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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Mileage for food/water on a ride

    Being of the over-50 persuasion I thought I should ask this here. Is there a rule of thumb you follow for taking food with you on a ride? If you know you'll be gone longer than an hour, 2 hours, or any length at all (in case you end up riding much longer than you planned)?

    And, how much water do you try to consume in an hour in moderate temperatures? We always drink before we leave and take a bottle on each bike.

    We're still trying to figure out what works best for us.... just looking for typical habits of 50+ riders and what works best for them.
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    I carry 2 Clif Bars and a couple of gels for food. Water is in a hydration pack that holds 70 oz. I also have 2 cages on my bike to carry some Gatorade should I want. I drink when I feel the need, never much at a time to avoid stomach discomfort. I almost always have water left over.

  3. #3
    The Grampster tlc20010's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    Being of the over-50 persuasion I thought I should ask this here. Is there a rule of thumb you follow for taking food with you on a ride? If you know you'll be gone longer than an hour, 2 hours, or any length at all (in case you end up riding much longer than you planned)?

    And, how much water do you try to consume in an hour in moderate temperatures? We always drink before we leave and take a bottle on each bike.

    We're still trying to figure out what works best for us.... just looking for typical habits of 50+ riders and what works best for them.
    You will get all sorts of opinions about this one....here is mine: for less than an hour, I just make do with what I ate/drank before hand. Longer than that, I try to eat something each hour (fruit, bar, pb crackers, whatever you like) and drink 2-3 times an hour. The rule of thumb is drink when you get thirsty and eat before you get hungry.
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I try to drink a bottle an hour and I feel I need more than that, the longer I go. In four hours I drink probably 10 to 12 bottles. I read a while ago if you wait until you are thirsty it's to late. I'm guilty of drinking too little and I can really feel it. As far as food I really don't eat much. I'll have a bowl of Total at about 7 am when I leave and maybe an energy bar later, but most of the time not. I'll eat when I get back home, or around noon. When I skimped on water, it felt like an anchor came out after 2 hours. Anyhow that's what I do, good luck.
    George

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    We go on these Rail to Trails. They got a water station at least every 10 miles. I drink a .75 liter bottle water depending on temperatures, my wife drinks more and that got her into trouble. Mixing it with Gatorade or equivalent is the best advise.
    Food intake is a question what you eat before the ride. I have a very big oatmeal plus apple turnover to do 25 miles, a snack (power-bar or equivalent) and do the next 25 miles.
    Good advise is 250-300 calories/hour.

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    If I'm riding 20 miles or less I eat before I leave, fill both 28oz. bottles with water and go.

    For longer rides I take a PBJ sandwich, fruit bars, fig bars, etc. one 28oz. bottle water-one 28oz. bottle 50/50 water/Gatorade.

    Typical 50/60 mile ride: stop at about 20~ mi. eat PBJ and refill water bottle if needed, now I begin alternating sips of Gatorade mix with water chaser as I ride. Stop at 40~mi. eat fig bars or fruit bars-refill water bottle(s) if needed. The last 10 or 20 miles...I nibble as needed to complete the ride.

    My routes are mostly tried and tested, I know where all the water fill-ups and towns with stores are if I need to improvise.

    The above is based on a summer ride, temps in 80's.

    All my rides, these days, start from home and none are longer than about 65 miles.

  7. #7
    Yen
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    Thanks everyone. Sounds like about 20 miles is the magic number for food. For us so far, that is after two hours, or if we don't leave early enough in the morning and postpone breakfast later than usual. In addition to meeting the body's basic requirements, everyone needs to find the best balance that works for them.

    Here's a site where I've been reading ..... I'm wondering what your thoughts are about this. Maybe it will help those of you who are preparing for a big event.
    Cycling Performance Tips - Basic Nutrition Plan
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    Thanks everyone. Sounds like about 20 miles is the magic number for food. For us so far, that is after two hours, or if we don't leave early enough in the morning and postpone breakfast later than usual. In addition to meeting the body's basic requirements, everyone needs to find the best balance that works for them.

