrates within a drink. They provide you with not only those simple sugars you need during exercise to enhance performance, but water too, to enhance performance. They quite often provide you with electrolytes which will help the body retain the fluid you are taking in during exercise. You should take them during a cycle to maximise performance, delay fatigue and stave off dehydration.

Top Tip: Dehydration is one of the reasons for cramps, increase in injuries and reduced performance.

Recovery Products

Recovery products are taken post ride and can come in the form of pre-made drinks, bars, or powder, which are packed full of nutrients, minerals and protein, ready to help your muscles repair. Protein is important in recovery products as it speeds up muscle growth and repair, meaning most recovery drinks are more akin to a milkshake then an energy drink. They should be taken after you have completed your exercise training.

Cycle Superstore’s range of energy food can be found here

Cleaning Your Kit

In association with Cycle Superstore

Cycling clothing is every cyclist’s best friend. It keeps you warm during those cold winter cycles and keeps you cool during the summer months. It is made of high-performance fabric and is designed to channel moisture away from your skin.

When it comes to washing your cycling kit – treat it well and it will last.

Read The Label

Cycling clothing is expensive and somewhat delicate so treat it with care and follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions. If it is machine washable, use a delicate setting. Use a non-bio detergent and avoid fabric softeners as it will cause the clothing to lose its breathability and clog the fabric (especially rain jackets). As you will be washing it at a low temperature try to use a detergent that works at low temperature.

Some clothing manufacturers have produced their own bespoke detergent which is designed specifically for technical athletic clothing.

Zip It & Bag It

When it comes to washing your clothing try to wash it separately from your regular clothing. A pair of hard tumbling jeans or something with Velcro can cause damage to your delicate cycling clothing. Before putting them into your washing machine, zip everything up and turn inside out and put inside a mesh bag or pillowcase.

Doing this will help protect the print on the jersey and prevent loose zips damaging the rest of your cycling kit.

Drying Out

When it comes to drying your clothing let them dry naturally. Do not use a tumble dryer. Heat from the dryer can be a dangerous place for high performance fabric. If you have hand washed your kit, a great little trick would be to place the wet kit flat in the middle of a large towel. Fold the edges in so the garments are covered.

Waterproof Clothing Care

Only wash rain jackets when absolutely necessary. Over washing of waterproof gear will reduce its performance. However, it could be possible to restore waterproofness using a DWR (Durable Water Proofing) coating. There are several products available on the market that will re-proof your jacket. Some of them will clean and re-proof in one go and will need heat to activate them. Always follow the applications instructions. The garment should be clean and dry before starting this process. Be sure to avoid areas that are not fabric (eg. buttons and zips) and stand well back to avoid inhaling chemicals. Also be aware that some of products are flammable.

Cycle Superstore’s range of clothing care products can be found here.

To help you complete this year’s Wicklow 200, Cycle Superstore are offering 10% off any of their service options. The offer is valid from the 1st – 31st of May. You will need to present the barcode below as well as providing confirmation of your entry.

What to Wear on Event Day

In association with Cycle Superstore

The big day has arrived, you’ve put the training in – but what should you wear on the day itself?

Think of your cycling outfit like an onion (layer upon layer but hopefully without the eyes watering!). First layer is your base layer worn tightly next to your skin all year round. In summer the base layer will wick away the sweat and keep you cool, and in winter it will keep you warm without that clammy feeling.

Typically, base layers are made from either man-made fabrics (polyester) or natural materials (merino wool). Base layers with man-made fabrics are usually high performance in nature and aimed at warm weather conditions, when sweat management and cooling effects are important. Natural materials such as merino wool’s big advantage over man-made materials is that it is less likely to smell.

Cycle Superstore’s range of base layers, can be found here


When it comes to shorts, you have two options: bib shorts or waist shorts. Both have pros and cons. Bib shorts have two straps at the top of the short that go over your shoulders like braces securing the shorts in place, preventing chafing or saddle sores. This style of short is designed not to restrict your breathing during those lung busting cycles or press on your bladder.

Waist shorts do have their benefits. By having less material, they are more effective in keeping you cool and sometimes you just want the breeze up your back. They have the added benefit of being easier to remove for a toilet break (especially for ladies!). That’s not to say, they don’t have their issues. Some people may find them uncomfortable as they can push into the stomach in the bike position. In some cases, the waist band can soak up sweat which people may find uncomfortable against their skin. The biggest issue people may find is they are not guaranteed to stay in place, unlike bib shorts. Whether you choose waist or bib shorts, ensure you get a nice tight fit to minimise movement and friction.

When selecting shorts, you should pay as much attention to the chamois (the under-carriage part) as to the outside of the shorts. The chamois is made of cushioning foam or gel of varying density with a top surface that helps wick away the moisture and provides a soft feel against your skin. There are different types for male and female. Typically, male chamois are shaped to support the sit bones and to reduce pressure/ numbness while riding. Female chamois provide continues support through the central region and wider foam placement in the sit bone area. Most short manufactures will differentiate their chamois by color. Remember cycling shorts are designed to go ‘commando’ meaning there should be no underwear (or leggings) worn under the short.

