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Stories & Tips

We were born to explore. To be curious, to overcome challenges and push limits. These are the experiences that connect us, inspire us and move the world.

We were born to explore. To be curious, to overcome challenges and push limits. These are the experiences that connect us, inspire us and move the world.

ALL STORIES

FUELING TIPS

Pro Marathon tips for Race Day Success from Olympian Dayna Pidhoresky

Are you getting ready to run your marathon? Our Ambassador Dayna Pidhoresky is here with her 3 top tips to help you prep for the big day. Dayna Pidhoresky raced at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic with Team Canada. Se won the 2022 BMO Vancouver Marathon breaking the course record.
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GOING THE DISTANCE

Cycling across Canada with Vincent Nadon

Vincent has taken on the challenge to cross Canada by bikepacking from East to West. More than 6000km just by the strength of his legs on his bike. It's in Europe that his adventure started...

Vincent Nadon crossing canada by bike - Näak ultra distance

My friends in Belgium (where I started my Ph.D. and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2015) gave me the challenge to cross Canada by bike as I was going back home in Quebec.

In 2018, I have decided that it was time for me to experience life in a different way after living 3 years with a Crohn’s disease diagnosis.  I was fed up with the difficulties of completing a Ph.D. (I did complete the Ph.D. after the trip) and felt it was a good time before my life could change further with Crohn’s (colostomy, malabsorption of nutrients, etc.) and couldn’t achieve this challenge anymore.

 Cycling across Canada with Vincent Nadon - Näak ultra distance

This is why I have decided to start fundraising for the Crohn’s and colitis Canada foundation along this trip. A race against IBD! However, my life tipped again when I got a flare of Crohn’s at the end of 2017 while preparing for the trip.

I had to attack the problem quickly before departure so that I could achieve this dream. So in May, I saw my gastroenterologist in an emergency state. He suggested changing medication to go with my first biologic treatment ever, Stelara.

 

After getting my second colonoscopy within 3 years, my doctor saw there was still inflammation in my intestines despite boosting my system with Imuran (Azathioprine) and Prednisone (Cortisone). He therefore strongly suggested I take Stelara, which I did. I got my first intravenous dose in the week before departure.

My doctor prescribed me some Prednisone that would taper down through the trip, fingers crossed that the whole medication cocktail would work to get my legs spinning all the way through the trip. 

Cycling across Canada with Vincent Nadon - Näak ultra distance

To prepare for this challenge I had started training with a coach planning during 1 intense month for ultra-cycling races in the previous cycling season (2017).I have completed my first Ultra Défi 1000km with 10 000m+ of elevation gain in 2017. Early in the 2018 season, I started strong finishing 2nd place in a 12h ultra-cycling race.

To make sure my mental would survive, I have trained in all kinds of conditions: wet, cold, hot, dry, windy, during the night and any combination of conditions.

In 6085 kilometers, Vincent has seen landscapes! A journey strewn with encounters and moments forever etched in his memory... 

Cycling across Canada with Vincent Nadon - Näak ultra distance

I have suffered from knee injury throughout the trip. For which I have tried a few things such as physio tape to relieve the pain, which helped, but did not make it completely disappear. It took me over a year to recover completely from this injury.
My Queen stage which started with a hot Revelstoke climb was an amazing day, but also amongst the hardest. I got stung by a wasp. Saw a few mountain sheeps on a cliff. Finished the day with 200km and 3000m elevation gain, all wet (with the rain) in Golden, BC.
Cycling across Canada with Vincent Nadon - Näak ultra distance
Another memorable moment was when I was going towards Waterfowl Lake on the Icefields parkway. It was raining, cold and my knee injury was really painful. The journey to the camping seemed endless. The next day it was super sunny, I could see the reflection of the blue lakes from far away.
I crossed paths with a tour guide that offered me a buffet in the back of the Guide Van. After starving for several hours, since I did not have much food with me at that moment, this was one of the best moments of the trip, if not of my life… A FREE BUFFET!!!
I have completed my challenge in 33 days (with 3 days off the bike) and fundraised 8500$ for the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation.
Cycling across Canada with Vincent Nadon - Näak ultra distance 

I like to discover local restaurants when I can. I feel it is part of the cultural experience that is mandatory. Crohn’s disease does limit me in what I can eat, I was avoiding most spicy foods and anything too heavy in fibers. I tend to avoid fried foods generally so that I feel good on the bike. Otherwise, I ate whatever I felt like depending on my cravings (Intuitive eating).

I also carried various snacks with me: energy bars (as many Näak bars as I could carry with me on the plane), protein bars, nut mix, candies, jerky, BC cherries and blueberries.

Cycling across Canada with Vincent Nadon - Näak ultra distance

I have learned many things about myself (resilience, courage, and to always listen to my feelings i.e. my guts) and people surrounding me through this trip. I still can not believe to this day how my fellow Canadians can be caring for each other and welcoming me in their home.

