The Tour de France — the race that Lance Armstrong won and then lost seven times — requires strength, endurance, mental fortitude, and apparently a Chris Farley-like ability to consume extremely large quantities of food in short periods of time. Competitors in the 2,200-mile bike race are advised to take in between 6,000 and 9,000 calories a day (they can burn up to 1,000 per hour). For reference: that's 10 pints of Ben and Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream; 23 McDonalds Filet-O-Fish Sandwiches; 90 individual containers of Chobani Blackberry Greek Yogurt; or 15 12-inch Frito Chicken Enchilada Melts from Subway.
Just in case you're wondering, the average "moderately active" male aged 26-30 should take in 2,600 calories per day and a female 2,000 according to the U.S.D.A.
To accommodate these unusual dietary habits, teams have their own personal chefs — Sean Fowler has been documenting the gluten-free diet he prepares for the Garmin Sharp Cycling Team on Twitter and it's amazing — as well as specialized support vehicles that trail them, handing out energy bars and snacks while they're riding.
So, along with, you know, the biking and all, Tour de France riders must master an under-appreciated part of professional cycling: the art of eating while biking.
Here are a few images of competitors from this year's Tour eating and riding. (If you've ever snuck a Cliff Bar into Soul Cycle you know how hard this is).
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland straight up sucking mayo out of a deli sandwich. On a bike. Regular people just can't do that.
Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, the likely winner, is also winning at eating this burrito.
Yukiya Arashiro of Japan casually inhaling energy gel. NBD.
Okay this is a picture of Andy Schleck of Luxembourg from 2010 but it doesn't make it any less badass that he's eating donut while competing in a professional sport.
Spain's Alberto Contador corn-on-the-cobbing this banana.