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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 07-14-07, 09:06 AM   #1
danimal123
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PBP Food Question

For those of you doing PBP unsupported, I assume you'll be getting most of your food at controles or stores along the way. Since controles are roughly 50 miles apart, do they sell energy bars, gels, etc. for the hours between controle points, or is it just "real" food like sandwiches, fruit, etc.? I suppose this matters most at night when stores between controles are closed, but I guess I'm asking if they have portable food available that's easy to store and eat on the bike.

I'm hoping not to have to carry a ton of Clif bars in my trunk....
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Old 07-14-07, 09:25 AM   #2
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The controls have vats of mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, french fries, scrambled eggs, and I believe there was meat too, although I didn't eat any at a control. They've also got fruit salad cups, and whole pieces of fruit. And baguettes.

The whole pieces of fruit and baguettes are your portable food.

In between the controls there are lots of stores ... I bought a chicken salad sandwich at one grocery store and each morning I had a fresh, hot croissant. Don't forget that there are two secret controls, with real food, in between the listed controls as well. In addition to all this, the French people set up little road-side stands with coffee, wine, and little snacks. Those stands are there day and night.

The only time I recall running into a little bit of difficulty was right near the end. I should have picked up a banana at the previous control, but didn't, and I was riding pretty hard trying to make the next control so I was passing the roadside stands without stopping.

Oh, you might want to have some food with you at the beginning. It's about 140 kms to the first control, I think, and I don't recall any roadside stands, and hardly anyone stops in that stretch. It goes by really fast!
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Old 07-14-07, 12:30 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by danimal123
For those of you doing PBP unsupported, I assume you'll be getting most of your food at controles or stores along the way. Since controles are roughly 50 miles apart, do they sell energy bars, gels, etc. for the hours between controle points, or is it just "real" food like sandwiches, fruit, etc.? I suppose this matters most at night when stores between controles are closed, but I guess I'm asking if they have portable food available that's easy to store and eat on the bike.

I'm hoping not to have to carry a ton of Clif bars in my trunk....
you might be interested in this thread on randon where someone was discussing the logisticss of bringing bulk quantities of Accelerade to France, which created a couple tangents discussing what sort of energy drink options you might find in the Carrefours and hypermarches along the route. Looks like you might be able to get Ensure at some pharmacies and there's a drink from a company SIS that seems to be Gatorade equivalent.

my personal plan is to port along about 20 hours of Sustained Energy powder (roughly a one gallon bag's worth) and ration this out for some of the longer control segments and for night riding (when stores and village charity will be closed) but also lean on food at controles for the bulk of my calories, maybe supplemented with a few Gu packets and two or three Clif bars if my Sustained Energy goes bad.

or I might follow Harriet Fell's 1975 example and just bring along a whole roast chicken and nibble on that for the length of the ride.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:32 PM   #4
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If you read my account you'll see that I sort of followed in Harriet Fell's footsteps and carried a cheese with me. But I never did eat it, instead it became almost like a mascot!

I'm bringing 12 small packets of HEED with me, and otherwise I'll depend on the Coke and Orangade they hand out everywhere.

As for energy bars, I'd have to be starving to death to eat a Clif bar, but I probably will bring some granola bars or something.

I brought a large bag of powdered Ensure with me last time ... and barely touched it. I doubt I'll do that again.
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Old 07-20-07, 12:48 PM   #5
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Oh, you might want to have some food with you at the beginning. It's about 140 kms to the first control, I think, and I don't recall any roadside stands, and hardly anyone stops in that stretch. It goes by really fast!
During a PBP question and answer session here in San Diego it was suggested to try and make it to the second control (first control is food/water only) in Villaines at the 223k mark before stopping for supplies. With the first 8-10 hours being in the dark, I can see this as a possibility. I can easily carry 100 ounces of water and whatever calories I want.

Anybody else planning this?
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Old 07-20-07, 01:19 PM   #6
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During a PBP question and answer session here in San Diego it was suggested to try and make it to the second control (first control is food/water only) in Villaines at the 223k mark before stopping for supplies. With the first 8-10 hours being in the dark, I can see this as a possibility. I can easily carry 100 ounces of water and whatever calories I want.

Anybody else planning this?
No ... I'm planning to stop at the first control. When I got there last time, the line-up was very small (probably the smallest line-up I encountered on the entire ride), they had excellent mashed potatoes (I had a heaping plate!), and I even took a few minutes to email a quick message home (it was the only control with email access).
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Old 07-20-07, 02:57 PM   #7
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Just curious, how much time do you guys (gals) typically devote to sleep on the PBP? Do you get dis-oriented riding for so long?
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Old 07-20-07, 03:16 PM   #8
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Just curious, how much time do you guys (gals) typically devote to sleep on the PBP? Do you get dis-oriented riding for so long?
In 2003, I got 5 hours of sleep total in the 89 hours I was out there. And yes, I do get a bit disoriented, especially if I haven't been eating well.

Last edited by Machka; 07-20-07 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 07-20-07, 04:28 PM   #9
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Just curious, how much time do you guys (gals) typically devote to sleep on the PBP? Do you get dis-oriented riding for so long?
About 4 hours a night on average, except for Monday night. Some nights more, some less.
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