Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

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

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-20-13, 09:25 PM   #1
hamster
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Escondido, CA
Bikes:
Posts: 2,240
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Carb loading - yay or nay

Is there any benefit from going out of your way (above and beyond your normal diet) to do carb loading before a long distance event, say, a double century? Assuming that I take things easy leading up to the event, under 5 hours of saddle time in the week before, and no riding for 48 hours before the start. (Also, is that a reasonable pre-event schedule?)

In theory, with that little riding, I should be topped up even on normal diet, but experience usually trumps theory...
hamster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-13, 10:32 PM   #2
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Bikes:
Posts: 14,659
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
if you look up what actual carb loading is, it's no wonder it has been shown not to work. Basically starving yourself of carbs and then loading up on them.

As far as a riding schedule, I don't go out of my way to ride lots before an event, but I don't slack off much either. I prefer not to go really hard the two days before, but if the local club runs their time trials this year I will probably ride them even though they are the thursday before a saturday event.
unterhausen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-13, 11:35 PM   #3
Homeyba
Senior Member
 
Homeyba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Central Coast, California
Bikes: Colnago C-50, Calfee Dragonfly Tandem, Specialized Allez Pro, Peugeot Competition Light
Posts: 3,370
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think if you stick with a good balanced diet prior to the event you should be fine. A lot of people scale back the riding the week before a double. What you're describing sounds ok to me. When I ride on the day or two before a big event it's never hard. Just an easy spin to keep things loose. What double are you planing on doing?
Homeyba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-13, 12:22 AM   #4
hamster
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Escondido, CA
Bikes:
Posts: 2,240
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
I think if you stick with a good balanced diet prior to the event you should be fine. A lot of people scale back the riding the week before a double. What you're describing sounds ok to me. When I ride on the day or two before a big event it's never hard. Just an easy spin to keep things loose. What double are you planing on doing?
Solvang Double.

I did 100mi / 10k ft last Sat, 1 hour recovery ride Sun, 1/2 hour yesterday, spirited 23 mi / 2300 ft today. The double is on Saturday and I'm not planning to ride until then.
hamster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-13, 04:50 AM   #5
Machka 
Long Distance Cyclist
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: I ride where the thylacine roamed!
Bikes: Lots
Posts: 46,237
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 336 Post(s)
I don't carb load, but a couple days before a long ride, I try to make sure I'm eating adequately or maybe just a bit more than normal.

For me, it's more important to eat regularly during a long ride than it is to eat before a long ride.
Machka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-13, 07:20 AM   #6
Homeyba
Senior Member
 
Homeyba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Central Coast, California
Bikes: Colnago C-50, Calfee Dragonfly Tandem, Specialized Allez Pro, Peugeot Competition Light
Posts: 3,370
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by hamster View Post
Solvang Double.

I did 100mi / 10k ft last Sat, 1 hour recovery ride Sun, 1/2 hour yesterday, spirited 23 mi / 2300 ft today. The double is on Saturday and I'm not planning to ride until then.
Well you picked one of the easiest doubles to do for your first one. It's a beautiful ride too. Try not to go out too fast in the begining and eat right on the ride and you'll be fine.
Homeyba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-13, 07:34 AM   #7
ThermionicScott 
Gratuitous glib and snark
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)
Posts: 13,608
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 210 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
if you look up what actual carb loading is, it's no wonder it has been shown not to work. Basically starving yourself of carbs and then loading up on them.
I used to know the biological reasons for why that could potentially increase your ability to store carbs, but I'm sure most of the benefit has always been psychological. Our spaghetti dinners the night before a cross-country race in high school were great for morale.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-13, 07:57 AM   #8
mtn.cyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Gypsum, CO
Bikes: Litespeed Obed, Cannondale Scalpel, Spcialized AWOL, Litespeed Solano, Cannondale Synapse
Posts: 289
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Nay
mtn.cyclist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-13, 02:11 PM   #9
lhbernhardt
Dharma Dog
 
lhbernhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Bikes: Rodriguez Shiftless street fixie with S&S couplers, Kuwahara tandem, Trek carbon, Dolan track
Posts: 2,073
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Back when I was racing, I would have a veggie dinner the night before a big race. I still try to do the veggie dinner the night before a long ride; veggies are easier for your body to digest. And you have to load up, or you get hungry again. I usually hit a Chinese buffet if I'm out of town.

