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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 07-22-09, 04:26 PM   #1
chasingcars191
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Coca - Cola Nutrition

Hi, I don't know if this is the right section to post this question in, I'm new to these forums and am still learning the ropes. I'm a newbie here and to the sport of cycling itself, and I absolutely love it. I've been actively watching the Tour de France and have been seeing something that i've been wondering about. I know of all the nutritional science that goes into developing the supplements that the riders consume while in the peloton. So it kind of shocked me when i saw the team cars giving cans of coca - cola to all of the riders. Why coca - cola? I love the drink and all on it's own but never thought of it as a sports supplement, is there some benefit to cyclists (because i've never seen other athletes drink it during play) besides the caffeine and sugar it provides? Thanks so much for your help.
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Old 07-22-09, 04:40 PM   #2
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Hi, I don't know if this is the right section to post this question in, I'm new to these forums and am still learning the ropes. I'm a newbie here and to the sport of cycling itself, and I absolutely love it. I've been actively watching the Tour de France and have been seeing something that i've been wondering about. I know of all the nutritional science that goes into developing the supplements that the riders consume while in the peloton. So it kind of shocked me when i saw the team cars giving cans of coca - cola to all of the riders. Why coca - cola? I love the drink and all on it's own but never thought of it as a sports supplement, is there some benefit to cyclists (because i've never seen other athletes drink it during play) besides the caffeine and sugar it provides? Thanks so much for your help.
Don't discount the value of caffeine and sugar. Mtn Dew and Starbucks Frappucino have gotten me thru many a rough patch on a long ride. And last I heard, Coke was the official beverage of Le Tour, replacing a well-known mineral water company, whose name escapes me.

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Old 07-22-09, 04:46 PM   #3
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I think they still use sucrose (cane sugar) in the Euro version, as opposed to the HFCS crap they sell in the States.
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Old 07-22-09, 05:02 PM   #4
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I'm not sure about the science, but here's my lay-person's take on this:

There is a point, for me, about half to two-thirds through a century where the taste of Gatorade, Gels, Clif Bars, even plain water becomes un-appetizing. It is also at this same point, where the nutrition level lacks because I just can't stand the taste of healthy crap. My speed slows (I bike century's pretty fast) and I get a little discouraged.

At this point, I'm either in the mood for something like ice cream (sweet fats and carbs) or fries (salty carbs and fats). And to drink? Pop. I'm not a huge fan of coke, but Dr Pepper, I'm in.

I like to wait about a half an hour after eating. I can finish the rest happy, and at a decent pace.

So, after a while, the healthy stuff doesn't really help as much. If I skip ice cream or fries or whatever, I don't enjoy the century ride as much. Simple enjoyment, and the caffeine and sugar don't hurt either.
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Old 07-22-09, 05:42 PM   #5
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When you're tired on a long ride, the sugar and caffeine can give you a pretty good boost of energy
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Old 07-22-09, 05:47 PM   #6
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Caffeine/sugar boost.
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Old 07-22-09, 05:50 PM   #7
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Also, just like us, they probably get sick of gels, guus, and whatnot and want something tasty.

