It’s 1987 I went from wearing ballet tights to lycra cycling pants.
I have always had been drawn to something which was not mainstream. I was a ballet dancer in a country that preached that men must do rugby in the winter and play cricket in the summer.
It was challenging to say the least being bullied for my love of the dance, and to escape from it all I found a natural pre-disposition to an activity which represented freedom in its actions and sensations in which it created.
As a young boy it was the bicycle where I found myself dreaming and creating dreams, to put it in a more expressive manner
It is a gateway, a portal into another dimension, a perfect synergy between man and machine.
It’s perpetual motion, it’s authentic acceleration. Its where you feel your blood surge through your veins, leaving you breathless and when you put it away, you already want to come back for more.
It’s the place and still is the place where you find solutions to your problems, it’s a place where your visions find clarity, it soon became best antidepressant I have ever partook in.
My journey in cycling changed like every bike journey should, from being someone who relished in going as hard as possible in time trials competing at elite provincial level to evolving into an endurance cyclist.
Previous to my adventure or journey into an endurance cyclist. I lost my father to oesophageal cancer. This sparked my interest in nutrition and preventing disease and rather reacting to disease.
My family from both sides (mother and father) were plagued with cancer, cardiac problems as well as obesity.
Up until then I followed a traditional high carb low fat diet like they did and some still do.
Something in my life had to change for me.
It was around this time, I was already following a paleo diet, which still incorporated a moderate amount of daily carbohydrates, after some investigation and my own personal research, I then switched to practicing A HIGH FAT low carb diet.
That was eight years ago, 5 years later I embarked on my endurance cycling.
This journey was profound to say the least, from experiencing bouts of hypoglycemia or the dreaded hunger knocks or what’s commonly known as the “bonk” I no longer was encountering these sensations.
In fact I hardly if ever experienced “the bonk”
It was if I became finally free, not encumbered by my constant need for refuelling. No longer having to pack my back pockets full of some type of nutrition to stay fuelled.
My fascination grew and grew where does it end???
In 2019 the Jordanian Tourism board invited me to compete in a race that crossed the Jordanian Desert, starting at the Dead Sea and finishing 198km later at the Red Sea.
My goal was not to win but to ride at a respectable pace and not refuel by taking on board any calories, but yes just water.
To my astonishment I competed the ride finishing 5th overall and averaged 211watts for 5hrs46min.
I wasn’t hungry at all post the event. This really intrigued me to say the least, how far could I push this???
2020 arrived and so did COVID-19 and the mandatory lockdowns.
So not being able to leave my apartment I embarked on the next journey of my discovery into the advantages of being fat fuelled.
I didn’t have an indoor smart trainer, just rollers. From getting use to the rollers riding just one hour I built it up to 2, 3, 4, 6hours and then 9hours without refuelling.
Linking my rides to my Stages Cycling Gen 3 Dual Stages Power meter and the Zwift Cycling platform.
Now anyone can claim they have ridden great distance or time without refuelling.
So on the 29th of May 2020 I embarked on an event to honor all the first responders in the COVID-19 pandemic and the Noakes Foundation, the goal was 9hours on rollers without refuelling with witnesses.
I had Mr Lance Allam of MedWay who hosted the event at his offices who witnessed amongst several others my 9hours ride which I managed 10hours with nothing but water. The coffee machine on that day was broken.
It was a 6000 calorie effort.
Since then my performance has slowly started to increase and also my mileage per week and I continue to improve on my adaption into being fat fuelled.
I ride nothing less than 100km on the road, and the last 6 months my average distance is around 150km with regular rides of 200+km all without having the need to refuel, with my average power output being slightly below 200watts or above.
This practice of nutritional strategy is not isolated to me, but my fiancée who adopted the diet eight months ago has excelled in her cycling, smashing almost everyone of her PB in power output.
Zach Bitter who is the world record holder for the 100mile ultra marathon holder is although not as strict ketogenic athlete as myself is a LOW CARB HIGH fat athlete and regularly practices a regiment ketogenic diet to enhance his endurance and being fat fuelled.
So where an how far will this go only time will tell so stay tuned as I will share some of my essential tips to embarking on becoming an endurance cyclist.
Discover more on Sako's Journey: www.seansako.com