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  1. #1
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Substitute eating in advance for eating on the ride?

    To what extent is this is possible? This year, the problem I consistently run into is that on more challenging rides is around the 8th hour, I start hating all food and drink formulas -- only plain water tastes good. Trying to force myself just makes me feel sick. I can stand a nibble of fruit or a couple chips, but we're talking snacks that are only about 50 calories.

    What I want to do is eat a larger breakfast while I still feel good and consume 100 calories or less per hour on the logic that my body will still be working on breakfast. Will this work?

    Just in case I'm already doing something wrong, my normal plan is to consume about 700 calories at breakfast and then 250 calories per hour. Usually, I feel great for the first 6 or 7 hours. Around hour 8, I don't feel as good, and by hour 10, I'm sometimes in a daze. I'll be a little tired, but there's still some strength, so it's not like a bonk. Rather, I just feel sick and my head doesn't work.

    I normally carry all my own food. On this last ride, I was hauling 800g of perpetuem, 550g of which I consumed before deciding I was going to ride the last couple hours on water alone (I was carrying an extra 140g because I was originally going to extend the ride if I felt good enough). I realize this sounds horrible, but it actually works better than anything else I've tried yet.

    Bottom line is that I'm looking for a better way to stay fed on mountain rides. I want to eat more beforehand, less during, and I'd really like to carry as little food as possible. I'm willing to risk getting sick and not finishing a big ride to do an experiment, but I wanted to see if what I want to do is even vaguely feasible.

    Or is it possible my eating plan is fine, but I'm not in good enough shape to do the rides I'm attempting -- i.e. I'm experiencing simple exhaustion? Ever since switching jobs in April, I've only been riding half as much as I used to. I'm no couch potato, but I'm starting to have problems on long rides that I never had before.

  2. #2
    King of the Plukers Spreggy's Avatar
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    I'm obviously no expert, but isn't 250/hr a bit light? You guys turned me on to Arnie Baker's e-book for ACE rides, and he recommends a night before carby dinner, 1000 calorie breakfast, and 300 calories per hour minimum. Maybe you can safely ramp that up in the first half so you have some banked for the second half?

    btw what do you think of Perpetuem? I used Heed for a century Saturday, and felt pretty feisty at the end. It went down with no complaints either.
    “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
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  3. #3
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreggy View Post
    I'm obviously no expert, but isn't 250/hr a bit light? You guys turned me on to Arnie Baker's e-book for ACE rides, and he recommends a night before carby dinner, 1000 calorie breakfast, and 300 calories per hour minimum. Maybe you can safely ramp that up in the first half so you have some banked for the second half?

    btw what do you think of Perpetuem? I used Heed for a century Saturday, and felt pretty feisty at the end. It went down with no complaints either.
    I already eat insane amounts of carbs the day before any really long ride and I could try upping the breakfast. Before I found out that other people didn't do this, I ate absolutely huge breakfasts (1500+ calories). You feel a bit yucky early on and there's a bathroom stop as well as a risk of puking, but it basically works because even if you puke, you'll feel fine afterwards.

    Based on Machka's comments, I've been drinking a couple bottles of Ensure Plus at the beginning of rides. I love that stuff. Goes down easy, tastes decent, and I consistently feel great early on. If it weren't so expensive, I'd have some with my breakfast every day.

    Perpetuem is the only nutrition powder that I seem to be able to stand. I don't like sweet things on or off the bike (not even cake and chocolate), so most mixtures are way too sweet for me.

    Overall, I think Perpetuem is great and I buy it in huge containers which I go through rapidly. The quality of the energy I get is excellent, the taste isn't as bad as most products, and I can consume far more calories of it than I can of energy bars or other things I've tried. Also, it's very easy on the stomach. I've never bonked while using it.

    If I could change one aspect of endurance riding, it would be nutrition. Body in pain and head in a fog from exertion is something that's almost relaxing in a twisted way. But for some reason, being forced to consume stuff I don't like seems miserable.

  4. #4
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    Eating a good pre ride meal is certainly beneficial but it won't help you past about 90 minutes of riding time. So you will need to find some kind of food or liquid meal that you can take on long rides that works for you. I take a large medicine bottle full of perpetuem power or something similar for when my bottles are used up but I think you also need a little solid food. Honey roasted peanuts or almonds are good and high calorie content and some extra salt and sugar on them.