    Here's a site where I've been reading ..... I'm wondering what your thoughts are about this. Maybe it will help those of you who are preparing for a big event.
    Cycling Performance Tips - Basic Nutrition Plan
    I like the cptips guy. He seems conservative and logical and provides good basic advice. For rides over 30 miles, I take food and electrolyte replenishment. Under 30 miles, plain water. The key is to stay ahead of your glucose, electrolyte and water requirements.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Remember that you are still newish to the cycling game and you don't know what will hit you. Water bottle an hour is my rule of thumb and if hotter- then more water. Ride of longer than 3 hours and it is an additive in the water for electrolites aswell. On the food side- I always carry a cereal bar or something like a snickers with me for short rides. May not want it, but by far the best thing to do is find a cafe- for food and coffee. Makes the rides more enjoyable. Now when you start doing rides lasting more than 3 hours- it is different again so Come back again for the best things to have on the breakfast front- In the cafe of course- outside watching the sea and life roll by.
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    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Yen.....always keep a few gels in your saddle bag. Drink consistently even if you don't feel thirsty. [Where I live it's hot all summer so I'm very conscious of fluid.] Find a replacement drink that works for you (lots of threads on that one) and regularly visit the Training and Nutrition department at BF....but take along some skepticism because sometimes they serve some baloney there!

    Eat something-- chocolate mile, peanuts and raisins, fruit, some cereal, whatever when you return in order to replace what you've burned, etc. and so you won't do a post hard ride droop. For meals to eat before you ride...lots of variation (and threads) there so experiment. Your tummy and your feeling of energy will be your best teacher for what works.

    And you "have to" bonk or dehydrate a bit at least once so you'll appreciate the need to pay attention to eating and drinking.

    **and be glad you didn't start years ago when local riders would de-fizz coke the night before for an energy drink.

  11. #11
    Yen
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    Thank you for the additional tips. I visit the Training and Nutrition forum too.... very intersting there, but I was wondering what the 50+ bunch may do differently given our age and all. I'm planning to buy the book Cycling after 50.... no doubt he offers specific recommendations for us. I have a nursing background so the health and nutrition aspect of this is very important to me.

    Today we rode a little over 20 miles. We took 2 Kashi bars with us but ended up stopping at the bagel shop as usual. I had a whole wheat bagel (toasted) with peanut butter on the side, Hubby had an egg wrap bagel. We also shared a large fresh fruit cup (watermelon, red grapes, strawberries, cantaloup and honeydew), plus coffee. It's only a few miles from there to home, but after we ate our legs felt like lead. We both agreed that from now on we'll split one bagel w/p-nut butter and fruit, and maybe save the coffee for after we get home. We'll save a little money that way too. We could have just stopped to eat the bars, but we really enjoy this one stop at the bagel shop with the outdoor patio, and do it only one day a week. Anyway.... as soon as we returned home I ate 1/2 banana and a Kashi bar and drank more water. I'll eat some cottage cheese and fruit for lunch. Hubby was too full to eat.... another reason we'll eat lighter at the bagel shop next time. We should have drank more water.... went through only one bottle for 2 hours. We need to work on that. I am one who will crash after refined carbs (unless immediately preceeded by a full, well-balanced meal) so complex carbs are a must for me.
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    I go 20-30-miles without much of anything. A sip of water - maybe 1/2 of a bottle. Over 30 miles, I tend to pay a little more attention to my hydration and nourishment - maybe a banana or something like that. For longer rides I plan much more carefully.

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    Ti #18 Senior.
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    Drink about every thirty minutes - fuel about once per hour. Works for me.

    Jim

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    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Under a couple of hours I don't eat. About once an hour on a longer ride. I start sipping water at the first coasting section and drink about a bottle every hour. More if it is hot or I'm riding harder than normal. Someone said drink when you are thirsty. That would be too late.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    T I had a whole wheat bagel (toasted) with peanut butter on the side, Hubby had an egg wrap bagel. We also shared a large fresh fruit cup (watermelon, red grapes, strawberries, cantaloup and honeydew), plus coffee. It's only a few miles from there to home, but after we ate our legs felt like lead. .
    You might try on your next ride nibbling as you go rather than taking on heavy cargo. For a ride you anticipate will be long, keep taking in calories at reasonably regular intervals but not in huge amounts at once. For myself, I would avoid a full meal, though that does seem to work for some people. Burp!

