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  1. #1
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    How often do you drink (hydrate) and eat on a ride?

    I am good up to about 15 right now, but improving weekly. For you guys that ride, say 20 and 50 milers, or anywhere in between:
    1) How often do you drink during a ride?
    2) Do you eat while riding, and if so, how often?
    3) At what intervals do you stop and take break(s) during the ride?

    I know this is all individual stuff, but I expect based on my age and recovery/endurance time, I I may not be doing enuf of any of three.

    Thanks for all responses.

    jcinnb
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  2. #2
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    1) As often as I need to.
    2) As often as I need to.
    3) As often as I need to.

    I may drink anywhere from 10 oz to 50 oz on a 30 mile ride depending on the ride, my intensity, and the weather. If it is sunny, there is no shade, high humidity, and it is 95 degrees, I will drink often. If it is 60 degrees, I may not get thirsty or sweat much at all.

    It is impossible to say how often or how much one should drink. However....weigh yourself before the ride and after. If you lost weight, you didn't drink enough. If you maintained or gained weight you drank enough. Every 16 oz of water = 1lb on the scale.

    Eating on the other hand. You need to eat about 100 to 200 calories every hour for rides longer than 2 hours.

    As for rest breaks. I rest as often as I feel like. On the MS150(78 miles per day, flat course, comfortable temps), I stopped every 15-20 miles. I could have rested less than that, but I was taking it easy.
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    Senior Member Garilia's Avatar
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    One thing I learned while backpacking in Colorado about 5 years ago, there's three times to drink water:

    1) When you're thirsty.
    2) When you're not thirsty
    3) Everytime inbetween!

    I already knew that living in South Florida, but I didn't have a pithy expression until some 22 year old boy scout leader in Colorado said it.
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    Over 50 mi I use Hammer Perpetuem. I can get by with fewer calories during a ride less than 50 mi. If I do 30 mi or less I don't bother with any supplemental calories.

    I like Hammer Edurolytes if the temperature is above 90.

    I drink pure water often. I think you want to drink just enough that you don't require a bathroom break.

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    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Some general rules:

    1. I try to get through about a bottle of water each 90 minutes of riding.

    2. For a ride under two hours, I don't plan on needing to eat any thing. It's really not necessary. For rides of two to four hours, I'll either stop for a quick snack, take an energy bar, or mix up a bottle of Hammer Perpetuem. If I'm doing Perpetuem, then I'm consuming calories pretty much from the start of the ride. For rides longer than 4 hours, I get more careful about nutrition, and really make sure I am consuming enough Perpetuem each hour.

    3. I take a break (restroom, refill water bottles, etc.) every 90 minutes or so. Usually these are pretty quick. If I am somewhere scenic I am stopping more frequently just to snap photos.

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    Crispy Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Water intake is very dependent on heat.

    If it's in the upper 90s to low 100s I can drink 48 to 62 oz. per hour and still lose water weight.

    If it's in the 50s or 60s 24 oz can last two hours.

    I need to start eating at 2 hours. Up till then I guess I burn glycogen. If I try to go 3 hours without eating I will bonk.

    I'm kind of old fashioned. I like bananas, fig newtons and plain water till I get bonky. Then I'll try to find a convenience store and buy some gatorade and honey buns.

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    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcinnb View Post
    I am good up to about 15 right now, but improving weekly. For you guys that ride, say 20 and 50 milers, or anywhere in between:
    1) How often do you drink during a ride?
    2) Do you eat while riding, and if so, how often?
    3) At what intervals do you stop and take break(s) during the ride?
    1) It depends on the weather. Cooler rides, not so much. Hotter rides, I take a drink every 5-10 minutes or so on a regular basis so I keep the fluids going in.

    2) It depends on the ride. I can go about 90 minutes or so before I need to eat something. If it's a long ride (>80 miles) I get sick of food after a while and I need to make myself eat every hour or so.

    3) When I'm tired or I need to eat or use the restroom. Organized rides usually have checkpoints every 15-20 miles. On my solo rides I generally stop at the same intervals.
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    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    If I am going 20-30 miles, I don't worry in the least about food intake. I take none with me and, in fact, I will often do the 30 miles before breakfast, and eat somewhere on the last leg.

    I rarely drink more than 1/2 bottle of water on a 30 miler, whenever I feel like it.

    I stop whenever I feel like it - depends on my mood that day.
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    Crispy Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    If I am going 20-30 miles, I don't worry in the least about food intake. I take none with me and, in fact, I will often do the 30 miles before breakfast, and eat somewhere on the last leg.

    I rarely drink more than 1/2 bottle of water on a 30 miler, whenever I feel like it.

    I stop whenever I feel like it - depends on my mood that day.

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    Typically three liters for a 2 hour ride (single track) in florida and about the same for a two and a half to three hour in the SE Mountains during the hot months. I sometimes run out with a few miles to go.

    About half that in the colder months. The water is spiked with about 1/4 teaspoon salt per liter for the hot months and less than half that for the colder months.

    I eat about 400 calories of fast burn carbs during a ride.