I used to drink Coke on rides but it gave me stomach issues, now I chose Sprite instead.
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Old 07-22-09, 09:05 PM   #8
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Cold bubbly sugary caffeinated goodness. What's not to like? After hours and hours of sports drink, the bubbles really cut through. For me, it's a kick for the final push through a long ride - I save it for 12-hours into a 24, or halfway or later in a brevet.
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Old 07-22-09, 11:17 PM   #9
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Thanks to you all so much for helping cure my curiousity. lol. I never realized how beneficial caffeine and sugar could be, i mean i know that they are great, but I always figured with today's science that more advanced compounds would be used. But it's good to know that simple soda that tastes so much better then gatorade, clif bars, gels, etc. as i agree with you all can really provide an extra boost after consuming huge amounts of the aforementioned supplements. And not to mention it's cheap and easy to find. lol. Thanks again everyone, I'll be sure to bring a bottle of coke on my next long ride.
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Old 07-23-09, 04:28 AM   #10
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I like to have a Coke on long rides, but I stick to diet. I still get the carbonation to clear the pipes, and a bit of a jolt of caffeine. I'd rather not use them for calories though. I've got other stuff for that.
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Old 07-23-09, 05:41 AM   #11
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I like to have a Coke on long rides, but I stick to diet. I still get the carbonation to clear the pipes, and a bit of a jolt of caffeine. I'd rather not use them for calories though. I've got other stuff for that.
My drink of choice is flavored carbonated water, e.g. Poland Springs, for the carbonation. Even when warm, IMO, it's more refreshing than plain water. Otherwise I bring real food for calories and electrolytes. I always have a big coffee before beginning, and may pick up an iced coffee drink at a bathroom stop at a fast-food joint (usually necessitated by the initial coffee. ).
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Old 07-23-09, 06:29 AM   #12
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I really like Mtn Dew on big rides - especially climbing events (ie Death Ride/Mt Shasta/Auburn). About 2/3 of the way through the ride right to the end, I find a can at rest stops makes finishing strong much easier. While I love coke, I have a harder time drinking it out on the course. YMMV.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:41 AM   #13
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My drink of choice is flavored carbonated water, e.g. Poland Springs, for the carbonation.
+1 that stuff is so tasty. I'm going to try that this weekend.
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Old 07-23-09, 11:00 AM   #14
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Nothing like the fizzy cold awesomeness of a Pepsi and a Snickers around 2/3 of the way into a hot 300k.
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Old 07-23-09, 11:25 AM   #15
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You don't really need "nutrition" during a long ride. Fluid, carbohydrates, electrolytes are what you need during the ride.
Caffeine also improves utilization of fatty acids.
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Old 07-23-09, 05:04 PM   #16
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I find that I get tired of gels, clif bars, shot bloks, gatorade and all those specialized "sport" foods and drinks very quickly. So on long rides, for drinks other than water I usually end up heading for the holy trinity of Coke, V8, and chocolate milk. Besides the nutritional benefits each has to offer, they can all easily be found at convenience stores. Good luck finding Perpetuum at a convenience store. Oh yes, and I do enjoy those Starbucks Frappa-whatchamacallits from time to time. Sort of like chocolate milk with caffeine.
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Old 07-23-09, 08:38 PM   #17
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I seem to recall that before all of the sports drinks and gels came about, endurance races like the Ironman used to have flat Coke at the water stations.
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Old 07-23-09, 09:46 PM   #18
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One of the recent men's UMCA champions fueled most of his champion season on Coke (he was set up next to me at TTTT in '07 and pretty much all he had was Coke -- I think he said he drank 24 20-oz bottles in 30 hours), and Danny Chew powered most of his RAAM exploits back in the day on Coke (and the guy rides Calvin's on nothing other than Coke and orange juice. Crazy). If your stomach can tolerate it, the stuff is like rocket fuel. It's definitely easier to keep on board if it's lost its fizz, though.

Personnally a few cokes here and there are nice, but nothing gets the job done like Starbucks frappuchinos. Fill one water bottle with plain water, and the other with cafe au lait super-saturated with sugar and laissez les bon temps roulez!
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Old 07-25-09, 02:41 PM   #19
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I seem to recall that before all of the sports drinks and gels came about, endurance races like the Ironman used to have flat Coke at the water stations.
I remember stories about marathon runners in the 70s drinking flat coke mixed with milk.
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Old 07-26-09, 05:40 AM   #20
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I know a number of cyclists and cross-country skiers who use flat coke in their water bottles instead of energy drink. For me, if I'm stopping for a mid-ride snack while doing a long day, then I'll always get a coke to go along with the snack.

Another great energy and recovery drink is chocolate milk. I haven't seen the TdF boys drinking it mid-ride yet, but there are scientific studies showing that it is equally effective as a recovery drink as any other specific sports drink. A big advantage of chocolate milk is that it is so easy to drink and goes down so smoothly - so when you need to get some calories in on a long ride but don't have a big appetite, it is the perfect thing.
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Old 08-12-09, 12:24 PM   #21
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I'm glad you guys posted this, because I play a lot of tennis. And I used to play my best friend once a week, and it'd be a three or four hour greuling match. And we'd go to this local pizza place, and as much as I try to stay away from Soda, I'd always have coke with my pizza and it is always extremely refreshing...
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Old 08-12-09, 12:40 PM   #22
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Saturday before last, on a 92 mile ride, I got to the point where I was looking around for a little, uh, something. And I spotted a meat market north of Reading PA where they had set up a sunshade out front and were selling a hot dog and a soda for $1. Not my usual fair. Two dogs (w mustard & onion), and two cans of root beer (generic) later I was on my way. Best hot dog and root beer I've had in years. First hot dog and root beer I've had in years, now that I think about it.
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Old 08-13-09, 07:03 AM   #23
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I had a diet coke on my 60 mile ride yesterday. I like the caffiene efffect, just make sure you keep the water uptake.

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Old 08-13-09, 07:56 PM   #24
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They still have flat cola on the runs at Ironman races. My own personal mid Ironman ride pick me up is a bottle of chilled, flat Coke and a Big Turk or Snickers Chocolate bar. You do get tired of Gateraid etc. after a while, so a Coke is great. Race nutrition and good nutrition are often two completely different things.
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Old 08-14-09, 01:43 PM   #25
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Haven't drank any soda or anything in a damn while like 2 years, and I'm fine without it. Psychological effect I assume. my best bet is that because it's full of sugar it gives a quick fix but nothing much beside that. I'm sure Orange Juice would do the same trick.
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