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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 01-02-14, 08:14 PM   #1
cdat12
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Liquid Nutrition

As I start out doing long-distance/endurance type riding I've been experimenting with different types of nutrition. My longest rides so far have been 100 miles. I have tried running solely on liquid nutrition, (after a solid carb heavy breakfast) and have had good luck so far, but again only 100 miles. Is any one aware of any studies on doing long distance rides solely on liquid type nutrition, have any of the RAAM riders done this?
The liquid nutrition I have tried so far have been, Optimum whey protein powder mixed in water, ensure, sport type drinks, liquid gels.
Those of you who are more experienced, any thoughts, advice?

Thanks
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Old 01-02-14, 08:16 PM   #2
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I went Liquid on my last fast 100. Was super hungry and ate much of this afterward.








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Old 01-02-14, 09:01 PM   #3
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Everyone is a little different. I cannot go farther than around 300-350miles on a solely liquid food diet. My stomach needs some solid foods. I know others who can do RAAM distances on just a liquid diet. It's amazing how good a Big Mac tastes somewhere around Missouri during RAAM. The only way you will find out what works best for you is to do it. Your body will tell you.

The reason that liquid diets work so well is that they are easily digestible. Whey you are stressing your body it diverts blood flow from your digestive system to the muscles. The more you exert, the less blood there is for digestion. What I do is use a liquid diet for times when I'm working real hard like climbs etc. and I'll throw in easily digestible some solid food when I'm not working so hard.
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Old 01-02-14, 09:53 PM   #4
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I have been using a 6:1 carb powder/protein mix in water and it has been working well for me. I always have had problems eating enough, and this helps a lot
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Old 01-03-14, 12:43 AM   #5
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As I start out doing long-distance/endurance type riding I've been experimenting with different types of nutrition. My longest rides so far have been 100 miles. I have tried running solely on liquid nutrition, (after a solid carb heavy breakfast) and have had good luck so far, but again only 100 miles. Is any one aware of any studies on doing long distance rides solely on liquid type nutrition, have any of the RAAM riders done this?
The liquid nutrition I have tried so far have been, Optimum whey protein powder mixed in water, ensure, sport type drinks, liquid gels.
Those of you who are more experienced, any thoughts, advice?

Thanks
John
I try to eat solid food for as long as I can on my long distance rides ... and when my stomach will no longer digest solid food, I switch to Ensure.

Oh, I also like Ensure for breakfast before a long ride. I don't do well on solid food for breakfast.

It has to be a pretty tough century for me to switch to Ensure ... I don't usually make the switch until the ride starts closing in on a double century.
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Old 01-03-14, 12:26 PM   #6
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I hear varying opinions from other riders as to what works best and what doesn't. Which is to say, why Product A is wonderful and Product B is crap that'll make you sick. So take that kind of advice with a grain of salt.
I use to use some of the Hammer powdered stuff and have wound up just eating whatever regular food sounds good at the time. That may be candy bars, barbecue sandwiches, soda pop, Beanie Wienie.
Maybe I'm just not a high-enough performance guy for it to make a difference.
Or maybe I have exceptionally wonderful digestive skills.
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Old 01-03-14, 03:02 PM   #7
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There is no question that it is possible for some people to ride on liquid nutrition alone. I like Perpetuem best but will drink ensure if i am feeling cheap. Besides being easily digestible liquid food is just plain easier to eat on the run, when you're riding hard and don't feel like spending ten minutes clumsily unwrapping and then choking on a peanut butter sandwich while the back of your pace line recedes into the distance.

That said I also eat tons of Real Food (TM) at rest stops and what have you. This breaks up the digestive and gustative monotony of all that soy milk, and requires you to carry less perpetuem powder on the bike.
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Old 01-03-14, 03:03 PM   #8
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I can do it either way for 100 miles- all solid or all liquid. I prefer solid just because I like to eat and it's mentally more satisfying than drinking. I also like it better in the winter because I don't drink all that much and I'd have to make a super concentrated mix to get all my calories in.

Somewhere between 100 and 200 miles, it becomes difficult for me to take in all the calories I need. I just lose the urge to eat and/or drink. I have to do a mixture of eating and drinking. The drinking is good because I can just take a small sip here and a small sip there and eventually it all adds up. However, if I drink too much I get that bloated and queasy feeling in my stomach, so I just have to force myself to eat from time to time.

I just got the Feed Zone Portables book and I made some rice cakes for a century I did on Monday. They seemed to go down pretty well. But like I said, I can get away with just about anything on a 100-miler, so I'll have to wait until spring when I start doing longer rides to give them a real test. There are a lot of other recipes in the Feed Zone Portables book that I'm eager to try. A lot of times on an organized long ride I resort to eating junk food like chips at the rest stops.
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Old 01-04-14, 03:42 PM   #9
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Appreciate the advice, thanks for taking the time to respond.
John
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Old 01-07-14, 04:24 PM   #10
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I try to eat solid food for as long as I can on my long distance rides ... and when my stomach will no longer digest solid food, I switch to Ensure.

