One of the main objectives of Base Building for Cyclists is to teach you how to train your muscles to store more carbohydrates but use less of that stored energy to perform a given task. This will make you a more fuel-efficient athlete. Efficiency is a major factor in athletic performance. One clear advantage of using fewer carbohydrates to accomplish a given effort is that you have more of this high-power energy available for when you need it most. Conserving fuel means that you can ride longer or harder when you need to. Your muscles will demand carbohydrate energy when you’re chasing a breakaway, battling a headwind, climbing a tough hill, or outsprinting an angry pit bull. These are all good reasons to ration your limited supply of carbohydrates! The small amount of carbohydrates found circulating in the blood take a form called glucose. The amount of glucose in your blood is also referred to as your blood sugar level. If your blood sugar levels run low, the body will release glycogen stored in the liver to maintain appropriate glucose levels. The liver can store only a few hundred calories of carbohydrate, which will quickly become depleted, so it is best to maintain healthy blood glucose levels through ingestion and digestion of a carbohydrate source such as a sports drink or gel and water while cycling for extended or intense periods of time. The liver will also release stored glycogen into the bloodstream throughout the night while you’re sleeping to maintain blood sugar levels. This means that your liver will be low or depleted of glycogen in the morning and will need to be refilled if you want to have your carbohydrate stores fully loaded to support that day’s activities. The process of ingesting, digesting, and storing carbohydrates within the liver can take three to four hours; so if you have an important event that will demand a lot of carbohydrate energy, you’ll want to eat a meal several hours before the start of your event. Liquid fuel sources tend to digest faster and may be a better choice for prerace meals.