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Rach McBride Talks Gravel, Hydration, and Canadian Adventures

Rach McBride is a Canadian Professional triathlete and a not-so-secret gravel grinder. During the pandemic, Rach has taken to exploring new roads, usually the longer and harder the better. We caught up with Rach to learn about how they are packing Nuun along for the journey and staying hydrated while riding in out-of-service areas.

Tell us about hydrating while riding gravel. Is it any different than road riding?

When gravel riding, I have to take into consideration hydration a lot more because often I’m in remote areas where I might not have ready access to water fill-ups. Often I’m carrying more hydration than I would road riding. I always bring some extra packets of Nuun Endurance or a tube of Nuun Sport so that if/when I find a water source, I can pop a tab! Given limited access to water, I then also tend to be forced to drink less while hitting the gravel to conserve this precious resource. I have started carrying water purification drops or will choose fast flowing streams or waterfalls with clear water that I affectionately refer to as “nature’s 7-Eleven”.

Sometimes drinking less is also due to more bumpy, technical terrain. It can be challenging to reach for a bottle when you or your bottle have a high chance of going flying! A small backpack with a water bladder can be a great solution to this. Recently I even had to apply lube to my hands during a ride. I started developing a blister on my palm through my gloves from all of the vibration and had to resort to chain lube to comfort my pain.  

 

What is your go-to drink in the dirt?

Prior to being a Nuun athlete, I had bottles filled with calories. Since working with Dr. Stacy Sims and the Nuun team, I’ve transitioned my nutrition protocol to lower calorie hydration in my bottles and real food nutrition in my bento box.

So I’m sipping Nuun Endurance when I hit the dirt, since I’m usually out for several hours (lemon lime or mixed berry to start)! I go through my non-caffeinated bottles first. I bring a 3rd bottle with caffeinated Nuun Endurance for when I know I'll need a kick later in the ride. I'll also bring a mixture of caffeinated/non-caffeinated nuun endurance packets with me - they are great on the go, fit easily into a jersey pocket, and are in sweat-resistant packaging. 

We’ve been following you on social media and have seen you exploring some pretty incredible places in Canada. Do you have a favorite adventure of the summer?

I couldn’t possibly pick only one, but I will share my top 3! I’ve been so fortunate to check off some bucket list adventures and experienced parts of my home province that are often neglected when focusing on Ironman builds during the summer months. 

  1. I spent 10 days in the Canadian Rockies covering 446 miles and 36,000 feet of elevation. I think I consumed about 26 bottles of Nuun while on my bike, not to mention my Prime bottles pre-ride, Recovery bottles post-ride and my Rest before bed! The highlight of this trip was definitely a 7 hour day that involved 10km of hike-a-bike through snow, at some points thigh-high.
  2. We also went on a trip to northern British Columbia to visit Bella Coola. Among many special days of riding, the biggest days were spent riding the 143 miles from Tatla Lake into Bella Coola, taking a day of rest before riding back. This trip made for my biggest volume training week of my career! 
  3. Most recently, I had the incredible opportunity of shooting some unique video footage with my bike sponsor Diamondback and a team of creative geniuses: Mike Hopkins, Scott Secco, and Simon Hillis in Rossland, BC. I rode on single track and ran on ridge lines that literally had me in tears, completely in awe of nature’s beauty. Long days on camera definitely demanded heaps of Nuun in my bottle. I can’t wait to share the final product of this with you. 

2020 is not over yet! What’s next for you?

I’ll be headed to Ontario to take part in the Canadian Pro Triathlon Championship 2020 with some of Canada’s finest short course triathletes.

It appears there is one gravel race still on the calendar with a slightly modified race format - less of a group ride and more time trial style.  As returning champ, I’m headed back to defend my title and, as a triathlete at heart, have no problem TT’ing a gravel race!

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