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Old 04-01-14, 06:44 PM   #26
Thulsadoom
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It's kinda like I said above...the more you ride the more food you're going to need or going to end up craving in the long run. The only way you can truly get the food is to eat the junk food and go for the carbs/sugars. They are where the energy is located. The energy doesn't come from fat and the calories or energy don't come from fruits and veggies either.

The one big thing you have to remember when you start doing higher mileages is to replenish the salt and potassium. Yes, if I'm riding long rides...150-200+ miles I'll down basically a banana an hour. I just rode 125 miles today and I'll end up eating my usual 2 bananas after I get home this evening. On long rides I'll add a teaspoon(I think that is the right measure spoon type) of sea salt to each liter of water I drink, especially when it's hot. When I started doing both of those two things a couple of years ago I stopped having any signs of dehydration at all like I use to have.

You have follow what your body wants...I'll agree with that completely. You also need to watch to make sure you are replenishing the main staples of energy though or you will end up running out of energy...if you are doing long days. If you are only riding 50-75 miles a day I wouldn't do a darn thing different than if I was at home sitting on butt all day long.
Not trying to hijack the thread, but again I disagree. I typically average around 100 miles a day on my tours with a 100 pound rig, and I do 100+ mile rides quite often around where I live. The junky-est food I eat is Clif bars. I've competed in several ultra-cycling events and I don't eat junk food when I do them either. You don't need to eat junk food to ride big miles.
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Old 04-01-14, 07:24 PM   #27
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Sustained elevated blood glucose is toxic to those cells in the pancreas that make insulin, the loss of which - wait for it....- further increase sustained blood glucose levels. Do yourself a giant favor and stop eating junk food now, whether you are touring or not. It is as stupid as smoking.
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Old 04-01-14, 08:27 PM   #28
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Once you get into that sugar consuming & fast burning pattern it's hard to break. I don't recommend it, and I try to avoid it.
I suspect a lot of us learned that at one point, I agree with you, it aint a good thing.
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Old 04-02-14, 01:39 AM   #29
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Food has never been an issue for me on a tour, half the fun of a tour is stopping to sample the food along the way.
Eat a good breakfast, stop for a snack from a roadside market after a couple hours of riding, stop for lunch from a grocery store in the town you're cycling through, stop for an afternoon ice cream, stop for the night ... eat crackers and cheese before putting up the tent or getting settled for the night ... eat dinner after setting up the tent and getting settled for the night.






Damned! I never had such luxuries on my tours. No wonder, I loose lots of weight touring, while eating about twice as much as I do normally. May be I should rethink, and eat ice creams and desserts only. To hell with complex carbs and fibres. BTW, I bulk up with heavy weight training, in preparation for a long tour.
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Old 04-02-14, 01:44 AM   #30
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Sticker that is like the one on the rear fender of my wife's bike. It pretty much sums it up.


This slide from one of my wife's presentations showing how it is done
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Old 04-02-14, 02:17 AM   #31
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Damned! I never had such luxuries on my tours. No wonder, I loose lots of weight touring, while eating about twice as much as I do normally. May be I should rethink, and eat ice creams and desserts only. To hell with complex carbs and fibres. BTW, I bulk up with heavy weight training, in preparation for a long tour.
Those are European ice creams (two of them are in Germany, and one in France) ... the best ice creams in the world.

A huge bowl, with several scoops of ice cream, topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce or some other topping, and of course, liqueur. I think the first two were a chocolate/coffee (mocha?) and rum combo, and the last is a chocolate and mint liqueur. And in the second photo, the ice cream on the plate is called spaghetti ice cream ... they shape it like a huge bowl of spaghetti.

On several days during our time in Europe in 2012 ... that was lunch.
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Old 04-02-14, 06:23 AM   #32
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...One secret for getting the calories is to forget the quality of the food and just focus on the quantity(calorie wise).....
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...The only way you can truly get the food is to eat the junk food and go for the carbs/sugars. They are where the energy is located. The energy doesn't come from fat and the calories or energy don't come from fruits and veggies either....
Maybe I'm reading out of context or just don't get what you're saying, but are you proposing a junk food diet for athletes? I gotta disagree that energy doesn't come from fat--fat has twice the calorie content of sugar. And are you saying that fruit doesn't have sugar?

I understand junk food cravings and the ease with which those are fulfilled, but I don't think it's a good idea for long term consumption. I like my pancreas. I'm married to a type 1 diabetic athlete so I'm a little more aware than most of quick carbs in the diet, and with diet in general. Of course, all things in moderation--including moderation. Machka's ice cream creations sure look good.

