Let’s set some guidelines. We’re talking about racing dirt bike enduros, which these days are anywhere from 4-6 hours long. If the one you’re racing is longer, take what’s written below and extend the per hour recommendations as needed.

Another note is all of these numbers and recommendations are guidelines. When it comes to hydration and nutrition, feel special, because we’re all snowflakes. So many factors come into play for the amount of nutrition and hydration your body needs, and your body is unlike any other. So take these numbers, get started, and adjust up or down as you get bloated (too much) or bonk (too little).

Download, print, screenshot, watch the video, and/or share!

1-2 Days before Race Day

“Carbo-loading” isn’t reserved only for the night before the race. You can add 100-200 calories of food, 20-40 grams of carbs, each day leading up to the event. The concept here is to top off your glycogen stores in your muscles and your liver for use on race day.

A cup of rice, a cup of potatoes, a cup of pasta, or two slices of bread are all examples of complex carbs that you can add to your diet, per day, leading up to a race.

This is also a great time to start eating more fruit and drinking more water. Fruit has a lot of electrolytes, making it the perfect ramp up snack during the days before a race weekend. You’ll also want to make sure you’re hydrating. Our bodies don’t store water, so we need to continuously replenish as we go throughout the day. 

If fruit isn’t your thing, you should do the hard thing and get over it. If you’re stubborn and choose to “not like fruit”, adding an electrolytes supplement like LMNT to 32oz of water to sip on throughout each day will work.

LMNT works for me. Use what works for you.

Race Morning

We want carbohydrates the day of the race, but we want to start staying away from foods with high fiber, fat, & protein. Bagels are a good race day breakfast food. You can add some honey, bananas, or other bits for flavoring. Stay away from too much nut butter due to the fat content. Oatmeal is another option, but it starts to get high in macronutrients that can keep the body from focusing on energy production.

I personally like to eat two cups of rice with a small amount of butter and himalayan sea salt. I eat this while drinking my coffee and slowly sipping on 32oz of water mixed with an LMNT packet. Coffee is a diuretic, it makes you pee, so don’t drink too much of it. Try not to pee completely clear.

I’m a believer in a small amount of protein on long enduro days due to how much we’re breaking down our muscles. If you’re going to have whey protein (10~ grams) in the morning, finish it two hours before go time. It also can help those with stomach issues due to too much carbohydrate consumption. 

Whatever you choose to eat for breakfast, you want to be done eating it within 60-90 minutes before your start time. The more complex the food, the longer it will take to digest so your body can utilize the nutrients. 

30 Mins before your start time

I can start to feel hungry as my nerves run their course before the start of an enduro. I like to have a supplement drink ready to sip on during these times to start the process of liquid carbs. 30-45 minutes before the start of your race is the time to begin your liquid carbohydrate intake. 

You should already be consuming electrolytes. If you use a supplement that has both (Tailwind Nutrition), great! If not, make sure you’re drinking electrolytes or taking an electrolyte tablet.

Fully fueled and charging.

Every Hour

If you’re drinking from your hydration pack during a test section, we need to get you away from this. We need to focus on attacking the trail, not hydrating. If you feel the need to drink during a test section, you need to focus on hydrating more before the race weekend and race day. 

Transfer sections, and awaiting the start of the next test section, are the places to rehydrate and eat. Since every enduro is different, you’ll have to do the math for your speed and time on course. Per hour of racing, we’re looking to consume 500 – 750 milliliters (16 – 24 oz) of water and 100 calories of food, which should get you around 20 – 40g carbs.

Electrolytes are extremely important to continue to take in as well. These sexy little minerals are electrically charged, they help muscles contract and balance fluids inside and out of our cells. That’s why we’re seeing more balanced forms of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride and calcium) in electrolyte supplements instead of just salt. Sodium is most important, start with 200-500mg per hour, 40-100 mg of potassium and 12 – 30 mg of magnesium as some rough numbers to play with.

If you can’t handle drinking all of this mixed up in your hydration bladder, make sure you carry some gels or supplements with you. I like the Ucan Edge Gels because it’s a great addition to the Ucan energy powder and LMNT I have mixed in my 3L USWE bladder. Most gels average 100 calories, and 20-30 grams of carbs, per packet. Keep it simple, one gel an hour.

Hydration hose tucked away.

Gas Stop or Half-way Point

If you’re already hungry or thirsty, you’re trying to play catch up. Trying to catch up on your hydration and nutrition is a slippery slope toward low energy, cramping, or bonking. The good news about enduros though is typically a gas stop gives you a few extra minutes to gas up the bike and gather yourself. Plan to use this time wisely so you can continue to fuel the body for the trail ahead. 

If you haven’t had any whole foods since the race started, this is a good time to leverage fruit (I like oranges) and/or a more complex carbohydrate (I like a ½ cup of rice). 5 – 10 grams of whey protein mixed into a drink will also serve your muscles well for what’s to come. 

A pain reliever (ibuprofen or tylenol) and caffeine gum are also great additions to store in your Utility Can Caddy to consume during the gas stop. Racing all day is a lot of wear and tear on the body, and a well planned pain reliever can help stave off the compounding effect of muscle fatigue and tree bashing. Caffeine gum is a simple way to get a nice mental pick me up without all the extra chemicals included in most energy drinks. 


Post Race

Though we’ve been consuming water and calories throughout the day, we’re still undernourished for the amount of activity performed. A recovery shake (carbs, protein, electrolytes) ready to go for when you ride up to the motovan is perfect to quickly get sustenance into the body. All our numbers from before still ring true here, though adding more carbs and protein is totally fine.

Yes, there are carbs in beer, but there is also alcohol. Just know that the body will begin processing the alcohol first. If you want to feel back to normal quicker, drink a N/A beer, HopWtr, or HopLark after the race. Save the Busch Heavy’s for the next evening.

Put it into practice

This cheat sheet is to help you have a place to start. You can’t do it all in one weekend, and you shouldn’t try. You’ll be overwhelmed and probably ineffective. Start small; What’s the easiest thing to add into the mix that you can try out the next time you go riding. 

An important note is that you shouldn’t try new processes, foods, or supplements on a race weekend. If you’re going to fail, or poop yourself due to using a new supplement, you want that to happen when trail riding. 

Ask questions and enjoy Getting Seat Time!

Enjoyed this content? Support Seat Time w/ these links!