    It sounds like your stomach is sensitive after 8 hours. Maybe the Infinit stuff will work better for you than Hammer products. The osmosivity index may allow your stomach to handle it better.

    Have you tried stopping for a burger or something phychologically satisfying after 8 hours. Maybe this is what you need. Rarely do I ride for more than about six hours but on the occasions that I did I became very hungry and nothing worked except to stop and eat something good and then rest for about 1/2 hour after eating to let the food digest.
    Last edited by Hezz; 08-06-07 at 08:45 PM.

  5. #5
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
    Have you tried stopping for a burger or something phychologically satisfying after 8 hours. Maybe this is what you need.
    Yes I have, it works great, and I love it. When I last rode the STP (flat double century), there's a place to buy burgers at the 130 mile mark. A bacon cheeseburger with onions just hits the spot. Everyone looks at me as if I'm insane (and with jealousy), but I don't get sick and feel great.

    Flat rides that go through populated areas are not too much of a problem because there are lots of food options and it's easy to regulate pace. What I'm having trouble with is the mountain rides -- you're pretty much in the middle of nowhere so there's often no opportunities for real food. Also, I have to push myself harder which makes me less inclined to eat.

  6. #6
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    I believe Terry Morse has outlined calculations that showed that for a 140 pound rider on a hilly century, if one starts very well carboloaded, about 100 calories/hour (an amount easily gotten in many flavored electrolyte drinks) is enough to get through the ride. You'll be starving at the end, but you'll make it through. Works for me, though I do feel crazy hungry at the end. Except I'm rarely willing to get up early enough to eat a good breakfast, so it doesn't work out so well for me in that I don't get to sleep in. Alternatively, I've found that if I simply consume enough calories while riding, having a small dinner and skipping breakfast is no big deal.

    I have trouble eating in the heat or on very hilly rides. Recently, I've tried switching to getting all my calories from my drink (currently using 2.5 scoops of Hammer Sustained Energy per 24 oz bottle). As long as I remember to drink (and I'm way better about that than I am about eating), I am ensured sufficient fueling. Doesn't taste great, but it works better for me than trying to gnaw on an energy bar in the heat or in the middle of an extended climb. (I guess this doesn't help you much, though, since that's basically what you're doing already.) Both now and before the switch to Sustained Energy, I've found that I really enjoy supplementing my feeding with a 20 oz Cherry Coke (while taking a short break off the bike) every once in a while.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    To what extent is this is possible? This year, the problem I consistently run into is that on more challenging rides is around the 8th hour, I start hating all food and drink formulas -- only plain water tastes good. Trying to force myself just makes me feel sick. I can stand a nibble of fruit or a couple chips, but we're talking snacks that are only about 50 calories.

    What I want to do is eat a larger breakfast while I still feel good and consume 100 calories or less per hour on the logic that my body will still be working on breakfast. Will this work?

    Just in case I'm already doing something wrong, my normal plan is to consume about 700 calories at breakfast and then 250 calories per hour. Usually, I feel great for the first 6 or 7 hours. Around hour 8, I don't feel as good, and by hour 10, I'm sometimes in a daze. I'll be a little tired, but there's still some strength, so it's not like a bonk. Rather, I just feel sick and my head doesn't work.

    I normally carry all my own food. On this last ride, I was hauling 800g of perpetuem, 550g of which I consumed before deciding I was going to ride the last couple hours on water alone (I was carrying an extra 140g because I was originally going to extend the ride if I felt good enough). I realize this sounds horrible, but it actually works better than anything else I've tried yet.

    Bottom line is that I'm looking for a better way to stay fed on mountain rides. I want to eat more beforehand, less during, and I'd really like to carry as little food as possible. I'm willing to risk getting sick and not finishing a big ride to do an experiment, but I wanted to see if what I want to do is even vaguely feasible.

    Or is it possible my eating plan is fine, but I'm not in good enough shape to do the rides I'm attempting -- i.e. I'm experiencing simple exhaustion? Ever since switching jobs in April, I've only been riding half as much as I used to. I'm no couch potato, but I'm starting to have problems on long rides that I never had before.
    You sound like I was on STP last year, and on a recent training ride.