I've also hiked the AT, along with the PCT and CDT, and have toured cross country more than once. It's hard to avoid junk food on trips like that, but I do my best. (On my AT hike, I met a well-known hiker (the name would sound familiar, I'm sure) who attempted a JMT hike with nothing but Little Debbies brownies. He didn't make it.)
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Old 04-02-14, 09:07 AM   #33
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I guess the thing you have to really look at is two things. Do you need the energy? When do you need the energy?

If you need the energy right now you better get it from sugars. Sugars are the first thing to be consumed by the body. The second thing is complex carbs, they will also be the second thing to be used. The last thing to be consumed and used by the body is fat. The higher the fat content of a particular food the longer it will take the body to consume it...and hence the lower the fat the quicker you will get any benefits from the sugars or complex carbs. Fat is also a much slower form of energy as well. You can't ride/run/swim/whatever as fast when your using fat(bonked) as you can when you are using carbs.

I fess most of the stuff I eat while I'm on a trip is generally not pure sugars. When I'm out riding around home doing a 150-200 mile day I'll eat sugars left and right. On a trip I fess I normally eat McDonalds, high carb, high sodium food. I want the sodium to help with avoiding dehydration. I just saw on the 128 miles I rode yesterday how easy it is to become dehydrated even on a 50 degree day. Last night was pure he!! thanks to getting dehydrated yesterday due to not taking in any easy to consume sodium throughout the day. The higher the fat content the slower the body will process the sodium, the carbs, the fat, the sugars, the anything.

Lunchtime on a trip I normally will go for the sugar route that way I'll have the energy when I need it...now, not tomorrow.

Eating fruit on a trip can give you important vitamins and minerals you won't get in processed foods but they don't give you any calories. Do the research. if you want to stave a craving, great go for the fruit. Don't be surprised if you find another hunger craving to shortly follow though. You will still find yourself losing weight while on a long distance trip even though you are eating a ton of fruit. It has the nutrients that you are losing but it doesn't have the calories you are losing.

Bagels and bread, complex carbs do have the calories and they will take longer to process than simple sugars. When you stop to get something to eat you have to ask yourself how you are feeling right now. Are you tired/slowing down quite a bit/lacking the energy. If you are you and you still have a lot of miles to make for the day you better look to simple sugars for your source of food so the body will give the your energy fast. Again, make sure to watch how much fat the food contains...the higher the fat the longer it will take you to get the sugars to give you the energy. If you are feeling fine but know you need to take in some calories go for the complex carbs.

It's like I said it all depends on when you need the energy. Make sure you know what lies ahead along the road, is it a flat stretch of tailwind or a long steady climb coming up. Plan ahead of time and you'll have the energy you need.

Anytime you start to notice a reduction in average speed, not related to topography/headwinds more than likely you are running into one of two problems, dehydration or your starting to burn fat. Make sure you are drinking enough and getting enough sodium and then the dehydration issue won't be a factor.

Remember when eating, eat the simple sugars first, the complex carbs second and the fats last. I would do the exact opposite at supper time though. I would eat the fats first so they don't try to keep me awake at night(the buzz) like the burning of simple sugars would.

If you don't want to lose weight you have to replace the calories. Yes, some calories are better for you then others but the problem is some foods don't provide any calories so you would have to eat an unedable amount of the food to get any benefit from it. Try downing 4 or 5 big watermelons at one sitting and then you'll get the idea of what I'm talking about.
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Old 04-02-14, 01:47 PM   #34
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I try to eat the same things I do at home,just more of it.

Eat a big breakfast,medium lunch and a small dinner.....sometimes I'll eat 2 breakfast and 2 lunches.

Cherries are my favorite snack on the bike....They are like super fuel for me.I'm not sure what's in them but my body LOVES cherries when I'm putting out lot's of effort.

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Old 04-02-14, 03:02 PM   #35
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Most North Americans carry a nice supply of emergency calories around the middle. Until that supply has been depleted I really don't worry about energy levels or calorie intake. My uncle on the other hand is built like a professional bicyclist and eats small amts of calorie dense foods every 45 minutes.

After 4 weeks in a warm climate I have probably lost 10 pounds and the calorie intake jumps to around 5k a day.

Have I ever lost too much weight? Yes, 9 days of bananna pudding poo accompanied by gas while hurling your carcass up and over 12-14000 foot passes will do that to you. Managing food intake at high elevations 10k+ is a beast. Eat -ANYTHING- and the energy level in the legs drops to nothing as the body shifts resources to the gut.
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Old 04-02-14, 06:46 PM   #36
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I don't have a hard time getting enough calories. The more fit I get, the more efficient it seems. My weight stays pretty steady. I eat oatmeal cooked in soy milk with some dried fruit for breakfast. For lunch I typically get a foot long tuna or veggie sandwich at subway and eat a couple cookies with it. Then I pack half of that for dinner. On the bike I snack on God knows how many nuts along with more dried fruit.

