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  1. #1
    Senior Member TwoTyred's Avatar
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    Speed of digestion?

    i've been 'experimenting' with energy gels--
    unfortunately, for me, it's a lot like an
    alcoholic 'experimenting' with bourbon flavors...

    what i'm wondering is how often a person
    really needs to consume certain sugars while
    riding.

    i've read that some 'complex carbohydrates' take
    up to 1.5-3 hours to digest, but in practice, it seems
    like in about half an hour and i'm 'needing' another??

    how can this be? What i'm afraid of is overeating
    more than i need, since i'm also tying to burn fat.
    He who speaks bombastically shall bear witness to his own homonym!

  2. #2
    The Question Man
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    how hard do you ride?
    Trek 7200 FX Black
    (just bought her on June 12, 2005)

  3. #3
    lws
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    If you're trying to lose weight, then you should be able to ride for an hour and a half without eating anything. Gels and such are for longer rides. That said, each packet of gel contains about 100 kcals, so if you're sucking down one every twenty minutes you're still burning more calories than you're consuming.

    Depending on whether you reward yourself with a big bowl of ice cream afterwards, of course.

  4. #4
    Senior Member TwoTyred's Avatar
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    ok, i ride usually for over two hours,
    but lately, i've read about how if we
    aren't consuming enough carbs the
    body will preferentally(sp) burn muscle.
    So i'd like to avoid that, but i also would
    like to burn as much fat as possible--which,
    BTW, i've got about 15 extra lbs. --if anyone
    needs any?
    And then, just for my own curiosity, how can it
    take the body 1.5-3 hours to digest a 'simple'
    complex carbohydrate--like maltodextrin--but
    i swear it's effects are felt for only like 30 minutes??

    many thanks for any light--or fat-- anyone can shed on
    this
    He who speaks bombastically shall bear witness to his own homonym!

  5. #5
    The Question Man
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    I doubt you're burning very much muscle on a 2 hour ride. I go 2 and half hours on water. I know some people who go 50 miles on only water. Plus then you can't have a nice big lunch if you've been downing gel during your ride
    Trek 7200 FX Black
    (just bought her on June 12, 2005)

  6. #6
    lws
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTyred
    i've read about how if we
    aren't consuming enough carbs the
    body will preferentally(sp) burn muscle.
    ...
    And then, just for my own curiosity, how can it
    take the body 1.5-3 hours to digest a 'simple'
    complex carbohydrate--like maltodextrin--but
    i swear it's effects are felt for only like 30 minutes??
    As to the first thing, that's vastly oversimplified. I wouldn't say *entirely* false, but mostly false. Nobody ever wasted away from bonking, as unpleasant as it is. As for the second thing, you're right, it doesn't take three hours to digest an ounce of maltodextrin. Fifteen minutes maybe.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Food and drink advice:

    Drink one 750 ml (3 cup) bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours. That will keep you hydrated without over-doing it. Note: the 750 ml bottle is a pretty common size.

    Eat 500-1000 calories in the morning before you head out on a ride ... about an hour or so before you go, so you've got time to digest it. Then eat 250 calories per hour while you are cycling for the first 6 or 7 hours. Somewhere around the 6 or 7 hour mark, eat more - like 500-1000 calories (a meal). Then return to 250 calories per hour again for another 6 hours or so. Note: the average energy bar is about 250 calories, and the average gel is 100 calories.



    Now if it is hot, and/or as you move up into longer distances, you'll especially want to pay attention to your electrolytes (sodium and potassium). You may opt to take suppliments if the area you live is really hot, or you may find that something like a little bag of salted almonds or potato chips mid-way through the ride will do the trick.


    And if your ride is less than 2 hours, you probably don't need any food while you ride at all. Simply eat a small snack before you go out, and bring an energy bar with you on your ride, just in case.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTyred
    ok, i ride usually for over two hours,
    but lately, i've read about how if we
    aren't consuming enough carbs the
    body will preferentally(sp) burn muscle.
    So i'd like to avoid that, but i also would
    like to burn as much fat as possible--which,
    BTW, i've got about 15 extra lbs. --if anyone
    needs any?
    Nah, you've got a warehouse of about 2000-2500 calories in glycogen, so that's good for about 3-hours at a moderate pace for beginners. Sure, fit and trained athletes can go through that in under 2-hours, but they'll be eating 30-minutes into the ride anyway. It's only when you do long endurance rides over and over again, 2-3 times a week of 75-150 miles each, that muscle-catabolism becomes an issue. The bonk itself is not that harmful because it's a self-regulating thing, you just have to stop. It's really the rest afterwards is where the majority of muscle breakdown occurs. And that's only if you don't eat afterwards. So just be sure you eat about 200-250 calories/hr on the ride and eat afterwards and you'll be fine.

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