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Keegan Swenson obliterated the Leadville 100 MTB course record by more than 15 minutes. Here's how he did it and what you can learn from him.

Keegan Swenson is the undisputed king of long-course gravel and mountain bike racing. Over the past 18 months working with this otherworldly athlete, he has stepped to the top of the podium on nearly every race he enters. Unbound Gravel, Sea Otter Classic, US Nationals, Leadville - Swenson operates at a level that many followers of cycling are calling "once in a generation." He is arguably the most dominant rider that the US has ever seen.

When we spoke to Keegan before the 2023 season, we asked him what his main goals were. "Winning Unbound and breaking the Leadville course record are my top goals for sure," he said. After his stunning win at Unbound, the work started for breaking the course record at Leadville. A detail-focused athlete who is known for leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of marginal gains and "free speed," Swenson spent weeks tinkering with his equipment ("a true Highball with a few modifications"), his pacing and his on-course nutrition. We asked Keegan to break down his nutrition plan, and he was happy to share.


Race Morning

"My morning meal was a few Kodiak pancakes with some syrup and 2 cups of coffee. The pancakes help me top off my carbs and they digest really easily. The coffee helps me be fully awake. We had plans for a fast start!"


15 Minutes Before Start

"I took 1 x C30 Energy Gel 15 minutes before the start. I used the regular gel in this case - not the caffeinated ones. This last-minute carb intake tops off my levels until my next feeding."



Keegan Swenson Breaks Leadville 100 MTB Course Record


Race Fueling & Hydration

"Overall I targeted 100 to 120 grams of carbs per hour. Leadville is unique that it's an out-and-back course - so you get a lot of feed zones. Because of this, I was able to use single bottles with gels strapped to them instead of grabbing packs or multiple bottles. I did the race entirely on C30 gels and multiple scoops of C30 drink mix."


Drink Mix

Product: C30 Sports Drink Mix
Method: 3 Scoops per Bottle
Delivers: 90g CHO + 600mg Sodium + 750ml Fluid Per Bottle

"I used 3 scoops of C30 Sports Drink per bottle - 90 grams per bottle. During the race I used 6 bottles. It wasn't very warm, so I was able to take in 1 x 750ml bottle of fluid per hour. My sodium loss rate is about 800mg per hour, so this gives me 600mg. I get another 200mg of sodium from energy gels. It's important to watch your fluids and sodium at altitude. Sweat evaporates really fast so you need more fluid that you think. I drank every 15-20 minutes, and additionally when I'm thirsty."


Energy Gels

Product: C30 Energy Gels
Method: 1 Energy Gel per Hour
Delivers: 30g CHO + 200mg Sodium Per Gel

"I used 1 C30 Energy Gel per hour. I use all of the flavours. They all taste great! We strapped the gels to the bottles to reduce fumbling at the feed zones. This allowed me to save time and to keep my momentum going."



Product: C30+ Energy Gels
Method: 1 Caffeine Gel 1:30 from Finish
Delivers: 30g CHO + 200mg Sodium + 75mg Caffeine Per Gel

"I took 1 C30 caffeine gel 1:30 from the finish. At that point, it gave me a nice boost to get me through. I know some athletes use a lot of caffeine during races. I generally use caffeine near the end when I need it."



"I use the P30 Recovery Mix after all my training and races. It tastes great and is easy to get down even when I'm not that hungry post-race. It's a good way to start my recovery process. I race pretty frequently - so this is really important to pay attention to recovery with all the hard back-to-back efforts."


3 Takeaways From Keegan

  1. "I look at 3 main factors with nutrition - fuel, fluid and sodium. Make sure you are hitting the right numbers in all 3 areas."
  2. "Know the course and where the feed zones are. Pack slightly more fuel and fluid than you think you need."
  3. "Train your gut. In the beginning of the season, I have a harder time getting in more than 90 grams per hour. With gut training, I hit 100 to 120 grams per hour. This translates into better performance consistency."


Keegan's Favorites

C30 Energy Gel: "I love all the flavours, but Passion Fruit is my favourite."
C30 Sports Drink: "I alternate the Forest Berry and Citrus. They go down really easy and are my main drink mix in the hotter months."
C30+ Energy Gel: "I take the Cola flavour usually 90 minutes from the finish in most races."
C30 Fuel Bar: "I use these in most of my races these days. They go down like a gel."
C90 High Carb Mix: "I use C90 during the colder months and in training. It is my colder weather go-to."
P30 Recovery Mix: "It's a really important part of my recovery."


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Keegan Swenson Breaks Leadville 100 MTB Course Record

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