    Dnvr
    above suggested 30 miles as his need to eat benchmark. I did a leisurely 45 this morning on a light breakfast, Cytomax replacement drink, and a gel pack.

    Anyway, eating and riding go together...... during a longish ride eat regularly but sparingly--- and maybe save the taco/chimichanga chow down for a glorious meal afterwards in which you several times point out to Hubby how you beat him to the top of the hill.

  16. #16
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I don't think I've ever eaten anything at under 25 miles - and for me that is over 2 hours.

    As to water, as Will said, there's always water nearby on the Wisconsin rail trails. It's 8 miles from my house to the Belleville water fountain, another 8 to the Monticello water fountain, from there it is 6 miles to New Glarus, 10 miles to Albany, and some similar number to Monroe, all with water. So I don't need to carry much water. I usually start with a 16 oz bottle and then fill up (usually about 4 oz) at each town. Each town also has places where you can get Gatorade, so no need to carry that either.

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    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    I drink a lot more than I eat. Gatorade works well for me at both hydration and keeping energy levels reasonable. When it's hot I drink at least a bottle an hour, better two. If I know it's going going to be long and or hot, I drink a good load before I leave. I can't eat much when I'm riding either, especially protein and fat, a chicken sandwich on a hot day riding proved that to my personal satisfaction. Bananas work, and so do other carbs, snackwell, peanut butter cookies, power bar or something similar sits better on my stomach. Not much at a time though. Those gel things they sell at the bike shops work too, plus they taste great.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  18. #18
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    I never leave for a ride, even a short one, without putting an energy bar in my pocket. Always a water bottle and almost always a bottle of Gatorade. One never knows for sure what the ride will be like. I sometimes set out, alone, just to do a quick 15-20 miles and end up doing 30. If you were out in the boonies (which I usually am), a mechanical problem could be an hour delay.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I've only been in the 50 category since March, so it's still a bit new to me

    My cutoff is more like 40. I also don't stop for a rest break unless I'm going more than 40 miles. It's not like I couldn't use a little nourishment, but I don't want to have to stop to eat at that distance. I haven't had a problem yet.

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    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    I bring 2 pints of water and 2 energy bars for every ride. Stop sometimes to pick berries alongside trails to add fresh fruit nutrition. With my average ride mostly in the 50 mile range, I also refill the water bottles along paths with water fountain. I seem to notice my hudration schedule at every every hour.

  21. #21
    Yen
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    Thanks everyone. It sounds like we all need to do what works best for us. I am used to eating often (breakfast, lunch, dinner with a snack in between each meal, and another one after dinner -- yogurt w/fruit -- if I am hungry again) so going more than 20 miles pushes it for me, or pushes it too far beyond my normal breakfast time....

    A couple of weeks ago when I felt really hot and we left without food, I really regretted it. That's the first time I wanted to eat so early in the ride, and the first time I felt so hot on a ride. We had plenty of water, and it was still morning, but I just wanted to get back home.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Here is a specific from yesterday:
    1. Drank a 16 oz cup of coffee with cream and sugar.
    2. Drank 16 oz of Gatorade
    3. Left for a ride to who knows where.
    4. Decided to ride about 15 miles to the next town. Drank a 24 oz bottle of gatorade on the way.
    5. Got hungry. Had breakfast of one pancake and two eggs over easy, two cups of restaurant coffee (not quite yuck, but not very good really) and two glasses of water.
    6. Headed towards home.
    7. Had a flat tire and fixed it.
    8. Rode the rest of the way home, drank another 24 oz bottle of gatorade on the way and was wishing I had filled my other now empty bottle back at the restaurant.
    9. By the time I got home, I was getting dehydrated. Was noticably thirsty and felt a lot better after downing about three glasses of water, probably around 36 ounces total.

    Assuming the restaurant coffee cups were 6 ounces each and the water glass was 12 ounces each, and counting the 36 oz of water I slammed when I got home, that is 152 ounces of liquid to get me 30 miles with one nature call at the restaurant.

    It was about 90 when I left and upper 90's when I got back in. When it is sunny, hot and humid, you really go through the fluids!
    Last edited by Terrierman; 07-16-07 at 04:04 PM.
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