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  1. #1
    Senior Member Stallionforce's Avatar
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    Gastro distress on long rides.

    Hi all,

    Just getting into the long-distance stuff. I'm a Cat 4, been racing a couple of years. There is potential for me to develop as a racer, but I can also see that my strength lies in long, steady efforts.

    To that end, I've started up with some long rides. I just completed a 450 km single-day effort (Vancouver, BC to Kelowna, BC -- not 450 km, but I got lost in the dark in the Fraser Valley!). My most egregious error, other than bonking on the Coquihalla, was in oversaturating my gut with sports drinks.

    Training with my racing pals, the longest we go is maybe 5 to 6 hours, and so consume, at most, 5 or 6 bottles. Going 16 hours yesterday, and with a good 10 to 12 bottles in me (about 3 bottles gatorade and 3 bottles Heed, 3 to 5 water), my gut simply shut down in the last 100 km. It was tight, knotted up, and I was very nauseous. I couldn't put anything down there.

    Now I'm wondering if this is simply due to the folly of the effort, or if I made an error in my consumption. In other words, with only a 270 km ride in my build-up, was I remiss in training? Or, did I get nauseous from too much sports-drink? I am inclined to conclude the latter. the rest of the calories came from Clif bars, cookies, and bananas. Perhaps, also, my gut simply could not handle the wealth of calories I was pouring in.

    I had the impression, though, if I had simply used water, with some electrolyte tablets (like Hammer nutrition supplies), and had used exclusively Clif bars and bananas, or figs -- that I would have been fine.

    Sorry if this is rambling mess. Any ideas are appreciated. Just don't flame the newb!
    Last edited by Stallionforce; 07-05-06 at 06:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    There's a huge difference between 5-6 hours and 16! That's an insane ride - nearly twice as long as my longest ride ever.

    The gut can be fairly sensitive in some people and all I can suggest is that it will take some time to figure out what mix of food/drink will work for you. It's not just a matter of following the 'instructions' on some product.

    Also remember that your body is probably used to three square meals a day, and if you all of a sudden replace that with 10 litres of sports drink and goodness knows how many sports bars, intuitively you'd think you'd be bound for trouble.

    I think it's a combination of your effort and how/what you ate. On long rides and MTB Enduros, I like to constantly eat and drink small portions, and eat larger portions during 'meal times'. Bananas, PB&J sandwitches, Powerbars, and weak solutions of sports drinks (2:1 water/Gatorade works for me) seem to do the trick. I also found some cheap, low-fat snack bars that are very unprocessed and appear to go down well - a bonus considering how processed and expensive 'sports bars' are.

    My sponsored guy also has good luck with nut bars too, which might be worth a shot.
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  3. #3
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    I completed a 400K about a month ago on a diet of Gu, Clif Shots, Clif Bars, bananas, chili, potato chips and turkey sandwiches and felt great all throughout. Not quite as regimented as you seemed to get; but I think that it's worthwhile to keep one's diet a mix of liquid and solid food. I know a lot of folks swear by the strengths of a liquid diet; but personally, I haven't trained my stomach up to that level yet and it seems happiest when the liquids and gels provide, at most, 2/3 of my caloric intake.

    With that said, I've been experimenting with Hammer Gel and despite the fact that Hammer Orange does taste like citric ass, I seem to have had decent luck with it on my training centuries. I will still supplement it with sandwiches, bananas and Clif bars, but a diluted Hammer mix has been pretty effective for keeping my energy up over the long haul.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    This is my 6th season of Randonneuring, and I'm still struggling with gastro-intestinal difficulties on the longer rides (400K/24 hour and up).

    The Ultracycling website has some articles on nausea:

    http://www.ultracycling.com/nutrition/puke.html

    http://www.ultracycling.com/nutrition/nexium.html (actually, I've found Zantac to be quite effective)

    http://www.ultracycling.com/nutritio...natremia2.html (nausea caused by hyponatremia)

    http://www.ultracycling.com/nutrition/electrolytes.html (nausea caused by electrolyte imbalance(

    http://www.ultracycling.com/nutritio...endurance.html

    http://www.ultracycling.com/nutritio...qa_090201.html

    ----------
    My nausea (and worse) on long rides has been caused by not eating enough, electrolyte imbalance, and eating the wrong foods.

