Nowadays, we know what nutrition is required for very young sports aspirants who are going through the growth spurt, and at the same time as they are in serious training and racing. We know what nutrition the ‘older, non-professionals’ need, as well as those in their 40s, and not forgetting the good ‘ole healthy agers, the 55+ gang. We obviously know what the Pros’ need, and so do they, but what nutrition is required by someone who spectates at the many velodrome track events around the world, from local to national, to 6-days, international and Olympic?

Well, science or track side marketing, and probably the latter, shows that beer, stuff that is fried or comes in a bread bun, sweets, crisps and if you are very lucky, pasta, is what is required by the velodrome spectator to provide enough nutrition to get him/her through the exciting velodrome event. Going by the food that’s on offer, the calories burned by a velodrome spectator must at least, equal those of the riders.

The wall around the trackside that separates the spectators from the riders appears to be the border crossing between two nutritional worlds. The nutritional language spoken on either side of this wall must need a translator, because its soooooooooooo different.

So here’s my view, based on some observations, and my own practice of what appears to be the nutritional rituals for a velodrome spectator:

Pre-race seat warming requires a preliminary beer to ensure good blood flow preparation.
As its a family event, those that have been invited (read as: dragged along), like young children, need a distraction starter to the evening of crisps or some sweets or some ice cream or some etc etc.
As the appearance of the athletes starts to take place in the centre of the track, and they are recognised by both spectators and the commentator at the same time, another beer is required to temper the excitement, and as there is a queue at the bar, its worth getting 2 or 3 beers, or however many can be carried (safely) by one person.
The riders are introduced, and much cheering and banging on the track wall takes place. This burns a lot of calories, which obviously need replenishing in preparation for the first race. Another beer or two, and something wholesome (fried) to eat will keep you going for the next hour.
All this beer and food requires a toilet break, so unlike road racing riders who can either ‘pee-on-the-move’ or stop by the side of the road, you need to walk to the toilets. On the way back, you notice a gap in the bar, so you stop to stock up, because its also worth getting the kids more ‘stuff’’ to keep them happy as they won’t eat that apple that you optimistically put in the bag for them. The apple also doesn’t go with beer, so it stays in the bag. You head back to your seat with more ‘nutrition’.
By this time, the finals are under way and the excitement means that you can’t leave your seat, but the calories required now are immense. So, as the kids are either asleep or on their smartphones, you finish off whatever they haven’t eaten. Hmmmmm……all of this extra eating means you need to hydrate. Beer! But as its too exciting, one other member of the ‘grown-ups’ in the group is persuaded to go and get beer for everyone. This allows the rest of your group to ‘not miss anything’.
Just before the award ceremony takes place, sample packets of crisps are handed out to spectators by young marketeers. These, you tell yourself, will get you through the awards ceremonies and back to the car/bus/train.A few hours later, and now back at home, and with the excitement levels slowly reducing, you need a relaxing drink………………

If we go back to the border wall between the track and spectator seats, its clearly apparent that the nutrition has been well thought through for both sides of the wall. More importantly, when you go out for that Sunday ride, your lycra kit will adapt itself to all of that ‘nutrition’ that you had at the velodrome.

All photos by the author

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