    I do another 4 or 5 hundred calories during the half-hour window after the ride. I'm ofter riding during my normal lunch period, so I definitely need the food. I'll eat a big breakfast about 4 hours before riding with a light snack a few hours before.

    Al

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Water intake varies by temperature. Typical rides in the 90s I'll drink a bottle of water every 10 to 15 miles. Maybe up to 25 when it's cooler. I have always drank lots of water, but since the radiation killed my salivary glands, I have to take swallows more frequently. I drink only water on short rides. On longer rides I'll have Gatorade or similar in one bottle and water in the other. I don't need anything to eat during a ride lest than two hours. On longer rides I like to stop every 20 to 30 miles to stretch, refill bottles and eat. I may snack on a Clif bar or fig Newtons while riding if the stops are infrequent. On organized rides with good rest stops, I usually just eat fruit, PB&J etc at the stops. I often supplement this with gels, especially on rides over 60 miles.
    I used Perpetuem when I was having a hard time eating enough to keep me going, but I didn't like it and have not used it since.
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  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I always take a bottle on every ride but if it is a ten miler to the Cafe- then I doubt that I would touch it. 20 miles and that one bottle would be gone by the 10 miles. I would start sipping after about 5 minutes and just keep sipping. Don't get the very high temps over here often but 70 deg+ and it would be at least 1 litre of water an hour- more if possible on the longer rides. And when cool- then it may be a bit less but That is the danger time- you still sweat out fluids when working hard on a bike in Cool weather. You can get fooled into thinking you don't need to drink------but you do.

    Eats and depends on the ride. Less than 2 hours and I won't eat anything--Unless it's a Pie ride to the cafe. Longer than than that and something high in Carbs- Dried fruit- cereal bars- Cake etc. and Depends on the intensity on how much I eat. I once counted how many calories I took in on a 12 hour ride I used to do. It was around 5,000. That scared me so never bothered again.

    And rest breaks- Whenever you need them. A Metric in 4 hours and it is stop at the end. 100 miler and I stop at around 60 to 65 miles. My 12 hour ride and it was every 2 hours.

    But a 50 miler at the weekends and I stop whenever I feel like it. Could be every hour or so- or may be no stops. I just let the ride dictate when I stop---And never stop for a break just before a hill- obvious really but also ride over the top of a hill. Most uphills are followed by downhills so stop at the top and the muscles get cool- then restart with a long downhill to get colder.
    Last edited by stapfam; 09-26-10 at 02:32 PM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I drink when I need to. The amount of water I carry depends on where I'm riding. If I'm unsure of being able to fill up I'll carry a full load. If I can easily refill along the way I don't start out with so much. I get really cautious when it's really hot, and make sure I take a sip or two every few minutes.

    I'm diabetic so eating while riding is all about keeping my blood sugar where it should be. I take medicine to lower my blood sugar, but riding also lowers it, so my usual problem is having it go too low while on a ride. I carry my test kit, some food, and some glucose tablets when I ride. If I eat regularly I don't usually have problems, but I go too long without food on a ride, or don't eat something right before I start, I can. I often have to pull over just to test my blood, and if it's low I have to sit, have a snack, maybe a glucose tablet or two, and wait for it to come back up.

    I usually have reasons to get off my bike at various times during a ride. If not - if I just keep pedaling for hours - I stop for a break when my butt tells me too. 15 minutes off the bike and reinvigorate one's rear pretty effectively.

  14. #14
    Pat
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    I ride with a camel back and 2 water bottles. That should last me for 50 miles even on a warm central FL morning. In what passes for winter hearabouts, the camel back alone will last me the whole way.

  15. #15
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcinnb View Post
    1) How often do you drink during a ride?
    2) Do you eat while riding, and if so, how often?
    3) At what intervals do you stop and take break(s) during the ride?
    1) Often. On a hot low humidity Arizona day I drink water like a big SUV does gas.

    2) I never eat while riding. When planning a long ride I will stop after twenty miles or so for a breakfast bar and/or banana, eat a light lunch, and do a munch stop towards middle afternoon.

    3) If the surroundings are interesting or the sun hot I break often. Want to know all the nearby shade spots? <G>
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  16. #16
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I use a Camelbak so I can constantly sip water - just using bottles doesn't work well for me. I go through at least a bottle worth of water an hour; usually more. I use Hammer Endurolytes to get the electrolytes; 1 capsule every 15 minutes or so. For calories, I use gel mixed into one of my water bottles. I calculate how long I'll be out, then add enough gel so the one bottle covers the timeframe. For a longer ride that needs protein, I'll either eat a bar, or stop and get something. Just got some protein powder recommended by a nutritionist friend, and I plan on seeing how adding that to the gel mix will work for longer rides. That and the gel might make an interesting concoction... :-/