    I also seem to become nauseated when I get tired ... and that happens whether I'm riding a brevet, or staying up late doing homework.

    And I seem to become nauseated in the mornings if I have not had a lot of sleep (like less than 5 hours) ... and that also happens whether I'm riding a brevet, or getting up for work or school.

    Eating when I first wake up after a couple hours of sleep, in the middle of a brevet (like a 600K or 1200K), is a very bad idea for me. So, I try to eat as much as I can before I go to sleep (usually something like a couple cans of Ensure Plus), and then after I wake up, I will wait a couple hours before eating again. Usually by then my stomach has settled and I'm ready for a big plate of eggs and toast or something!

    I've found that I eating "sports food" all the way through a ride is also a bad idea. I much prefer to mix it up with normal meals, and normal beverages. And Gatorade is just not a good thing ... I discovered on my 600K that HEED is much, much better for me.


    To help prevent or deal with the nausea I take Zantac, PeptoBismal, and Tums ... I also try to eat small amounts of foods I crave regularly throughout my ride ... and I try to make sure I consume enough electrolytes. By "eat small amounts of food I crave regularly" I mean that I keep a pastry, or a cookie, or whatever, in my bento bag and I nibble a bit of it every 10 minutes or so. I find it is a lot better to do that than to eat a whole pastry or cookie every hour on the hour. The stomach can digest small bites much easier than a whole lump of whatever.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Machka, where in Canada do you find Heed ?

    I've called every BC store listed as an end seller, all sell the gells, none sell the heed or perpetuem.
    The only 'contact' site for hammer nutrition dealers in canada are 1 in ontario and 1 in alberta. Neither has an email, just a post office box number. Talk about crappy marketing.

    Is there a canadian online site to order from?
    Jarery

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  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarery
    Machka, where in Canada do you find Heed ?

    I've called every BC store listed as an end seller, all sell the gells, none sell the heed or perpetuem.
    The only 'contact' site for hammer nutrition dealers in canada are 1 in ontario and 1 in alberta. Neither has an email, just a post office box number. Talk about crappy marketing.

    Is there a canadian online site to order from?

    I get it from here: http://www.runnersden.net/

    It's a small place that caters mainly to runners and a bit to triathletes ... and almost ironically it's one of the best places for cycling stuff in town (well, there's really only two places ... )

    They don't stock a lot of it, one or two containers at a time, but they tell me they have a source in Edmonton.

    You might email them and see what they say ... they seem quite friendly.

    Otherwise, if you are anywhere near the US border, I'd pick it up in the US. It's much more plentiful down there! See part of the problem is that some of the Hammer Nutrition products (not Hammer gel and not HEED) contain an ingredient that is (or was) banned in Canada. So a lot of sports places up here just ignore all the Hammer Nutrition products, or maybe they are under the impression they can't get any of them.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Stallionforce's Avatar
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    Hmmm...those are very good tips. Thanks for the advice. Those links are very helpful. I suppose, for me, I was quite shocked because I have an iron stomach and rarely do I ever experience G/I distress. So, given the distance, which was daunting, and then the tummy upset, I found it had the effect of adding a lot of psychological pressure which probably exacerbated the problem -- or, at least, my perception of it. I kept thinking "this never happens, what's wrong?"

    I agree about the 'sports foods'. I think they are fine for racers, but for long rides, i think I'm going to start experimenting with a mix of organic bars and whole foods.

    BTW...I've used the Hammer products before and they are excellent. I used some of the electrolyte tabs, and some Heed on this ride and they worked very well.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Runners den, they have one about 300 ft from where my weekend group rides meet, unfortunatly they only have the gells.

    But i took your suggestion about tri-shops.
    Found this, http://www.speedtheory.ca/ phoned them, and they have Heed.