But I'm eating because I'm hungry. Not out of discipline.
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Old 04-02-14, 06:56 PM   #37
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Maybe I'm reading out of context or just don't get what you're saying, but are you proposing a junk food diet for athletes? I gotta disagree that energy doesn't come from fat--fat has twice the calorie content of sugar. And are you saying that fruit doesn't have sugar?

I understand junk food cravings and the ease with which those are fulfilled, but I don't think it's a good idea for long term consumption. I like my pancreas. I'm married to a type 1 diabetic athlete so I'm a little more aware than most of quick carbs in the diet, and with diet in general. Of course, all things in moderation--including moderation. Machka's ice cream creations sure look good.

I've also hiked the AT, along with the PCT and CDT, and have toured cross country more than once. It's hard to avoid junk food on trips like that, but I do my best. (On my AT hike, I met a well-known hiker (the name would sound familiar, I'm sure) who attempted a JMT hike with nothing but Little Debbies brownies. He didn't make it.)
+1. There's an energy boost from simple sugar or junk food. But that's not nutrition. That may keep you going today, but healthy food will do that too and provide for a better tomorrow.
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Old 04-02-14, 07:03 PM   #38
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Best photo I've ever seen in this forum!!! Thanks for sharing!
Yep, between the awe inspiring view from the top of a mountain range and that dish of wonderfulness does it get any better?
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Old 04-02-14, 07:05 PM   #39
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Sustained elevated blood glucose is toxic to those cells in the pancreas that make insulin, the loss of which - wait for it....- further increase sustained blood glucose levels. Do yourself a giant favor and stop eating junk food now, whether you are touring or not. It is as stupid as smoking.
+1. So many people think if they burn the calories off rather than gain weight it doesn't matter. Not true. Your body wants more good nutrition under the load of touring. Empty sugar calories do little other than a temporary energy boost and as you say, the demand for insulin to get the blood sugar level down.
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Old 04-02-14, 07:09 PM   #40
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The posts here show a pretty wide range of opinions. All people are different in how many cals they need per day, but I agree with every single post about water. You really can't drink too much when it's warm outside.

Dehydration will kill you. I don't understand the juices, gels and bars. As already stated they are expensive and have too much sugar and for the most part are pointless.

Always have more water than you need and always have some easily consumable food with you. My favorite is Mars bars, but they don't travel well in the heat. My best advice is always have something with you that you like to eat. If you don't like it, you won't eat it and are more likely to bonk.
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Old 04-02-14, 07:13 PM   #41
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.there must of been a few people here who got gassed out and maybe even quit a tour I'm guessing due to just not having the energy to keep going.
Short term deficit of fuel doesn't cut a tour short, injury does. Fatigue from lack of recovery is pretty simple, rest. There's nothing complicated about this. Why do you ask?
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Old 04-03-14, 05:16 AM   #42
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The posts here show a pretty wide range of opinions. All people are different in how many cals they need per day, but I agree with every single post about water. You really can't drink too much when it's warm outside.
Dehydration will kill you. I don't understand the juices, gels and bars. As already stated they are expensive and have too much sugar and for the most part are pointless.

Always have more water than you need and always have some easily consumable food with you. My favorite is Mars bars, but they don't travel well in the heat. My best advice is always have something with you that you like to eat. If you don't like it, you won't eat it and are more likely to bonk.

That is not true, albeit a very common mistake. Look up Hyponatremia. The body can only absord and process just so much fluid. I've seen lots of people slug down huge amounts of water and fluids while working outdoors in the heat, thinking they were doing the right thing, and they just end up sick. Sometimes you just have to slow down and take it easier, you can't always just drink more fluids to combat the heat.
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Old 04-03-14, 05:28 AM   #43
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Those are European ice creams (two of them are in Germany, and one in France) ... the best ice creams in the world.

A huge bowl, with several scoops of ice cream, topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce or some other topping, and of course, liqueur. I think the first two were a chocolate/coffee (mocha?) and rum combo, and the last is a chocolate and mint liqueur. And in the second photo, the ice cream on the plate is called spaghetti ice cream ... they shape it like a huge bowl of spaghetti.

