It has kinda become obvious to me that we spend a bunch of time talking about training, bike parts, clothing, weight loss etc but spend little if any time talking about nutrition and how important it is to overall performance.
There are some really knowledgeable guys on the board (picking on you Enthalpic, Ex, others) that have lots to offer.
You can do everything 'right' while training but if you aren't fueling the machine you are not going to make the gains you want and may actually be going backwards.
To open up the thread I told robabeatle yesterday I would comment on my on-bike nutrition. To set the stage while training last year I was in the 180 pound range, most long rides consisted of 70+ miles and 5,000 feet of climbing at a good pace so nutrition was important. I live in the south so it would often be 90+ degrees on our rides so hydration was also important.
I drink at minimum 1 bottle an hour sometimes as high as 2 if I know there is a store that I can splash and dash at. BUT you have to remember hydration doesn't start when you leave for your ride it is something you always have to be on top of. I drink at minimum 1 gallon of water a day (that is in addition to Diet Coke, Coffee, etc) and will often go as high as two gallons a day (just water).
On the bike I start eating at hour one regardless of how long I am on the bike. If I am out for a 5 hour ride this is a typical breakdown.
At hour 1 I will have a protein bar and a gel and rip open a bag of gummies.
Then starting at 1:20 I will pop a couple of gummies and continue to do so until I run out. At hour 2-2:30 I will have another protein bar, PB&J sandwich or something a little heavier.
I will open a second pack of gummies and repeat what I did at hour 1:20.
At hour 4 I will have another bar of some sort and a gel which will get me through the day.
I also started to use a product available at Complete Nutrition called 3plenish. I Start the day with one bottle of water and one of 3plenish. I then carry two individual serving (in ziploc baggies) that I mix in as I fill bottles.
I have been know to carry sandwiches (pb&j, roast beef, turkey, etc.), fig newtons, almonds, numerous protein bars, stinger waffles, etc. If you look in the musettes of pro riders you would be surprised what you will find in there.
I have often ridden with guys (my closest training partners) and gotten on them to start eating more while training/racing and though it takes a little work and reminder once you get in a regular eating schedule you will get faster, bonk less and be able to train more effectively.