In the early 1980s, Paul Deane, an NZMSC supporter living on Waiheke Island, discovered an interesting physical fact about riding .
He was, by his own admission, a health freak and knew absolutely everything about nutrition. So, in his days of trials riding he would pull into the pits for the most perfect meal a hard-working trials rider could want. The meal was totally balanced to his body's requirements. Then, off into the field Paul would go again only to get fives (penalties) where he had cleans in the morning. Every section was worse. He even ran down an observer - while the observer was running away, we might add. Talk about target fixation!
Everything was wrong despite Paul doing everything so right. Eventually, Paul stopped the midday pigout and survived the whole day on just fruit juices or perhaps an apple or carrot. His result instantly improved. He was doing better in the afternoon than the morning and his energy level was higher too. And the observers stopped wearing cricket pads, helmets and chest and shoulder pads.
What had gone wrong? The answer is simple. Paul had asked his body to do two things at once - digest a meal and perform at peak at the same time.
Trouble was, his body couldn't do it. When the body is digesting a meal, it's metabolism tends to slow down. This goes back to the days of the caveman - having caught the food, the caveman's body could afford to slow down while it digested the meal. This means that, if you are touring and stop for a big meal, you should either stop for a couple of hours to digest the meal or take it easy and give yourself more space in the next couple of hour's riding.
Simple idea - but it may save your life.