On several days during our time in Europe in 2012 ... that was lunch.
Dear Machka, I clearly have a dilemma. A love/ hate relationship with your post. After reading your post, I raided my refrigerator and emptied what ever ice cream I had. And I'm not on a tour.
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Old 04-03-14, 05:52 AM   #44
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Dear Machka, I clearly have a dilemma. A love/ hate relationship with your post. After reading your post, I raided my refrigerator and emptied what ever ice cream I had. And I'm not on a tour.


So sorry!!

We haven't had ice cream in our fridge for quite some time ... too dangerous!!
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Old 04-03-14, 06:17 AM   #45
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That is not true, albeit a very common mistake. Look up Hyponatremia....
Excellent point. I cycled in Phoenix with a guy who nearly died of this on a golf course one summer. He said it was a stupid thing to be out when it was so hot, but he was very well hydrated. The last thing he remembers before waking up from his coma days later was wiping his brow and thinking, that's odd, my sweat is slick. No salt in the sweat leaves a clean feeling and that's a sign you're about to die, apparently.
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Old 04-03-14, 08:51 AM   #46
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I will pass along another lesson learned....

Once upon a time I was doing a ride to my parents place. Its only 100 kms but at some point I have to climb the Niagara escarpment which is a decent grade and a longish climb.

I made the mistake of taking a break for lunch just before the climb. Must have been hubris, I was in pretty decent shape, even if I wasn't a great climber.

I had a burger/fries combo at Dairy Queen.

I waited about twenty minutes and began the climb fairly strongly. But by the time I got to the top, I was cooked. I found a tree and sat underneath for a while and rehydrated.

Of course I learned that you only have so much blood in your body, and that when you are absorbing a big meal and pushing your body hard with exercise, a little war takes place. And you lose either way.

Of course it wasn't fatal, just waited a bit to recover and thankfully it the rest of the ride is flat.

And of course the ride back, going down that slope is an amazing ride. I know there were times I could have been stopped for speeding. Totally made up for the bonk on the way up.

So its great to have lots of calories when riding, just give yourself time to absorb them, and have only snacks when riding.
That is a lesson I learned as a Mail Carrier in Cleveland. Do NOT stop for lunch in the winter! The body will prioritize the bloodflow to the digestive system and away from the extremities. Bloodflow is what keeps the extremities warm, so the reduced bloodflow after a meal will make them prone to getting cold and increases the chance of frostbite. If you DO ever start to feel the extremities getting cold do not stop to 'warm up' - move faster to increase the bloodflow!

The trick when riding is to eat high-energy foods that are quickly digested like fruits and berries. On a relaxed tour this isn't a problem since you can just shift down a gear and give a heavier meal sufficient time to digest.
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Old 04-03-14, 03:57 PM   #47
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You have to have to potassium(sp?) and sodium to go with the water or you will just sweat and piss out the water and nothing will be left behind to keep you from getting dehydrated.
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Old 04-03-14, 06:39 PM   #48
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I try to eat the same things I do at home,just more of it.

Eat a big breakfast,medium lunch and a small dinner.....sometimes I'll eat 2 breakfast and 2 lunches.

Cherries are my favorite snack on the bike....They are like super fuel for me.I'm not sure what's in them but my body LOVES cherries when I'm putting out lot's of effort.
Thanks. Cherries sound like a great idea. I mostly eat fruit and nuts while I'm riding. Then complex carbs, protein, vegetables when I stop for a real meal.
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Old 04-04-14, 10:39 AM   #49
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I think it will be impossible to replace all the calories used each day on a tour lasting weeks, especially on hot days, climbing days, and tough days when you are fighting head wind. Weight loss, and muscle loss is gonna happen. I asked this question because I wanted to ride to NY from CA.

I now now think planned rest days are mandatory to replenish calories and to avoid fatigue, rather than go every day until you bonk and your body just quits.
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Old 04-04-14, 10:48 AM   #50
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I think it will be impossible to replace all the calories used each day on a tour lasting weeks, especially on hot days, climbing days, and tough days when you are fighting head wind. Weight loss, and muscle loss is gonna happen. I asked this question because I wanted to ride to NY from CA.

I now now think planned rest days are mandatory to replenish calories and to avoid fatigue, rather than go every day until you bonk and your body just quits.
That probably depends on how long your rides are, how hot are you talking about, etc. I can only speak from experience. I typically ride about 80 miles per day average and spend 6-8 hours doing it. I have no problem maintaining my weight with an effort like that. I don't eat junk food, candy, etc. I'm eating what I normally do - complex carbs, protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts. I do eat more that normal, but not really much more. Although my normal (non-touring life) includes commuting by bicycle (40 miles RT), recreation on the weekends, shopping, etc. all by bicycle.
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