    Hammer has some write-ups on their version of what is needed for rides of various lengths - don't know how valid their science is, since they are obviously pushing product. But there seems to be a rough consensus in the cycling community that over 2 hours requires some protein; less and you only need carbs. There is a limit on how many calories you can process per hour, so taking in more than that won't help your ride performance.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member cruisintx's Avatar
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    start by drinking about 20 oz of gator-aide on the way to starting point while in the car. then for rides up to 30 miles sip on 1 bottle of water on first half, then 1 of gator-aide on second half of ride. sips of two or three swallows every 5 to 10 minutes will empty two bottles on 30-mile ride. Usually stop at least once on short rides like that to stretch calves a bit and re-arrange bottles so the full one is easier to get at and put the empty on lowest rack.

    rides of 30 to 50 miles take the 2-liter camel back and three bottles in racks; especially if it is hot out. Use camel back and water to around half way point as before and then gator aide & water for rest of ride. sipping about same rate as for short rides.

    never even consider food on a ride less than 50 and have not done one over that yet. usually have a granola or energy bar about 30 to 40 minutes prior to riding though and sometimes have some fruit waiting for me in the car when I'm done.

  18. #18
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Over the years I have developed the habit of reaching for the water bottle (20 oz size) every ten minutes. How much I drink each time depends on temperature. This approach allows me to keep hydrated without thinking much about it. When the ride is planned as longer than two hours, the second water bottle is filled with an energy/electrolyte replacement drink. Given I usually ride with my cycle computer display showing elapsed time, the ten minute monitoring isn't hard.
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  19. #19
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    I eat when I'm hungry and drink when I am thirsty.
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  20. #20
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    I usually don't eat or drink on rides up to two hours. Usually I forget to bring the bottle. I just don't understand how some guys can drink so much on a ride. Note that this is the Pacific Northwest, where it is usually quite cool, and I'm riding in long-sleeve jersey and tights even on some summer days. Let's see, today I was on a three-hour ride. I took a half bottle of juice and a gel packet. I still had a quarter of the bottle left at the finish, and I had forgotten about the gel pack. It rained during the last hour and a half.

    Afterwards, though, I had a sleeve of Dos Equis and a big enchilada/chili relleno/taco meal at the Mexican restaurant in Blaine! I guess I just save the eating and drinking for the end of the ride. Much more efficient, since your body is not spending energy digesting stuff while you ride. Oh, and I don't usually take stops. This is why my saddle has to be really comfortable. I think that when I did the 1,000 km brevet a few weeks ago, I was stopping maybe every 100 km or so (about 4 hours at a time on the bike).

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  21. #21
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Somewhere, a culture has developed where we must "hydrate" all the time, resulting in folks carrying water bottles with them wherever they go. Isn't much of this the result of bottled water advertising without good scientific evidence? Does anyone out there have any good studies showing the need for constant water replenishment? My wife carries a water bottle as if it is a sacred thing - even a walk around the block - we've got to find the water bottle.

    However, I NEVER recall folks being obsessed with water and water bottles growing up in the 40's and 50's. How did those folks make it through life? I remember going on long hikes as a kid with maybe one canteen.

    Now, I understand that if you are sweating a lot on a bicycle ride, you need to get replenished. But, aren't we overdoing it a bit?
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Garilia's Avatar
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    I can sweat just thinking about how hot and humid it is outside. But I agree with the larger point that as a society we've become obsessed with safety, and suing others. So if you're responsible for taking a group of boy scouts (or any other youth group) for an outing, you preach the mantra of safety, because heavens forbid one of them ignores you and passes out from dehydration or dies, your ass is in a sling.

    I got some pretty major sunburns as a boy scout in the 70's, I guess I need to see if any of my leaders are alive and sue them for any current and future skin cancers I have and/or will develop.

    Personal responsibility, now that's not just become an oxymoron, it's almost unheard of anymore.
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    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garilia View Post
    I can sweat just thinking about how hot and humid it is outside. But I agree with the larger point that as a society we've become obsessed with safety, and suing others. So if you're responsible for taking a group of boy scouts (or any other youth group) for an outing, you preach the mantra of safety, because heavens forbid one of them ignores you and passes out from dehydration or dies, your ass is in a sling.

    I got some pretty major sunburns as a boy scout in the 70's, I guess I need to see if any of my leaders are alive and sue them for any current and future skin cancers I have and/or will develop.

    Personal responsibility, now that's not just become an oxymoron, it's almost unheard of anymore.
    If you are replying to my post, suing was not my point at all, but thanks for the response. Actually, neither was safety. I thought my point was advertising. Guess I didn't state it very well. But, anyway - - have a great day.
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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I stop at a Pub and do both, when I see one..

  25. #25
    Senior Member Garilia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    If you are replying to my post, suing was not my point at all, but thanks for the response. Actually, neither was safety. I thought my point was advertising. Guess I didn't state it very well. But, anyway - - have a great day.
    I recognized the point about advertising and I was expanding the point to include how that advertising has impacted our safety rules, so that now we can't seem to function as a society without doing all the things we're sold to do. I was also including lhbernhardt's thoughts into my thinking, as I started reflecting on outdoor safety rules 30-40 years ago. Sorry if I didn't make the connection where I synthesized those thoughts into my own opinion.
    Last edited by Garilia; 09-28-10 at 09:42 AM.
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