    Gonna give it a try, since anything over 3 hours i've yet to do without stomach problems.
    Thanks for the hints
    Jarery

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    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stallionforce
    Hmmm...those are very good tips. Thanks for the advice. Those links are very helpful. I suppose, for me, I was quite shocked because I have an iron stomach and rarely do I ever experience G/I distress.
    My father said exactly the same thing! He has had an upset stomach a grand total of about 4 times in his whole life and didn't figure he'd have any trouble on long distance rides ........ until his first 300K. It shocked him too!

    I think the first time you do a really long distance, the body doesn't know what to do, and so it shunts all the blood into the heart, lungs, and legs ....... and away from the stomach. Then you've got all this stuff sitting in your stomach. Bleck. That's why the biggest tip I can give is to nibble food all the way through the ride. I think that was the key thing that trained my stomach to be able to handle food on most (but still not all) long rides.

    When I start getting really nauseated (like I did on my 600K this year), I don't eat for a little while (like half an hour or so) to try to let my stomach settle. I also try to ease back on the pace so that blood will flow to the stomach. Then I start in on liquid nutrition like Ensure ... something that's more easily digestable than solid food.

    Something else that seems to settle my stomach is iced tea ... particularly Nestea Iced tea. It gives you a bit of energy, and the tea seems to be easy on the stomach. I'll sip it slowly to see if I can calm things down. I also carry a small stash of mints which also seem to ease an upset stomach.

  10. #10
    Zinophile tibikefor2's Avatar
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    stallion:

    I have been riding long distances for about 18 years and have worked out a good nutrition schedule. This schedule works for my body and might not work for yours.

    I exclusively use the e-caps products and here is my regiment:

    Endurolytes: In hot weather 3-6 caplets per hour
    Anti fatigue caps: 1 per hour
    Race caps: 1 every 3 hours
    Sustained energy: 2 scoops (233 calories) in a 24 ounce water bottle. The average human body can efficently digest up to 300 calories per hour and about 20-24 ounces of liquid per hour
    Hammer Bar: when hungry, also 233 calories
    Hammer gel with caffeine, as needed and usually 5 minutes before a long climb

    On long rides I try to stay away from simple cabrohydrates like sugar, sucrose and fructose. Also you can see that I do mostly liquid nutrition.

    It sounded like you drank too much liquid and also did not take in enough electrolytes.

    If you would to talk, please drop me a pm and we can work things out.
    Tibikefor2

  11. #11
    Senior Member Stallionforce's Avatar
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    tibike, you have PM.

    I think you are right Machka in that I was so anxious about bonking that I tended to wolf things down instead of just nibbling.

  12. #12
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    My experience is that taking in too much solid food on a long ride is asking for trouble. Be especially cautious at convenience stores where you are in a hurry. There's a tendency to slam down more food than you can easily digest.

    I like to get some high calorie liquid calories. My favorite is Yoohoo drink. The chocolate flavor goes down easy and is a welcome change from sports drink. Second is a large regular Coca-Cola from the fountain. It's cold, has lots of calories, and the carbonation is refreshing. And if my stomach is a bit out of sorts, it seems to help settle it down.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tibikefor2
    stallion:

    I have been riding long distances for about 18 years and have worked out a good nutrition schedule. This schedule works for my body and might not work for yours.

    I exclusively use the e-caps products and here is my regiment:

    Endurolytes: In hot weather 3-6 caplets per hour
    Anti fatigue caps: 1 per hour
    Race caps: 1 every 3 hours
    Sustained energy: 2 scoops (233 calories) in a 24 ounce water bottle. The average human body can efficently digest up to 300 calories per hour and about 20-24 ounces of liquid per hour
    Hammer Bar: when hungry, also 233 calories
    Hammer gel with caffeine, as needed and usually 5 minutes before a long climb

    On long rides I try to stay away from simple cabrohydrates like sugar, sucrose and fructose. Also you can see that I do mostly liquid nutrition.

    It sounded like you drank too much liquid and also did not take in enough electrolytes.

    If you would to talk, please drop me a pm and we can work things out.

    I have three concerns about the advice/plan you’ve outlined there.


