BikeDan in Mongolia: Catching Up After a Grueling Race

Tim Haran Team USANA 2 Comments

Recently USANA-sponsored cyclist Daniel Carruthers wrote guest blogs for What’s Up, USANA? about his adventures in racing. He mentioned he would soon be tackling the grueling Mongolia Bike Challenge and would take What’s Up, USANA? readers along for the ride. To learn more, visit his website at

Here he is with his recap from Mongolia! Way to go, @BikeDan!

As you all know, I recently participated in the Mongolia Bike Challenge, a 1,200-kilometer mountain bike race across the steppes of Mongolia from the Gobi Desert into the Khangai mountain ranges. It was the toughest race I had ever done, and I was one proud finisher.

There were 45 official finishers from the original 68 starters. Riders representing 15 countries and all cycling backgrounds competed. As long as you are physically fit, you can complete this challenge, too. I invite the USANA sporty/mountain biker Associates out there to consider taking part in this grueling race in 2012!

Nearly half of the 108 spots are sold out due to the word spreading about how good the Mongolian adventure was, despite the pain competitors had to overcome to finish.

Key Factor to Success?

In my mind, the key factor to success (success can mean many things, not just winning) is to keep your energy levels constant throughout each day on the bike. It is also important to fuel and replenish the body with essential nutrients and other supplements.

This is where USANA comes in. I took a good supply of USANA products with me and made sure I was taking everything at the right times to provide me with sustainable energy as well as to help make sure your body is ready to tackle the next day.

Daniel Carruthers races in the 2011 Mongolia Bike Challenge. Photo: Katy Caratozzolo

Daniel Carruthers races in the 2011 Mongolia Bike Challenge. Photo: Katy Caratozzolo

The first three days of the race were the most painful due to the road conditions and possibly due to riding a new bike. However, I adapted well in subsequent days and felt myself get stronger and stronger with each passing day. I attribute this largely to the fact I was following a good regime with the USANA products.

Before the Race

Each morning, the first thing I did after waking up in the tent at 5:45 a.m. was make a Nutrimeal shake (choice of either Wild Strawberry or Dutch Chocolate). I would also take my Essentials, as well as a couple of CoQuinone® 30 capsules.

The morning shake allowed me to eat less breakfast, though I generally ate eggs, bananas, and some cereal along with a hot chocolate.

During the Race

I drank about three 750 ml bottles of Rev3 Surge (using three stick packs), spaced out during the stage. I picked up my Rev3 bottle and a plain water bottle at the first two feed zones. For the first 40 kms, I typically drank the Rev3 Surge first before drinking the plain water. I also carried two USANA Oatmeal Raisin Nutrition Bars (pre-opened) in my jersey pockets.

During the first hour I aimed to consume one of these bars. Since they are quite dry, it was difficult to chew while also breathing hard. Sometimes it would take me more than 30 minutes of chewing in between breathing!

To help facilitate faster chewing, I would take a gulp of Rev3 and swill it about with the Oatmeal Raisin bar. This method helped tremendously.

The second bar got eaten halfway into the stage. I definitely felt these bars helped with maintaining my energy levels, at least during the first several hours. But once the body shifts and starts to operate on sugar only, I began drinking copious amounts of Sprite and Coke from the second feed zone at 80 kms, and at the final feed zone point at the 100-km mark.

I also ate a lot of the dried fruits provided at these feed zones. The Rev3 Surge helped considerably during the later stages of the day — if I had any left. I also used GU Gels, but very sparingly — I actually had a bag of 50 of them but most of them came back with me. I averaged about one or two gels a day and I would take them very late into the stage as they are high glycemic and you don’t want to spike your sugar level many times if you can help it.

After the Race

Once I finished a stage, I prepared myself a USANA Nutrimeal within the first 30 minutes to drink before eating lunch. I also often took up to six Proflavanol® C100 tablets with the shake. I had to reduce my intake toward the end of the event, as my supply was getting low (I finished two bottles in 9 days of racing!)

At lunch I ate a lot of food, including generous helpings of pasta to fuel up. Most days, I would take a nap for 1-2 hours in the afternoon — it is essential for the body to get more rest. Riding every day for 6 hours or more on a mountain bike over the roughest terrain imaginable, you need all the rest you can get.

Other tips:

  • I sneaked some shut-eye on the massage table before the massage therapist needed it.
  • Drinking lots of water from the time you finish a stage and through the evening is vital for cleansing out the lactic acid in the legs as well as restoring your body fluids to normal.
  • It is very important to be well hydrated and take lots of electrolytes as well.

A Success!

Nutritional basics provided the foundation I needed to perform the way I did from the third day onward. This, coupled with the power of your mind, allows you to conquer anything you attempt. The Mongolia Bike Challenge was an awesome exotic experience and it was refreshing to be so remote and out of touch with the outside world for 10 days!

Read the additional posts here and visit Daniel’s website for additional information. If you are interested in taking part in the 2012 Mongolia Bike Challenge, visit or email

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Comments 2

  1. Dan – your accomplishment is impressive! Congratulations! And it’s encouraging to hear how you used the Usana products to create your nutritional foundation. The Mongolian ride sounds tempting! Altho the big rides I’ve completed have been over a longer time frame & more lenient terrain, Usana’s products made all the difference.
    Thank you for sharing your inspiring experience – I’m looking forward to hearing about your next one! Fi Jamieson-Folland

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