    I don't think you're getting close to enough salt. The perpetuem is really stingy on it - only something like 240mg in a 45 ounce serving, which is very much on the low side (various sources recommend 400-1000mg/liter). I think the fact the cheeseburger - which likely has tons of salt - goes down great is a pretty good indication.

    If you find yourself drinking a lot but not eliminating any fluid, that's another good sign.

    Unless you are salt sensitive and have high blood pressure, extra sodium is very safe. I'd suggest something like 350mg/hour extra to start, and going up to perhaps twice that. The hammer endurolytes are fairly useless for this - they only have 40mg. I used succeed! on my last ride, and felt *so much better* at the end. Lava salts also have a good rep.
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  8. #8
    Tinkerer since 1980 TheBrick's Avatar
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    I am not super expearince at long distance but I find my body reaches saturation point before I can get enough caloies in before hand. My fav eats on the bike are of course flapjacks and soreen with butter. I get a sensitive stomach after a while like you but this malt loaf is not a problem and infact settles me a bit, but that is me.

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  9. #9
    King of the Plukers Spreggy's Avatar
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    What about super-concentrating what's already working for you? Maybe you can find a consistency that gives you the calories without bothering you. From their Q&A:

    Q: Athletes like to make super concentrated bottles of Sustained Energy, which will provide several hours of fuel in one bottle. Can PERPETUEM be made the same way?

    A: Yes. In fact, using a blender and a small amount of water, PERPETUEM can be made into a near-paste like consistency and dispensed from a Hammer Gel flask. This method has been successfully used quite frequently during testing of the product. Remember though, that the heavier, more concentrated PERPETUEM is mixed, the sweeter and stronger the flavor will become. Therefore, it's a good idea to test various concentrations of PERPETUEM before attempting the same concentrations you may have used with Sustained Energy.
    “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
    ― Muhammad Ali

  10. #10
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    To what extent is this is possible? This year, the problem I consistently run into is that on more challenging rides is around the 8th hour, I start hating all food and drink formulas -- only plain water tastes good. Trying to force myself just makes me feel sick. I can stand a nibble of fruit or a couple chips, but we're talking snacks that are only about 50 calories.

    What I want to do is eat a larger breakfast while I still feel good and consume 100 calories or less per hour on the logic that my body will still be working on breakfast. Will this work?
    No.

    I think carbo-loading can help, but after 1-2 hours I think you will burn through all your blood glycogen -- or at least, enough of it that your body will switch to breaking down other sources of energy, such as fat. However, it can't break that stuff down fast enough to feed the ol' brain, so you will bonk. I think you'd have to have a very efficient metabolism to run on 100 calories or less -- and let's face it, your metabolism is not all that efficient when you're working on the bike....

    I think a better approach is to try and figure out ways to make the consumption of food or calories more palatable. In particular you might want to ditch the sweet stuff and go for things like chips, throw in some veggies or nuts. If that doesn't work, then figure out ways to eat faster, such as rapidly eating gels.

  11. #11
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like you are becoming dehydrated. Assuming you are riding in the daytime, 8 hours would put you in the hottest part of the day. The onset of dehydration often happens slowly since you are consuming fluid consistently. My experience is that dehydration and heat stress causes a loss of appetite.

    Eating a huge breakfast is not a good plan unless you do so two or three hours in advance.

  12. #12
    ****ist lazzarello's Avatar
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    In all my training for PBP I've encountered being both dehydrated and calorie depleted but this rarely happens anymore. The solution to dehydration is easy. Drink more water and drink a **** load (48 ounces) before you even start riding. Caloric/blood sugar depletion is harder. My personal solution for last weekend's solo 135 mile ride through 8 hours of direct sun and temperatures in the low 90s all day was chocolate milk at gas stations. I don't care for milk off the bike but somehow dowining a pint of chocolate milk in 20 seconds feels AMAZING! I think it's the combo of around 16 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat mixed with the sugar from the chocolate.

    Eating a lot prior is important, but keeping water/carb/protein balance whilst on the bike is also crucial.

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