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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-14-08, 02:06 PM   #1
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When to add breaks/food to training rides?

As I start hitting longer distances in my training rides I'm wondering when should I start thinking about taking breaks and bringing food. As of right now I don't bring any food I just bring my 2 23oz water bottles. My last ride was 20 miles and I still felt good the next day but its been raining since then. I have been slowing to about a 8-10mph soft peddle every 5 to 7 miles and taking some water and bringing my HR down a little then back up to 15+mph again. I'm trying to loose weight so I don't want to take in too much food but I don't want to over do it either.

I found a group that has a metric and standard century ride in September and I'm working to at least get to metric ability before then. For that reason I want to know whats best for training.
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Old 03-14-08, 02:29 PM   #2
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For rides of less than 2 hours, I never need food, but will drink water or maybe have a gatorade/powerade type of a drink. I take banana/fig newtons/clif bars or something similar if it is going to be more than 2 hours. I hope that is of some help.
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Old 03-14-08, 03:10 PM   #3
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When I started riding longer distances I pushed further than planned each time because I felt fitter on each ride but each time it was not a planned increase. I kept extending distance until I had a terrible experience. I bonked. Don't be fooled that you can ride further without feeling more tired. If you run out of energy it is a sudden change. One minute I felt I could add another 10 miles and the next minute I just had to stop or pass out.

It was the first and only time I experienced it and now I plan the night before the food and drink to take. What works for me (on rides over 3 hours) is a banana just before I set off, one fig newton every half hour after the first hour, drinking small amounts of water at least every 15 mins or more often if I feel thirsty and a bottle of energy drink small amounts every now and again after the first hour. I have to remember to eat the fig newtons because if I feel hungry it is already too late.

By the way, I don't know what fig newtons look like (hence how big they are) as I haven't seen them in shops here but I get fig rolls which I'm assuming is the same. Each one is one mouthful. That reminds me..i better go get some for tomorrow mornings ride.
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Old 03-14-08, 03:27 PM   #4
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As a general rule, take a power bar, gel pack... about every 20 min. It will keep your energy up.

I don't always follow the above. I usually only take something when I start feeling weak. You should do it a little sooner though.
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Old 03-14-08, 03:38 PM   #5
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I can go 25-30 with just water (I eat a PB and honey an hour before takeoff) and when I get home I eat a banana. I keep some Kashi bars in my trunk in case I get hungry or dizzy.
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Old 03-14-08, 05:06 PM   #6
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I guess for now I will just keep some energy food of some sort in my tool pouch under the saddle for emergency's until I get to the point where I feel like I need to start eating each ride. As it is now I'm a little hungry and worn out when I get home but nothing bad. I have only had one bad episode and that was when I went on a morning ride before breakfast. I got a call on my cell and had to double time it home. I pushed hard and when I did get home I felt so weak and light headed and could barely stand. I had to eat and lay down for about an hour. I'm guessing this is what your saying when you refer to 'bonking'?
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Old 03-14-08, 05:12 PM   #7
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That was a bonk, or an incipient bonk....yeah. The real bonk beast hits and you can't even think straight.
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Old 03-14-08, 05:22 PM   #8
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I think it varies from person to person. When I went riding on the Trinity Trails a while back, I forgot to eat breakfast, and then didn't eat lunch until about 12:30 or 1:00. I was tired and that Subway sandwich sure was good, but I didn't bonk, either. But my wife gets 10 minutes past food time, and she's gotta have something or collapse.

On my weekend rides of about an hour and half, I don't take food. I usually eat a snack and drink a soda beforehand, though.
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Old 03-14-08, 05:28 PM   #9
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I'm in the camp that doesn't worry about food for rides that are in the 2 hour or less range. For that length I will eat something like a banana just before the ride, but once I'm rolling, I just drink water. And speaking of water, you might want to try to drink more often than every 5-7 miles. Depending on the temperature, I will take a swig or two every 5-10 minutes. This way my system is steadily processing small quantities of water instead of filling up with a huge amount taken at longer intervals.
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Old 03-14-08, 05:38 PM   #10
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I don't starve my self for water that just seems to be what my body wants. I could try and drink smaller more often and see how that goes though but I haven't really felt a problem there, or maybe I just don't realize something isn't right. I guess if I was a health expert I would probably be in better shape right?
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Old 03-14-08, 06:43 PM   #11
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I always carry something. Never know when you'll want to add some miles.

If it's less than an hour, no food.
1-2 hours, maybe a banana or something.
2+ hours, eat a small snack right before leaving and stay on top of the fuel from the get go with ~200kCal/hr. of food.
4+ hours, include something substantial like a sandwich.

You should be constantly hydrating, preferably with something that compensates for electrolyte loss, and balance those calories out on the food side.

Upon return home from:
Rides of higher intensity less than 2 hours, bowl of quality cereal.
Longer rides, a lot of water, sandwich, and for the salt, a pickle. V8 juice is great if you can stand it.

Lastly, don't diet on the bike. Eat well and properly like any one else should.
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Old 03-14-08, 09:58 PM   #12
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That was a bonk, or an incipient bonk....yeah. The real bonk beast hits and you can't even think straight.
Been there for sure. I don't eat during a ride less than 2 hrs or 1.5 if it is uber muggy-hot. I usually just take water during cooler months, but will use Heed drink mix made by Hammer in the warm to hot months as well as take some electrolyte pills if it is really hot and I am producing massive amounts of sweat and the heat and humidity are really nasty. As far as food while in the seat, it's been said before, but fig newtons are the bomb. I have also taken a couple of kashi bars and some snow peas. The snow peas are great cause they are thin and have a sweet flavor have a bunch of iron and potassium.