    1) It might work just fine for anyone in the US, but Sustained Energy and Perpetuem are banned in Canada, and most other Hammer Nutrition products are rather difficult to get ahold of. Since the OP is Canadian, it would be very difficult for him to follow your plan.

    2) I hesitate to recommend a diet consisting entirely of “supplements”. That sort of diet does seem to be very popular in the US among US Randonneurs - unfortunately even to the extent that “supplements” are provided to riders on supported US events rather than real food. But if riders ever plan to do events in other countries (and as already mentioned the OP is Canadian and so lives in another country), real food will be provided (or available in stores) rather than “supplements”, so it is a good idea to get used to consuming real food. Incidentally, I mentioned that it was unfortunate that “supplements” are provided on supported events in the US. The reason it is unfortunate is because it breaks one of the main rules of long distance riding … never consume anything unfamiliar on a long distance ride! For the US participants, these “supplements” are OK because they are familiar, but for all the participants from other countries, these “supplements” are unfamiliar. This “supplement” vs. real food issue was one of the contributing factors to my DNF of the Gold Rush last year. They provided baskets of Sustained Energy (something I’d never tried before) but very little real food … so I bonked because I wasn’t about to break “the rule” and try something I was unfamiliar with.

    3) These “supplements” don’t work for everyone. I had a second long ride in the US so I figured I’d better try Sustained Energy before it. I managed to get ahold of a bit, and I discovered that it is OK (but not great) to about 300K, then it starts reminding me too much of milk (sour milk), and it becomes very nauseating.


    The way I look at it, the more things a long distance cyclist can try, get used to, and tolerate during the shorter of the long rides the better – rather than limiting him/herself to one nutritional supplement line.


    Oh, I’ll also add that the idea of liquid nutrition is a good one, and up here in Canada, I use Ensure Plus on many of my longer rides (400K and 600K), but we can only get it in cans here so it has to go in my drop bags, if I happen to have them, or else I just carry one can with me for emergencies. In the US, you can get powdered Ensure and Ensure in all sorts of convenient containers. I wish they’d bring those into Canada too, but they haven’t yet. And I couldn’t find Ensure in either Australia or Europe, so I know I can’t get so that I depend too much on Ensure. Australia, however, has something called Milo (I think) which is quite nice ... but I haven't seen it anywhere else.


    We’ve got to remember to think globally with our answers here because there are cyclists who post here from all over the world ......... and especially with nutritional products -- what might be available in one country, might not be available (or could even be banned) in the next.

  14. #14
    Zinophile tibikefor2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I have three concerns about the advice/plan you’ve outlined there.


    1) It might work just fine for anyone in the US, but Sustained Energy and Perpetuem are banned in Canada, and most other Hammer Nutrition products are rather difficult to get ahold of. Since the OP is Canadian, it would be very difficult for him to follow your plan.
    I did caveat to say that this nutrition plan worked for my body and not necessarily for someone else.

    Machka, I did not realize that Sustained energy and perpetuem are banned in Canada. Any particular reason that they are banned? What do our northern neighbors use as cycling fuel?
    Tibikefor2

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tibikefor2
    I did caveat to say that this nutrition plan worked for my body and not necessarily for someone else.

    Machka, I did not realize that Sustained energy and perpetuem are banned in Canada. Any particular reason that they are banned? What do our northern neighbors use as cycling fuel?
    There's an ingredient (which I forget offhand) which the Canadian government has taken offense too for some unknown reason. I have tried to ship it in via friends, and have received a nasty note from Canada Customs for trying to bring banned substances into the country ... and Hammer Nutrition will not ship to Canada (I called and talked to them).

    Up here in Canada, we use real food. My randonnee diet consists of things like french toast, perogies, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken burgers, chicken sandwiches, pizza, french fries, cinnamon buns, other pastries, cookies, and whatever else appeals to us along the way in restaurants and convenience stores. I do use a bit of Ensure (but not much because it is too heavy to carry around the cans of it), and recently I've been able to get ahold of HEED and Hammergel.

    I am really not at all used to using supplement-type stuff at all ... and it doesn't always sit well with me.