However, I have a theory about eating and efficiency. If you look at most racers, they are pretty thin. But most recreational riders, and a lot of randonneurs as well, tend toward the chunky side. The reason for this is that as you become a cyclist, you find that the extra hours spent training develop a pretty big appetite. The cyclist quickly learns that he or she has pretty much carte blanche to eat whatever they want, as much as they want, and it doesn't make them fat because they're burning it all off anyway. They take this as an unalterable benefit of cycling, and they brag about this to their friends.

However, the human body is extremely good at adapting. The more you ride, the more efficient your body becomes at riding. So I believe that what once took 400 calories per hour to do back when you were starting to ride now takes maybe 300 calories per hour, just because you (and your body) are much better at it. However, if you're still eating the copious amounts you have become used to, the inevitable weight starts to develop. Racers get around this by going harder as they become more efficient, rising to higher levels of performance. I'm not sure recreationals and randonneurs do the same. Yes, they might increase their distances, but this usually involves constant eating and drinking during the ride, plus the large post-ride meal.

In my own case, I tend to eat/drnk very little during my training rides. I've done centuries (in miles) on less than one small waterbottle (and some fruit at the rest stops). I am constantly amazed at how many bottles the typical cyclist on a century ride puts away. Of course, in hot conditions, I'll drink considerably more, but here in the cool, rainy Pac NW, I just carry one bottle on the bike. And I've been able to maintain pretty much my racing weight.

So as far as carbo loading, I think a good, balanced diet over the long term is a better idea, but if you must carbo-load, go veggie. Save the heavy meat for after the ride, but don't go overboard on it.

Luis
lhbernhardt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-13, 07:43 AM   #10
Richard Cranium
Senior Member
 
Richard Cranium's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Deep in the Shawnee Forest
Bikes: LeMond - Gunnar
Posts: 2,830
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Different people are using different meanings for "carb loading." So I can't really comment - except to say that I believe a high carb meal is superior to a typical meal prior to most athletic events.

I think there can be benefits to some people in practicing a true "carb loading protocol" that involves a glycogen depletion phase as well. However, these kinds of things are so specific to the athlete and event = especially the timing and volume - there's little use in guestimating whether it works for anyone else.
Richard Cranium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-13, 04:53 PM   #11
Bacciagalupe
Professional Fuss-Budget
 
Bacciagalupe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 6,438
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
For better or worse, I tend to stick with Gretchen Reynolds when it comes to stuff like this; she typically stays up to date on the latest research.

Sounds like increasing carbs the day before may provide some assistance. However, it doesn't sound like it's that big of a difference. E.g. it isn't likely to save you from a DNF.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/1...or-a-marathon/
Bacciagalupe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-13, 07:50 PM   #12
mprelaw
Senior Member
 
mprelaw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Bikes:
Posts: 2,318
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
For me, it's more important to eat regularly during a long ride than it is to eat before a long ride.
^^^ This.
mprelaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-13, 08:26 PM   #13
Six jours
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 6,401
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
True carb loading, with exercising to exhaustion, carb depletion, and super compensation, has been used to turn in some pretty impressive performances - for events lasting 3-4 hours. Aside from the unanswered causation vs. correlation questions (world-class athletes turning in world-class performances isn't exactly headline news) the simple fact is that nobody can load up enough carbs to effectively deal with a 10 hour event. So the short answer is that if you want to have a great first third of a double, then carbo loading might be your answer.

Beyond that, most folks seem to think that "carb loading" means eating lots of spaghetti for a few days beforehand. This is harmless, but isn't going to make you go any faster either. I personally have found that a healthy, well rounded diet in general, combined with the traditional road racer's steak and rice breakfast on the morning of the event, is the best approach for consistent energy and performance. YMM, as always, V.
Six jours is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-13, 07:52 PM   #14
mtn.cyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Gypsum, CO
Bikes: Litespeed Obed, Cannondale Scalpel, Spcialized AWOL, Litespeed Solano, Cannondale Synapse
Posts: 289
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
As opposed to carb loading I think you want to optimize your fat burning ability in preperation for your double. Since I'm typing on my phone and there are innumerable better sources of information on this topic than me I will not go into a tyraid about this. Burn fat and you'll be happy. Burn carbs and you'll bonk. Google it to find out more.
mtn.cyclist is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:19 AM.