Oh, I also like Ensure for breakfast before a long ride. I don't do well on solid food for breakfast.

It has to be a pretty tough century for me to switch to Ensure ... I don't usually make the switch until the ride starts closing in on a double century.
For long distance I just eat regular food,(not much carb) but that's zone 2 riding. If I were to do a long distance race,I may consider liquids, but I do fine metabolising fat for the riding I do.
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Old 01-11-14, 09:26 AM   #11
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I've been doing part of my rides on liquids. I eat solid carbs/proteins the eve before a long ride though. I have been drinking for breakfast 2-3 glasses of fruit smoothies with bananas as the main ingredient. I also take a couple of potassium and magnesium pills. Then during the ride, a combination of water, gatorade, clif bar and more potassium/magnesium pills. I don't know about you guys, but it hasn't been easy to make smoothies or drinks that contain a mix of carbs/protein to last (taste good!) in warmer weather. So, more fresh smoothie upon return home, lots of water, followed by a solid meal and more water. The more important thing I am learning is to keep repleneshing my electrolytes on long rides. The moment one bonks/cramps, one needs to reevaluate what one has been doing in regard to nutrition and/or training.
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Old 01-11-14, 06:56 PM   #12
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Reading some blogs from endurance riders, many of them mention using perpetuem pills, I've also noticed that perpetuem is rather pricey. For anyone that uses it does it work on long rides (<10 hrs)? Any other thoughts on commercial type (legal) items like perpetuem?

John
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Old 01-11-14, 07:16 PM   #13
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Liquid fuels have their place, especially in more extreme and competitive events such as RAAM, but for 99% of long distance cyclists, ordinary (solid) food will work just fine.

For me, bananas are the ultimate randonneur's fuel. Cheap, easy to find almost anywhere, they supply easily digested carbohydrates and potassium. I can literally eat them for days without getting sick of them. I also get other food, such as rice balls, yoghurt or cocoa for more variety, but bananas provide the bulk of my cycling calories (besides body fat). As long as my water bottle isn't empty and I still carry a banana or three in my jersey pockets, life is good.
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Old 01-11-14, 08:34 PM   #14
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Reading some blogs from endurance riders, many of them mention using perpetuem pills, I've also noticed that perpetuem is rather pricey. For anyone that uses it does it work on long rides (<10 hrs)? Any other thoughts on commercial type (legal) items like perpetuem?

John
I can't swing the cost of perpetuum. I used to use perpetuum solids as a supplement to real food, but I had trouble with them sometimes. I switched to carb powder and protein mix, which has all the limitations and benefits of perpetuum, but costs significantly less. The issue with it on long distance rides is carrying enough, even with drop bags. I also went to a hydration pack so I could use the powder mix in my water bottles. It also can be a bit annoying because you're always mixing powder with water
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Old 01-11-14, 10:53 PM   #15
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Liquid fuels have their place, especially in more extreme and competitive events such as RAAM, but for 99% of long distance cyclists, ordinary (solid) food will work just fine...
Don't know if I'd go that far. If you are "racing" over long distances, 100-200+miles, you are most likely going to run into problems with solid foods. Randonneuring is a totally different animal compared to long distance racing and there are a lot more than 1% of us who race. For that matter, there are a lot of "randoneurs" who actually race their brevets. They'd have the same issue.
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Old 01-11-14, 11:02 PM   #16
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Reading some blogs from endurance riders, many of them mention using perpetuem pills, I've also noticed that perpetuem is rather pricey. For anyone that uses it does it work on long rides (<10 hrs)? Any other thoughts on commercial type (legal) items like perpetuem?

John
I've used perpetuem on everything from double centuries to RAAM. It's ok. They have new flavors that are better now. I actually prefer Spiz. My stomach seems to handle it better. I can only handle Perpetuem for 300-350miles before my gag reflex kicks in. Never had that problem with Spiz, Ensure or Boost. I really only use Ensure and Boost when I'm doing a race that allows follow vehicles. Ensure comes in a powder form but it's hard to find and Boost only comes liquid.

Most of the powered fuels are expensive. I know of people who make their own but I don't know how much cheaper it is to do that. I'm to lazy to do it myself.
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Old 01-12-14, 12:43 PM   #17
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I have heard from a guy i ride with who makes his own "perpetuem" that home-made powders are significantly cheaper. It might be worth googling for anyone who is curious. Like you im too lazy but i see the merit.

I find Ensure too sweet to use in great quantities, and let's say it can make things weird on a ride where you plan to poop, but it sure is handy and available in a lot of convenience stores.