  16. #16
    so whatcha' want? bigskymacadam's Avatar
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    ugh. i was going to chime in and offer the hammer nutrition route. i had no idea SE and Perpetuem was banned up there! that is my core fuel including hammergel. i've completely switch to liquid fuel on the road.

    to the op, mixing heed and gatorade can cause distress because of the ratio of simple sugars in the mix. i think the body goes a process to digest simple sugars in that solution. best stay with the heed by itself.

  17. #17
    Zinophile tibikefor2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Up here in Canada, we use real food. My randonnee diet consists of things like french toast, perogies, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken burgers, chicken sandwiches, pizza, french fries, cinnamon buns, other pastries, cookies, and whatever else appeals to us along the way in restaurants and convenience stores. I do use a bit of Ensure (but not much because it is too heavy to carry around the cans of it), and recently I've been able to get ahold of HEED and Hammergel.
    Machka:

    Interesting diet, which would definitely cause my stomach distress. I am glad that it works for you. Nutrition is a funny thing as everyone has to figure out what works for their body,
    Tibikefor2

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    Try not to try out new products on a long ride, in case your stomach can't handle them. (Just like not slapping on a new part on your bike then immedicately going out on a long ride without fine-tuning it.)

    Most of the posters said to stick with liquids and softer foods (gels or easily digested bars) on super long rides, which for me works well. A big lump of food in my stomach just doesn't digest well, especially if its greasy. Having indigestion on a ride is not fun.

    Also, if you're doing super long rides for a race training regime, they probably won't help much, and could do more harm than good. If you are thinking of continuing doing road racing, which for most of us are 2-5 hours long, then its pointless to do 16 hour rides. You don't get twice or three times the benefit, and could very well injure yourself, setting back your training schedule. And I've never heard of any commonly held sanctioned races that last 16 hours, but maybe somebody can enlighten me on that.

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    A few thoughts:

    1) What kind of gatorade were you using?

    If you were using the pre-mixed stuff, that's sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and fructose is known to cause GI distress if you get too much.

    2) You could be eating more food than you need. You only need to replace the carbs that you are burning - your body has enough fat reserves to supply that side of the equation. 250-350 cal/hour is the generally suggested range.
    Eric

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  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tibikefor2
    Machka:

    Interesting diet, which would definitely cause my stomach distress. I am glad that it works for you. Nutrition is a funny thing as everyone has to figure out what works for their body,

    The first couple years I struggled to eat solid food on my brevets and Randonnees. In fact, I did the RM1200 on Ensure which I had strategically placed in my drop bags. I would watch with envy as my fellow Canadians, and the Europeans, would put away massive plates of food at all the controls.

    But by the time I rode the PBP in 2003, I was right there with them, eating the massive plates of a wide variety of solid foods. You should see me tuck into a plate of eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast in the mornings (after I've been riding for a few hours)!! Mmmmmmmm!!!!

    If any of the cyclists here are planning to do the PBP, or any rides in Canada, or any rides in Australia, or any rides in other parts of Europe, you'd better start training your stomachs to take solid food now. You might be able to bring your Sustained Energy etc. into another country ... a few people did for the 2003 PBP ... but you won't be served Sustained Energy or anything like that in any other country other than the US. You'll be served real food.

    At the PBP there were huge trays of mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, and french fries. They had fruit, scrambled eggs, and some meat sauces to go with all that. And all along the way you could get various baked items and the ham and cheese sandwich. On the Great Southern in Australia, they served us a nice variety of foods including chicken fried rice, soups, grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit, pasta with meat sauces, etc. and we could pick up sandwiches along the way.


    Oh, BTW - the banned ingredient is L-Carnitine, and it is found in both Sustained Energy and Perpetuem, but not HEED or Hammer gel ...... so we can get HEED and Hammer gel here in Canada.

    I know another US cyclist who swears by Spiz: http://www.spiz.net/ but it has Carnitine in it as well, and is also banned in Canada. I tried to get it too, and was told by the Spiz representative that they won't even bother trying to ship to Canada because 9 times out of 10 it gets caught at the border and ends up costing the customer a shipping charge for no product.

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