Pasta is a traditional cycling food. The traditional thinking was to load up on pasta for slow release carbohydrates before a long ride. Traditionally, cyclists would eat pasta for dinner, and perhaps pasta for breakfast. When I started cycling I was an adherent of pasta, thinking this was the perfect food for energy reserves.
But, in the past few years, pasta has been getting a bad press. The new cycling teams eat rice, lentils, quinoa, buckwheat, yam flour of the Japanese konnyaku imotuber – anything apart from the gluten heavy pasta.
When I read Geraint Thomas’ book, one thing that struck me was the disdain felt towards the Italian teams who are stuck in the past chugging their way through big plates of pasta. It seems eating a plate of pasta, is a cardinal sin within Team Sky, who are more at home with vegetable juices, celery and any of these non-gluten superfoods.
To some extent I have also found myself doing the same. I rarely eat pasta these days, preferring rice and lentils. A packet of pasta can sit in the cupboard for several months – only on rare occasions do I take it.
It is worth noting that once professional cyclists swore by eating raw steak for breakfast. So it does show that the prevailing opinion doesn’t necessarily have a scientific backing.