Summer. It's my favorite time of the year. The sun, the fun and the perfect excuse to exercise outdoors...or for some, the perfect opportunity to take some time to ride a bike across a state. Starting this morning (530a EST), over 5,000 cyclists, traveling from 36 states and eight countries will hit the mean streets of Sturbridge, Massachusetts. No, they are not there to check out the historical New England lifestyle. They are there to begin their inspiring and heartfelt journey across Massachusetts to participate in what is known as The Pan Massachusetts Challenge. The PMC raises more money for charity than any other single event in the country. The organization was founded in 1980 and has since raised $338 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund. Nearly 300 riders are cancer survivors or current patients. The PMC donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the cause. Last night, I had a chance to interview a second year participant. With a belly full of pasta and a smile upon his face, Mark Cantin shared some of his tips...
The Vibrant Beet: What does your training consist of?
Mark Cantin: "I ride about 600 miles per week. Not. Maybe 30. No, but really, Im very unorthodox in the way that I train. I ride every day, but I live in Los Angeles and its difficult to get out on the streets with all of the traffic. Where I live in Los Angeles, you have to ride so far outside to the open roads to train in a consistent environment without being stop and go. Plus, I'm not a morning person, and with my work schedule its hard to get up early and train like most people do. I have a trainer which allows me to convert my bicycle into a stationary bicycle. This allows me flexibility to ride before work or during my lunch break when I don't have enough time to do a ride outside to meet my strict training schedule. I hop on the trainer in the living room for an hour...there is no coasting, and I just listen to my music or watch my favorite soap operas...like Downton Abbey. The trainer also allows me to keep my heart rate up for an extended amount of time. Luckily, my friendly neighbors are iMartin bike shop, and I frequently join in on a group ride with them which allows me to train with other people. It is both motivating and challenging and it is safer then riding solo on the busy streets of LA."
TVB: What does your diet consist of?
MC: "During the PMC I have to consume a lot more calories than I normally do to sustain myself during the long ride. The night before I try and eat a large amount of food without overeating. I eat foods that won't upset my stomach...often a lot of whole grain pasta because it digests slower, unlike white pasta which breaks down quicker, doesnt sustain your energy and turns right to sugar. During the actual race there are rest stops every 25 miles, and they support the riders with fruits, peanut butter sandwiches, etc. But, I don't like to stop for long periods of time and my body isn't necessarily used to foods with preservatives and GMO ingredients so I don't want to risk an upset stomach. I prefer the liquid calories - it's fast and easy. I drink Hammer as a mixture that I have with my water. It's 700 calories per drink. I consume it throughout the ride by sipping every 20 minutes to sustain energy. It contains sodium and electrolytyes so that I don't get depleted from so much sweating. Its about never letting yourself get hungry and never letting yourself get full.
On a normal day, I wake up and do my morning exercise routine - weight training and cycling. I drink water during my workouts and throughout the day. Unless Im riding for over 2 hours, I won't eat anything during my ride. Afterwards, I usually drink 8 oz. of kefir which is very nourishing and keeps my inner body balanced for optimum health and longevity. 30 mins to 1 hour later, I have organic oatmeal and a banana. 3 hours after that, I usually have an alkaline shake. People that are on certain, specific diets add salt to the shake. I don't add salt because I get enough of it from the other foods that I eat. 2 hours after the shake, I have an almond butter sandwich (fresh ground almond butter from Whole Foods) on Mestemacher Fitness Bread. Depending on if I'm hungry before dinner or not, I have cashews or almonds (often raw, non-salted). For dinner, I usually have a complete protein, grain and veggie. A good of example of a normal meal is an arugula salad, organic chicken, sweet potato, wild salmon...and on occasion a nice piece off organic grass fed lean steak. Roasted peppers stuffed with vegetable quinoa is a staple in my diet - I love quinoa! Sometimes I splurge and have coconut ice cream. On the weekends I love my Racer 5 IPA because I feel like it makes me faster."
Thank you Mark!!! Have fun. Good luck to you and your fellow riders. Donations can still be made under the riders name by clicking here. Thanks for riding for such a great cause. Keep movin' and stay hydrated...it's hot out there!