Join us as we learn more about three of the #TORQFuelled athletes competing on the world stage at the 2023 UCI World Championships in Glasgow.
In just a few days, the world’s most accomplished cyclists will converge in Glasgow for the highly anticipated UCI World Cycling Championships. Among these elite athletes, three extraordinary individuals, Chris Dawson, Amy Henchoz, and Joanne Thom, will proudly represent their respective nations while powered by TORQ Nutrition. With their sights set on their best possible performances in Cross Country Short Track, Cross Country Olympic, and Cross-Country Marathon disciplines respectively, these #TORQFuelled riders are poised to showcase their talent and determination on the global stage. Below, we delve into their background and aspirations for this prestigious event:
Name: Chris Dawson
Nation Representing: Ireland
UCI World Championship Race Discipline: Cross Country Short Track, & Cross Country Olympic
Chris, the current 2023 Irish Mountain Bike Cross Country Champion has been racing on two wheels for close to 20 years, however has only recently made the transition to focus full time on mountain bike cross country. Growing up, Chris had always competed in various cycling disciplines ranging from mountain bike downhill to road racing. Whilst in isolation, the demands of downhill and road racing are entirely different, the transferable skills of each discipline provided the perfect recipe to produce a champion mountain bike cross country rider.
The UCI World Championships provides a significant opportunity to showcase your athletic capacity. For this reason, it was important that Chris qualified for the UCI World Championships, as this gives him the very best chance of also being selected to represent Ireland at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
With the UCI World Championships being the biggest event in the cycling calendar, we asked Chris what he was looking forward to the most about the race. Here is what he had to say.
“I think I’m looking forward to the buzz the most. I’ve raced World Champs events in downhill back when I was a junior and the crowds are always insane. With the Worlds being in Scotland, it will be as close to a home race as I have and it will be great to have family and friends coming over to watch the event. I’m also looking forward to testing myself against the best riders in the world. I’ve seen previews of the worlds course and it looks really technical and has some cool features – I always enjoy riding new courses and having fun on my bike!”
Training the body to meet the demands of competing against the world best is a challenge that requires dedication and commitment. Prior to the World Championships, Chris had spent a lot of time developing his threshold power, and max aerobic power. However after analysing the UCI World Championship course and studying his competitors, he noted that in order to be competitive, he must divert his attention to building his repeated, max anaerobic power. In Chris’ words:
“It’s all well and good having a high FTP and VO2 but if you can’t maintain those power numbers after repeated hard efforts then it’s a waste”.
Chris and his coach are feeling very confident that they have met the aims of this highly specific training block, which puts him in a very good place both physically and mentally leading into his biggest race of the year!
Chris has been exclusively using TORQ products since he reached out to us in 2022. Consistent with all of our ambassadors, Chris contacted us as he truly believed that TORQ was the best product on the market. We have worked closely with Chris to develop his understanding of nutrition and personalise his nutritional approach.
As Chris trains and races with TORQ nutrition exclusively, he has trained his gut to tolerate very high hourly carbohydrate ingestion rates. During the World Championship race, Chris will be targeting 90g-100g of carbohydrate for every hour of racing. He will be using TORQ Energy Drink for the 1st hour, and then swapping to TORQ Cola Caffeine Energy Drink after the first hour. Chris will be adding 45g of TORQ Energy Drink to each 500ml bottle, offering a 9% carbohydrate solution, the upper limits of TORQ’s Energy Drink recommendations, and will be aiming to consume 1 bottle per hour. The remainder of his carbohydrate, will come from our most rapidly delivered fuelling unit, the TORQ Energy Gel.
You can follow Chris on Instagram here
Name: Amy Henchoz
Nation Representing: GBR
UCI World Championship Race Discipline: Cross Country Marathon
Amy has always loved riding bikes, but her passion for racing developed much later in life compared to many of her rival competitors. Amy showcases an abundance of natural talent, but don’t be fooled to thinking she has been gifted her place to race at such a prestigious level. Since Amy’s first competitive season in 2022, she has been training, researching, analysing and critiquing every level of her performance to ensure she becomes the very best in her class. This commitment, coupled with a highly experienced coach has allowed Amy’s physical capacity to develop exponentially. Over a period of 18 months, Amy has progressed from regional level races, to national and international races and will now be experiencing her first World Championship race in just a few day’s time.