It was an amazing experience that helped me get away from my anxiogenic environment for a moment, to recover and come back in peace. People often ask me if I’d do it again. I always answer YES! The trip was perfect as is though, I don’t think I could have enjoyed it more (besides riding less in the night to see more landscape).

This was my first real bikepacking trip and not the last. It inspired me to complete my 2nd bikepacking trip in Taïwan, more details about this trip are in this blog post. I have a race and bikepacking trip in Iceland coming up in July 2022, stay tuned!

More details about Vincent's A-Crohn's Canada biketrip are available on thevelocitynerd.com.

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COMPANY

Näak Co-Founders: Questions Answered About The Future Of Sports Nutrition

Minh Pham and William Walcker started Näak in 2016 with the mission to build the most efficient and sustainable fuel for ultra endurance athletes. The company just launched Näak's first liquid energy product, the Ultra Energy™ Drink Mixes.

What is the future of sports nutrition?

William: “I believe the future of sports nutrition for ultra distances is liquid, especially for pro athletes. Running and biking ultra distances is becoming more and more popular, and the competition has increased a lot in the past few years."

"We developed a strong knowledge over the years on how protein, and specifically EAAs and BCAAs, is essential for optimal endurance performance."

Minh: "Hydration is key. It’s the difference between success and failure. We recognized in our community that there was a need for something different and we listened. Our pro athletes said they were missing a key element in their hydration for ultra distances. After years of research and development, we created a state-of-the-art drink mix for ultra endurance athletes."

Näak ultra energy drink mix - co-founders william walcker minh-anh pham

What makes the Ultra Energy™ Drink Mixes a game changer? 

William: "The liquid products currently on the market contain only carbs and/or electrolytes, which is not sufficient to sustain efforts over 3/4 hours.

At Näak, we developed a strong knowledge over the years on how protein, and specifically EAAs and BCAAs, is essential for optimal endurance performance.

"We're bringing the knowledge and secrets from the world's best ultra endurance athletes to the amateurs."

There are many scientific articles proving this point. With Näak Ultra Energy™ Drink Mix, we managed to make the first endurance fuel for long distance that contains all the nutrients you need to fuel your race 100% on liquid.” 

Näak ultra energy drink mix watermelon lime

Minh: "We’ve been working for a long time on a liquid product made specifically for ultra endurance athletes. I think we met the challenge of having a product that is both performant and delicious, tasty without being too sweet, and that can keep you going for long hours without feeling sick.

Before, no hydration product combined both electrolytes and proteins.

More than the product itself, it is the product development process that I am most proud of. We worked closely with our professional athletes and sports nutritionists since day one to understand how to improve hydration for ultra endurance athletes.

Our pro athletes were taking proteins (EAAs, BCAAs) separately from their hydration during their ultra endurance races to delay muscle fatigue and increase endurance. Before, no hydration product combined both electrolytes and proteins.

Näak co-founders william walcker minh-anh pham

So our team came up with a new liquid energy concept that combines all in one: hydration, carbohydrates, EAAs (essential amino acids) and BCAAs all together in one complete nutrition product.

We learn a lot from our professional athletes who are very picky with what they eat.

The difficulty was to make something delicious with the right texture, and it was a lot of trials and errors with Greg - our Director of Innovation -, our product team and the professional athletes to develop the Ultra Energy™ Drink Mix we have today."

Why sports nutrition is key to performance?

Minh: "Nutrition plays a key role in the execution of ultra endurance races at any level of competition. We learn a lot from our professional athletes who are very picky with what they eat. They build nutrition strategies that are vital to delay or minimize fatigue during distances up to 100 miles or 24h races. At Näak, we're bringing the knowledge and secrets from the world's best ultra endurance athletes to the amateurs.

William: "Nutrition is starting to be taken really seriously because athletes now understand how much of a difference it makes when you have the right nutrition strategy.

Liquid and semi liquid nutrition are a lot easier to get down during long and intense efforts. The challenge is to be able to fit in all the nutrients you need and I think we solved this problem with the Näak Drink Mixes."

william walcker Näak co-founder

What is your mantra?

Minh: "Only those who can see the invisible can make the impossible."

William: “They didn't know it was impossible, so they made it.”

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PODCAST ULTRA DISTANCE

Episode 1 | Mathieu Blanchard - Expédition Uapapunan

Mathieu a parcouru 250km à -40°C en ski pulka dans l'Oeil du Québec

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FUELING TIPS

Näak Ultra Energy™ Science

Näak's Ultra Energy™ science was developed to meet the specific needs of ultra endurance Athletes. The idea is simple: the ingestion of a few macronutrients such as carbohydrates and electrolytes is not enough after a few hours of effort, you need a complete approach to perform further and longer. A BLEND OF NATURAL IN
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FUELING TIPS

Coffee and Sport, a Testimonial from Näak Ambassador: Reid Burrows

Reid Burrows writes, runs and loves. And overall he drinks coffee!
In his article, discover our coffee-loving ambassador who will never go on an adventure without his coffee beans.

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English