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  1. #1
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    Fueling up for an early starts ?

    I keep getting asked to participate in a morning group ride by the owner of a local LBS (when he's not trying to sell me something ) but the problem for me is that they start out at 8 am.

    What holds me back from getting out earlier in the morning is the fact that I absolutely have to fuel up at least an hour or more before going out.. It doesn't matter whether it's cycling, kayaking or skiing. If I don't do that, I'll bonk.. every time. If eat at 7:30 and start say at 10 or even later in the day, there's no problem but starting any earlier just doesn't work.

    Any ideas ?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Durockrolly's Avatar
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    Breakfast tastes just as good at 6:00am!!!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durockrolly View Post
    Breakfast tastes just as good at 6:00am!!!
    Heh, Breakfast tastes just as good anytime after midnight. For some reason, that generally doesn't work for me. I never had problems like this when I was younger but I've noticed it more over the last few years.

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Take the wife out for a good meal the night before--Plenty of Rice and carbs so Chinese or Indian sounds good. Failing that- Porridge just before bed works just aswell
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    Yeah, complex carbs the night before helps. I was wondering if more protein when I get up would help as well.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Why can't you just get up an hour earlier?

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I'm the same way. I do much better if I fuel up with a complete breakfast, bacon and eggs and the like. I can bicycle immediately after eating, however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ro-monster View Post
    Why can't you just get up an hour earlier?
    In my household, that's easier said than done. I was told by a sleep study specialist that almost everybody in our family has a strong predisposition towards a sleep wake cycle that is essentially over 8 hours out of synch. I call it the "hunter - gatherer syndrome" and I was told that it is in fact more common that you think. It's not unusual for there to be at least 2 or 3 people who will still be up and awake at 4 am in the morning. My youngest son who's 16 and myself are probably the least predisposed towards this compared to my wife and our other 2 sons but I still find that getting up a hour earlier is totally disorienting.

    I find that I can get up and be fully awake for an 8am start if I get up at 6:30 - 7:00 but fueling up properly is a totally different issue altogether. I have a bad tendency to start at a very fast pace quite early on then flatten out after about 30-40 minutes and then continue with a number of moderate up/down cycles and still have a ton of energy left in the tank at the end.
    If I don't eat properly with that waiting period, I'll be toast after about 40 minutes. In that scenario, for some reason or other, slowing the pace at the start doesn't help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I'm the same way. I do much better if I fuel up with a complete breakfast, bacon and eggs and the like. I can bicycle immediately after eating, however.
    That's the problem, eating a breakfast with more protein keeps the fires going but it takes time to digest and get into my system.

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    8am? Thats late I get up at 4:45am to allow me to get 2 hours of cycling in every morning. I generally don't eat till I get home around 6:45am. For 2 hours I don't need food. For 3 hours or more I have to eat or I shut down near the end and its torture getting back.

  11. #11
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Skip breakfast and eat on the bike. Use a sport drink like HEED or Perpetuem, add some gel if needed. I ride centuries without eating breakfast and never bonk from lack of calories.
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    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    Normally I rarely eat breakfast. If I'm driving to a ride start, I have a tradition of having 1 apple and 1 banana about half an hour before I arrive. I'm superstitious that way
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    It's just that you are used to what you have been doing for years. Change is hardly ever easy. I find that my digestion doesn't want to work that early and lots of times in the sumer I leave the house at 3AM to get a ride in so I don't spend so much time in the triple digits. Sometime a person gotta do what a person gotta do to getter done.
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    If you really want to do the ride you'll make it work. Quit thinking of all the reasons you can't do it and think of how you can do it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    Skip breakfast and eat on the bike. Use a sport drink like HEED or Perpetuem, add some gel if needed. I ride centuries without eating breakfast and never bonk from lack of calories.
    This. If you start fueling up with easily digestible carbs when you wake up and continue through the ride, there shouldn't be any issue. The uptake for a sport drink (or a water/honey mix) is quite fast vs. cereal or ham n eggs. Protein does nothing but slow carb uptake unless you're riding for more than 2-3 hours, then it's an individual response and can vary between whey and soy. Under heavy exercise you can digest 300-400 calories per hour, assuming you don't jump out of bed and on the bike you'll already be ahead of the game and even if you're not you're body should be able to supply the rest.

    Or you can do what most of us do at stage races: wake up 3 hours prior, wolf down some food, then go back to sleep.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Mort Canard's Avatar
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    When the weather is warm I like to hit the trail about sun-up. Cuppa Joe & a bowl of raisin bran with milk and I am ready to go by the time I get my gear together and the tire pressures checked.

  18. #18
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    I agree that it's just a matter of what you're body is used to. For a long time I thought I needed coffee in the morning before getting on the bike. But as I got older, I found that during the winter, if I drank a mug of coffee before the 1-hour ride to work, I would need to seriously relieve myself at about the 30-minute point. Restrooms in the residential areas thru which I rode were few and far between, especially at 7:30 am, so it was easier just to not have coffee until I got to work. The first few days of riding without coffee felt a little funny, but in a very short while, I thought nothing of it.

    The human body is really good at adapting. Change is all in the mind. And on the bike, you're being fueled by what you had for dinner last night anyway. When I was racing, if it was going to be a really hard, intense effort right from the start, I'd eat FIVE hours before the event (like the Russians). The idea of eating one or two hours before the event is to just fool your body into thinking it's had something to eat. In fact, if you have too much sugar an hour before the event, your body quite often responds with "reactive hypoglycemia," the insulin kicking in and giving you a period of low energy in reaction to the overdose of sugar.

    Assuming you're out for two hours, I'd just take a bottle of sports drink. Maybe stick a glucose tablet in your mouth and just let it sit there (don't even suck on it, it will dissolve by itself, and it will cause you to salivate without your even thinking about it, so your mouth won't get dry). But as soon as you finish the ride, load up on the carbs in that critical glucose-capacity-building window. This will fix the problem you have with bonking.

    Luis

  19. #19
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    I've had good luck with drinking a 15-oz can of Starbucks doubleshot coffee energy drink washed down with a 12-oz can of diet coke 30-45 min before the ride. Caffeine, maltodextrin, protein, fat, some funny vitamin stuff.
    The caffeine and carbonation and fluid volume helps my insides get all awake so I don't have to make pit stops during the ride.
    Then right as we start rolling I take a nip from my 5-oz flask of hammer sports gel (about 2/3 of a packet).
    Throughout the ride, I'll take additional nips of gel as my energy levels drop.
    On a hard ride, I'll be hitting the flask every 30 minutes or so.
    Today was an easy 24 mile ride (with a mid-ride breakfast stop) so it was just the one nip to get the ride started.
    I am sure a good sports drink would be fine also, I just prefer to not mess with cleaning the water bottles, mixing potions, and dealing with things that spoil in the heat.

    Post-ride I'll try to get a muscle milk or chocolate milk or something like that pretty quickly until I can get a decent meal.

    The usual pre-ride breakfast recommendations (oatmeal, coffee, milk, fruit) or power bars just left me feeling draggy with no snap in my legs especially on hard rides.

    About your sleep:
    Ask your doc about a very small dose of anti-depressant and some OTC melatonin at night.
    It can be pretty effective getting you to sleep at night and getting your head out from under the pillow in the morning to help you manage on the schedule the "normal" world wants you on.
    Tempting to tell all the "morning people" to just STFU and quit making a moral issue out of being a night owl, isn't it.

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