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Old 01-12-14, 09:09 PM   #18
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Recipe:
Buy maltodextrin in 50# bags from a homebrew supplier. I pay about $72 for a bag.
Buy Optimum Nutrition Gold flavored whey protein in 10 lb. bags. I get it from bodybuilding.com for $105. Or buy MuscleTech Phase 8 flavored whey+casein, 4.4# for $50.
Mix ~7 malto to 1 protein powder, by volume.

Hammer sells ~4.8 lbs. of Perpetuem for $50. You work out the cost difference.
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Old 01-13-14, 09:43 AM   #19
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This has been a very interesting discussion and I'm learning quite a bit. I've been using ensure, very difficult to carry enough to sustain yourself for long periods, like Homeyba, I think ensure would be best in a supported race, same with bananas, good food, but difficult to carry enough for a long race.
I've also been reading Hammer Nutrition's guide, has anyone tried their recommendations to make super strong mixes, ie: one bottle made up with enough powder mix to last 6-8 hours?
Thanks
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Old 01-13-14, 10:17 AM   #20
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I`m new to LD riding and still trying to work out my own method. So far, chocolate milk is turning out to be my principle fuel, often with a banana on the side. Don`t know how long I`ll be sticking with it, but that`s where I am now.

EDIT: I had a lot of problems on last year`s 300K and 400K (my first year of organized brevets) and found myself wondering why I hadn`t used more choco, which had done so well for me in "non-event" long rides. Looking back, I think I just succombed to the temptation of the amazing variety spread out for us at the controls, and saw everybody else chowing down on all the goodies, went along with the flow. I guess it works for most of the rest, but I think it`s too much for me. Have to admit that I didn`t continue with enough post season long rides to assure myself that the chocolate milk will still be my friend closing in on 200 miles- will know in a couple of months, and hopefully not have to go back to the drawing board.

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Old 01-13-14, 11:03 AM   #21
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This has been a very interesting discussion and I'm learning quite a bit. I've been using ensure, very difficult to carry enough to sustain yourself for long periods, like Homeyba, I think ensure would be best in a supported race, same with bananas, good food, but difficult to carry enough for a long race.
I've also been reading Hammer Nutrition's guide, has anyone tried their recommendations to make super strong mixes, ie: one bottle made up with enough powder mix to last 6-8 hours?
Thanks
John
I find the super strong mixes can give me sloshy stomach. I stick with 3 hours (~750 cal.) per bottle. That's about the distance between controls for me. I use 2 c. of my powder mix for a 3-hour bottle. I use two 1-liter bottles for brevets. Probably could go stronger because 2 c. is fine in a 24 oz. bottle. Only problem with powders is it's hard to go through controls as fast as people doing Ensure or chocolate milk, etc. OTOH, it's easier to maintain strength between controls, so if you're really organized it works OK. I only use straight liquid for 200k. As the distance increases, I use more food purchased at controls, going ~half and half solid and liquid for long legs. That cuts down on the amount of powder I carry and also feels better to my mouth and stomach. So I'll get some big calories at a control and then go mostly liquid on to the next one.
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Old 01-13-14, 07:34 PM   #22
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...I've also been reading Hammer Nutrition's guide, has anyone tried their recommendations to make super strong mixes, ie: one bottle made up with enough powder mix to last 6-8 hours?
Thanks
John
I've found that Perpetuem gets nasty (unpalatable) when it's been sitting or hot. Some people do make a paste out of it and use it for longer periods but when I do long races they are almost always supported and I just get fresh stuff out of the van. The only reason I could see doing that would be if you are doing a long brevet or something where you are going to be without support for long periods.
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Old 01-13-14, 07:52 PM   #23
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I've found that Perpetuem gets nasty (unpalatable) when it's been sitting or hot. Some people do make a paste out of it and use it for longer periods but when I do long races they are almost always supported and I just get fresh stuff out of the van. The only reason I could see doing that would be if you are doing a long brevet or something where you are going to be without support for long periods.
I've heard that a lot about Perpetuem. For some reason, my homebrew doesn't do that. I can ride with a bottle of it, bring home the left-overs, and it's still good two days later. I don't know what the deal is.

The question about a 6-8 hour bottle is why? On a brevet, you'll need to water at every control, and you'll want your food bottle to stay the same strength all the time, so you can meter the calories correctly. If it's an unsupported race, same thing, you'll still need to take on and lose water about every 3 hours.
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Old 01-13-14, 10:24 PM   #24
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That's it, I'm trying homemade powder this year. Thanks for posting that carbonfiberboy. One dumb question, 2c. equals 2 cups?

Cdat I have started brevets carrying twelve ensures; three in a single 750 ml bottle, and the remaining nine in my big handlebar bag. What can i say, it's heavy and it's ensure.

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Old 01-13-14, 10:50 PM   #25
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Dang! You were carrying 8+lbs of liquid in your handlebar bag?!?!?! I assume you were also carrying water. That's a lot of weight to haul around...
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