Assistance : HT Husqvarna Rally Raid
Performance tuner : HT Husqvarna Rally Raid
Date of birth: 15/11/1972 at BUFFALO, NY USA
Height / weight: 1.62 / 65
Hobbies: Riding bikes
Sponsors: Husqvarna, Moto Batt, Motul, Speedmab, Powersports Data
Carroll Gittere isn’t your average type Dakar rider. First of all because he’s not the tallest of bikers but also and mainly because his first passion was for road racing. “CR” is fast and has spent most of his riding career at over 200km/h. He is in fact a Superbike specialist and he competed twice in the legendary Isle of Man TT: close to 60kms of speed madness with its 250 turns. The Isle of Man TT is very far from the deserts of the Dakar. He also raced AMA Superbike for many years. He also has experience in the Baja 1000 and 500. Even with all of that, CR admits that he’s not a real dirt bike specialist. So when he accepted to do the Dakar, he moved to Pahrump, Nevada in a camper van. Very far from his hometown of Charlotte, CR logged in 1000’s of kms in the deserts of Nevada on his Husqvarna. He says that his first attempt will be a learning experience and just wants to ride and finish the rally. One thing to know about CR, is that he is a very calculated individual. He does everything for a reason and usually to be more efficient so he can concentrate on the more important things, like riding the motorcycle.
In his own words, CR says, “I first started thinking about coming to the Dakar in 2008. In 2010, I tried again but had no funding. I was getting bored of circuit racing. I wanted to do the Dakar because it’s a monument of motorcycle racing.” One of CR’s goals is to be known for racing in a diversity motorcycle disciplines. When CR was accepted in the race back in June, he made the decision to move to Nevada to train. He rented a camper van and left Charlotte, North Carolina. CR didn’t grow up on dirt bikes so he felt living in the desert was the answer for training for the Dakar.
On the roads, he’s fast, but in the sand dunes, he struggles. Jimmy Lewis introduced him to the Nevada desert (just outside of Las Vegas) and its perfect for training. Riding a Husqvarna, he’s on a three-year deal with the Dakar Rally. His biggest worries are the technical parts of the course that burn your energy. This year, Cr’s goal is to try to finish. Quinn Cody told advised him not to race it, but to ride and understand the nuances of finishing the Dakar.
Enter Doc Edwards. CR came to me about 4 months before the Dakar Rally was going to start. He approached with a unique question. He said that he is getting used to riding 100’s of kms, working on his bikes, getting the fitness to handle the Dakar, but he said the one thing he could not figure out was the nutrition.
Since I have worked extensively with riders during the Dakar on fitness and nutrition, I agreed to take him on and teach him how I thought he should handle his nutrition.
Dialing in the nutrition for a long endurance event like the Dakar Rally is not as easy as telling someone to eat this or eat that. It encompasses so much more and to get it right, that person really has to know themselves and be willing to adopt eating strategies they might not have ever thought of before.
The first thing we did was take away his carbohydrates to lessen his dependence on carbs. He was scratching his head about this one at first, since during his superbike days, all he ever did was eat sandwiches and drink Gatorade. Went over the plan and he agreed to give it a try. The goal was to decrease his dependence on carbohydrates to force his body to use his own body’s fat more efficiently as fuel. Once I explained that the body has about 100,000 calories of fuel to burn, he seemed interested. And when I told him that his focus and safety on the motorcycle would improve by doing this diet, he was even more on board.
I told him to eat about 25 to 50 grams per day for the first month and I warned him that he would feel like crap the first two weeks. If you have ever tried to ration out what 50 grams of carbs is for one day, it might be a little hard to imagine for those eating the standard American diet. One bowl of rice or one snickers bar or one coke has about 50 grams of carbs. So immediately he stopped the sodas. I had him start each morning with 3 to 4 eggs and bacon or steak. He took his coffee as normal and even a cappuccino. For lunch he would stop at the Primm Denny’s restaurant and get a salad with steak. And for dinner he would eat a huge salad with fish and veggies. The trick for CR was constantly staying in touch with me about what he could eat and not eat. He was surprised to learn about something that had carbs in them that he thought did not have carbs.
On the bike, he still ate things like a sports bar and a protein drink when he needed it. The first 2 weeks was a little hard but he soldiered through and started seeing results. Then he started to come around and immediately saw the weight loss. Then slowly he started to see that he could go longer on the rides and not need the carbs. His focus and energy started to increase. He would describe that he had more energy than he knew what to do with. This was funny from a guy who is already as motivated as he is.
His first setback was that he experienced pretty bad cramps on a long ride. He admitted that he did not drink like he should have. But I told him it made sense and that is a sign he was no longer carb dependent. And that when on a lower carb diet, cramps can occur because the body gets rid of certain electrolytes easier and naturally decreases blood pressure. By supplementing with magnesium and eating more greens and staying better on his hydration, he never experienced the cramps again.
He really started to feel good on the long rides and started figuring out the types of proteins and such he wanted to take during the rides. His nutrition was finally coming together about mid-November. So he needed about 2 months to start really noticing what a low carb diet could do for him and how to plan his nutrition. About this time, CR complained to me that he had to buy new pants because the old ones were literally falling off. What was obvious, was that he kept his muscle and lost a lot of the fat he was carrying.
About 4 weeks before the Dakar Rally started, we added in some carbs back into the diet, especially during the longer rides and after the ride. Breakfast and dinner were still low carb. We know the body still needs both carbs and fat to perform, so the time was right and he really felt good with the regimen.
Then we added Tianchi into the mix and he decided these would go best just before the special. Tianchi is a package of Chinese adaptogenic herbs that help focus, recovery, decrease stress levels. I told him nothing about the effects and let CR try them, and he came to the decision on his own to include them in his regimen.
Then we played with the synthetic ketones. Ketones are basically the bits of energy from fat metabolism. The ketones were another thing that helped focus and kept CR in a fat burning mode. We decided that it would be best to take them in mid-morning to make sure his body was in a fat burning mode. Basically the ketones allowed him to burn fat and take in carbs as well -in his words.
Finally, he found a high calorie protein powder that went down really well and did not upset his stomach. He took a couple of concentrated electrolyte liquids called the “The Right Stuff” to be sure that he did not cramp. He could easily put this in his drink mix bladders each day and not contaminate them with drink mix.
Before the Dakar he was all set. He was confident that there was no chance of bonking.