Amy loves taking on technical descents. Her innate adrenaline-fuelled personality allows her to gain significant time on her competition throughout sections of a race, that many will lose time on. This year’s Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship course certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. The descents are rough, long and technical, falling right into the hands of our specialist descender, Amy. Here is what Amy had to say about the demands of this year’s course.
“Having ridden in the area quite a bit over the last 6 months it quickly became apparent that strength endurance is going to be pretty key for this race. The course is really rough and continuous, and you need to be able to push yourself off the handlebars a lot on descents which has lead me to doing significantly more push-ups this year than I think I’ve done in my entire life! But some of the climbs are long and steep as well so I’ve also done quite a lot of work on my low cadence power, trying to improve my ability to grind away which certainly isn’t my preferred option – ask anyone who rides with me!”
Training at a world class level comes with its highs and lows, and so we asked Amy how she deals with days where training feels more like a chore. This is what she had to say.
“When the training is hard and the motivation is low, all I have to do is imagine I’m about to drop into an amazing descent, that I’m at the head of the group and I can dig a little deeper or convince myself the rain isn’t that bad”.
Lastly, one of the biggest learning curves Amy has experienced is the importance of correct nutrition. Longer races like mountain bike marathon races require a lot of fuel. They are long, hard races, and one missed fuelling opportunity could be the difference between suffering or sprinting to the finish line, the difference between winning and losing. For longer races, such as mountain bike marathon races, Hydration also becomes a critical factor for performance and is an element of the nutritional framework that is commonly overlooked. Depending on environmental conditions, Amy will aim for at least 750ml of TORQ Energy Drink per hour, which contains 45g of carbohydrate and 5 key electrolytes. For simplicity of fuelling, TORQ Energy Gels will provide the remaining carbohydrate required to hit Amy’s carbohydrate fuelling target of 90-100g of carbohydrate per hour.
To learn more about how to fuel a mountain bike marathon race, read our recently published Fuelling a Mountain Bike Marathon article. Here we leave no stone unturned and consider every element of how to correctly fuel your MTB Marathon training and deliver the goods on race day.
You can follow Amy on Instagram here
Name: Joanne Thom
Nation Representing: GBR
UCI World Championship Race Discipline: Cross Country Marathon
Jo (Joanne), has been racing at an elite level for 6 years and is one of the TORQ Mountain Bike Team’s current female elite mountain bike riders. Jo has been riding for TORQ for the last 2 years and we have really seen her performance develop. 2023 has been an exceptional year for Jo. Qualifying to represent GBR at the World Mountain Bike Marathon Championships is the highlight of her athletic career to date. Jo is deeply driven by results, which explains the continual evaluation of her athletic performance and the World Championships has provided Jo with the challenge and opportunity to compete and position herself against the World’s best.
We spoke to Jo about how she has adapted her training to meet the demands of such a challenging course. She told us that she has been riding a lot of mountain bike cross country races recently and whilst this has provided her with a fantastic ability to work above threshold, she has had to adapt her training to include the development of her aerobic foundation which is paramount to improving her fatigue resistance and recovery from high intensity efforts.
When it comes to nutrition and hydration, having been riding for TORQ for 2 years, she has spent a lot of time developing the correct fuelling strategies and has lived the phrase ‘Fuelling Simplicity’ based on the TORQ Fuelling System, which she explains below:
“Using TORQ helps to keep my nutrition and hydration plan really simple. I don’t like to complicate things, fuelling doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s really a case of looking at the demands of the race, personal preference and personal tolerances and devising plan around that. Easy to digest TORQ units like the TORQ Energy Gels will be my go-to during the race. They’re easy to consume at race pace and what’s more, I get to fill my pockets with 7 hours’ worth of my favourite flavours like Rhubarb & Custard & Raspberry Ripple Gels! For hydration and fuelling I’ve been training with the orange flavour Performance Energy Drink and will stick with that during the UCI World Championship Marathon race.”
To follow Jo’s progress, you can do on Instagram here
The Tapers Begin…
Although the travel of our products will reach way beyond these three, as the World Championships kick off on the 3rd of August, our eyes will be firmly on these #TORQFuelled athletes as they compete to deliver their best possible performances and we look forward to seeing where it takes them. Their journeys, dedication, and enthusiasm for the sport serve as an inspiration to cyclists worldwide. The Glasgow World Championships will undoubtedly provide thrilling moments, spectacular feats, and showcase the unyielding spirit of these talented cyclists on the world stage.