No matter what, I typically will yogurt and some berries with a large glass of milk after I get done.
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Old 03-14-08, 11:18 PM   #13
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As a general rule, take a power bar, gel pack... about every 20 min. It will keep your energy up.

I don't always follow the above. I usually only take something when I start feeling weak. You should do it a little sooner though.
Every 20 minutes??? Jesus Christ....is this the olympics?

Maybe if your out for more than an hour you should bring along a little something...
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Old 03-15-08, 03:53 AM   #14
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As a general rule, take a power bar, gel pack... about every 20 min. It will keep your energy up.

I don't always follow the above. I usually only take something when I start feeling weak. You should do it a little sooner though.
20 min or 20 miles?

Figuring you meant miles.
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Old 03-15-08, 06:07 AM   #15
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I'm with the nothing for under 2 hour rides camp. If I'm going to ride really hard, I might eat something beforehand though.

After the first 3-4 hours though, and I generally stop at every gas station for ice cream until I'm done. Some people ride long distances for fitness, I ride long distances for ice cream. Thankfully there's only maybe 2-3 stops max on most of my routes.
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Old 03-15-08, 06:21 AM   #16
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After the first 3-4 hours though, and I generally stop at every gas station for ice cream until I'm done. Some people ride long distances for fitness, I ride long distances for ice cream. Thankfully there's only maybe 2-3 stops max on most of my routes.
Ice cream rides, LOL!!! A new twist on riding for pie. I love ice cream, and would be significantly lighter if I used my will power and avoided it, but the thought of eating ice cream during a ride makes me ill.
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Old 03-15-08, 06:37 AM   #17
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As I start hitting longer distances in my training rides I'm wondering when should I start thinking about taking breaks and bringing food. As of right now I don't bring any food I just bring my 2 23oz water bottles. My last ride was 20 miles and I still felt good the next day but its been raining since then. I have been slowing to about a 8-10mph soft peddle every 5 to 7 miles and taking some water and bringing my HR down a little then back up to 15+mph again. I'm trying to loose weight so I don't want to take in too much food but I don't want to over do it either.

I found a group that has a metric and standard century ride in September and I'm working to at least get to metric ability before then. For that reason I want to know whats best for training.
You can overdo fueling, as I've found out on tour. Twice I've been nauseated by riding after large breakfasts. So watch what you take in.

On a long ride, I like to stop and eat after about 20 miles or so. I usually consume a Clif Bar, a banana, or some carob snacks I get from my local organic foods store.

As for getting to metric ability, you should be able to get to there by June. I did.
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Old 03-15-08, 08:58 AM   #18
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Ice cream rides, LOL!!! A new twist on riding for pie. I love ice cream, and would be significantly lighter if I used my will power and avoided it, but the thought of eating ice cream during a ride makes me ill.
Even better, pie AND ice cream.

All kidding aside though, when I was a teenager (30 years ago), we would ride from the south end of our town, to the north end of the next town, for the best ice cream in the region. Probably about 20 miles each way, you take your lunch, have lunch in the park across from the ice cream store, then have a cone, and ride home.
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Old 03-15-08, 10:14 AM   #19
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As a general rule, take a power bar, gel pack... about every 20 min. It will keep your energy up.

I don't always follow the above. I usually only take something when I start feeling weak. You should do it a little sooner though.
This is almost certainly way too much.

Clif Bars average 210 cal/ea. That's going to nearly triple your caloric necessity if you chomp one down every 20 minutes. Gels run about 100 cal/ea, so 3/hour is closer to what you can actually handle, but still a bit much unless you're really going for long distance and pushing yourself.

The suggestion for endurance riding is 250-300 calories per hours, but you don't usually start out in the first hour or two with knocking back powerbars and gels. Not most people I see, anyhow. Eat a good breakfast and bring your waterbottles with you. For 1.5 hours, that should hold you fine for the ride.
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Old 03-15-08, 10:30 AM   #20
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That was a bonk, or an incipient bonk....yeah. The real bonk beast hits and you can't even think straight.
Actually you can think straight, but your only thoughts at this point are that you want to throw the bike into the field, get off the bike and sit down or just lie down and do nothing. And you're brain is asking the question over and over and over again why are you doing this to yourself? Straight crazy thoughts
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Old 03-15-08, 02:16 PM   #21
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Actually you can think straight, but your only thoughts at this point are that you want to throw the bike into the field, get off the bike and sit down or just lie down and do nothing. And you're brain is asking the question over and over and over again why are you doing this to yourself? Straight crazy thoughts
Naw, your thoughts are more like, that the yahoo in the SUV that just missed you didn't and that you actually look like that squirrel you saw a mile or so back, the one that was thinner then a MacBook Air.....
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Old 03-15-08, 08:05 PM   #22
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Unfortunately it'll be mostly trial and error - which is why it's important to keep track of what you eat the day before, right before, and during as well as how you feel. Look at your percentages - too much of one thing or another may throw you off.

I personally can't fuel solely off of gels or power bars. I feel the best on long rides (4+ hrs) when I have a few burgers before setting off (aim for 1000-1500 beforehand, high fat-protein-carbs but easy on grease), a good lunch somewhere along the way (burger, sandwich, pizza - meat and carbs), with an occasional bar or gel every hour or so. With that kind of fuel I feel like I can ride for weeks on end. Your body can absorb between 250-300 calories an hour, your biggest deficits will be salt first then carbs. I personally find that if I load on carbs beforehand I burn it out quickly. The bars aren't big enough to make me feel full so all the water sloshes around if there's nothing else. Now most of this advice goes completely against convention - but it's what allowed me to ride longer, harder, and faster.
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