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How do you fuel for a long gravel race?
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Lauren De Crescenzo Finishes Her Season With Authority

Lauren De Crescenzo has been notoriously diligent about improving her fueling plan and leveraging it to get the most out of her races. It’s safe to say that it’s working.

We're excited to share her recent race experiences and the fueling she employed to close out the 2023 season.

A Big Win In ColoRADo

In the late summer, the Life Time Grand Prix’s (LTGP) 6th stop was at The Rad in Colorado. There, LDC took a commanding win in this high-elevation gravel throw down ahead of a charging field. She absolutely nailed her fueling plan and was able to stick it when it mattered most.

LDC told herself, “Just to get to hour five”, where she felt the cracks would begin to show in her competition. Here’s a breakdown of her winning fueling plan at The Rad.

Pre-Rad Protocol

I take Sur Alt Red 90min before the race. I love this product because it’s simple and it works. It lowers my perceived exertion and allows me to push myself harder.

Before the race, I will apply Amp Human Next Gen PR Lotion. It speeds up the warm-up process which is ideal for those early morning starts. I also rarely cramp in races and feel like this is the secret to not cramping.

During The Rad

Fueling: I like to tell people that gravel races are really just eating contests. I like to go back and forth between the NEVERSECOND and SIS Gels. In the beginning of the race, I’ll aim for 1 gel every 20min and towards the middle to end 1 every 30-40min. I also like the Precision Hydration Chews for a little variety.

Hydration: I prefer to carry as much water and food with me as possible. Anything can happen in these races and I don’t like to rely on feedzones. My USWE hydration pack had 270g of carbs of the NEVERSECOND C30 drink mix. I drank the entire USWE before the first feedzone. I’m a big fan of front-loading my nutrition and hydration.

Post-Rad Protocol

Is there anything better than an ice-cold Coke after a long day on the bike? Luckily, my team had one waiting for me. But after the Coke and things settle down, I have a Kyoku shake in the hours after my race. It’s the easiest way I’ve found to increase my micronutrient intake and get a jump start on recovery.

The Final Stop: Big Sugar

The last race of the LTGP headed to the cycling hotspot of Bentonville, AR. There, titles were to be sealed as the series closed out in one final 100mi gravel race across the rolling hills of Northwest Arkansas.

With razor-sharp rocks and little room for error, LDC returned more prepared than ever for a good day.

"Last year, I faced significant challenges with my bike handling skills at Big Sugar, where my strong fitness was my saving grace, allowing me to secure a respectable 5th place finish. This experience served as a motivating factor in my decision to apply for this year's Life Time Grand Prix.”

This race had a few more competitors than the usual suspects, including that of the recently crowned UCI Gravel World Champion, Kasia Niewiadoma. It was a spicy day to say the least, with the field blowing to bits as the World Champion showed her colors. But, LDC controlled what she could and rode herself into an amazing position.

Around the 70-mile mark of the 104-mile course, I found myself just one minute behind the rainbow stripes. Despite putting in an immense effort, I couldn't quite bridge the gap. To prepare for this critical stage of the race, I prioritized my hydration, finishing my 1.5L USWE pack with 5 scoops of NEVERSECOND by the first aid station, and managed my nutrition with Precision, SIS Beta Fuel, and N2 C30 gels in the initial three hours. Over the last 30 miles, I turned myself inside out, ultimately securing 2nd place overall and 1st in the Lifetime Grand Prix.

With that, she closed out the 2023 season. We applaud LDC and the work she's put in!

"Throughout the 2023 season, I embarked on a transformative journey, culminating in a remarkable 2nd place finish at Big Sugar, where I competed against the reigning gravel UCI World Champion, Kasia Niewiadoma, on a more demanding course than the previous year.

My experiences at Big Sugar in 2022 and 2023 were quite different, highlighting the evolution of my skills over the 2023 season, and the power of perseverance and a positive mindset."

Avatar Carson Beckett

Carson Beckett / Wednesday, October 25, 2023