Cycle Superstore’s range of bib shorts, can be found here

Cycle Superstore’s range of waist shorts, can be found here

A cycling jersey will keep you warm in cold weather and cooler in warm weather.  It will help keep you comfortable on the bike, prevent sunburn and give you a place to store most things you need to carry (banana, energy bar, packable jacket, coffee money, phone, and tissues!).


A cycling jersey will keep you warm in cold weather and cooler in warm weather.  It will help keep you comfortable on the bike, prevent sunburn and give you a place to store most things you need to carry (banana, energy bar, packable jacket, coffee money, phone, and tissues!).

Road jerseys typically have a longer back, shorter front and a higher neck shape and sleeves shaped to fit when in the bike position. We would recommend you wear a base layer underneath your cycling jersey to wick the sweat. Road jerseys come in different styles and cuts, and you can spend anything from €50 to €200 plus on a jersey. Look for quality such as YKK zips (you do not want zip failure while out) and minimal seams.

Cycle Superstore’s range of jerseys can be found here


Selecting the style of jacket you wear depends on the weather conditions. There are a couple of types of jackets – rain or just wind proof.  Decent rain jackets will have taped seams. Wind jackets don’t have taped seams. Check for breathability as you don’t want to feel like you are wearing a bin liner / boil in a bag!  Also check for packability. Can you fold it in into your back pocket or store it somewhere on the bike?

A windproof jacket’s main purpose is to keep the wind out. By doing this it doesn’t evaporate the sweat from your body that quickly and cool you down too much. Windproof jackets will feature a high collar perhaps with a fleece lining, a long back, and sleeves long enough to overlap gloves and seal out the cold. They will usually have mesh on the side and back for breathability.

Most if not all rain jackets will display a rain rating. This demonstrates how long the jacket will stay waterproof depending on the volume. Rain jackets will have a long back with a grippy seam on the bottom to prevent the jacket moving up your back. It will also have tight cuffs and high neck to prevent water rolling down your back or up your arms.  It should also be worn tight so you aren’t billowing in the wind.

Cycle Superstore’s range of jackets can be found here

Top Tips

Saddle Bag Essentials

In association with Cycle Superstore

You have reached the start line of the Wicklow 200, but what should you pack in your saddle bag?

Spare Tubes X 2

Always check the condition of your spare tubes. There is nothing worse than picking up a puncture only to discover the replacement tube has a tear or rip. Remember rubber perishes over time so make sure the spare tubes are fit for purpose. Do not forget your tyre levers and a mini pump. In recent years, CO2 mini pumps have become increasingly popular especially in competitive events. Their big advantage over traditional pumps is they inflate the tyre a lot quicker, meaning you get going again a lot faster. Learn how to use a CO2 cannister before you are on the roadside with a puncture.

The CO2 cannister is a must if you are using tubeless tyres and need to seat the bead of the tyre. To seat the bead properly, you’ll need compressed air to fill the area quickly. This is something a traditional pump cannot do. However, there is a downside to the CO2 cannisters. If lady luck is not on your side and you encounter multiple punctures or don’t employ the cannisters properly, you may end up running out of cannisters.

Range of tubes at Cycle Superstore

Range of Pumps and CO2 Pumps at Cycle Superstore


Another essential item for your saddle bag is a multi-tool. Try to have one which contains a chain breaker. This coupled with a chain connector/Powerlink/quick link will ensure you can continue even if you snap your chain. When purchasing a chain connector, make sure it is suitable for your group-set speed.

Chain Connectors at Cycle Superstore

Multitools at Cycle Superstore

A Rear Derailleur Hanger

Not the device you hang your clothes on but a bicycle part! This part is vital and if it breaks will spell the end of your event. The hanger is a sacrificial part located at the rear mech and costs in the region of €20-€40. It is designed to deliberately break to limit or prevent damage to the bike frame or other components. Each bike model has its own unique hanger, so the likelihood of mechanical support having your model of hanger is very remote. Your local bike shop will be able to supply you with one.

Other Tips

Always make sure you bring enough food and water for the event and make sure you refill your bottle when able to. Do not try anything new on the day, such as a new type of energy gel, a pair of cycling shorts or decide to use the event to break in new cleats. Also don’t forget the chamois cream.

All these items will be available plus loads more during number collection in Cycle Superstore. Number collection in Cycle Superstore will take place during the following times:

Friday 10th June between 16.00-19.30

Saturday 11th June between 10.00-15.00

To help you complete this year’s Wicklow 200, Cycle Superstore are offering 10% off any of their service options. The offer is valid from the 1st – 31st of May. You will need to present the barcode below as well as providing confirmation of your entry.

Wicklow 200 Ireland's Premier Cycling Challenge