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  1. #1
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    How soon to start eating on a ride?

    I'm doing some distance rides of 100 to 110 km's each (62 to 70 miles) soon. From experience I normally eat a power bar of some kind after about 2 hours which is about halfway for me. By then I'm starting to need some extra energy, so my question is how long does everyone else wait before starting in on the rations?

    My logic was that I should have enough stored up to last the first 2 hours, but I'm experimenting with starting sooner to be more in line with the idea of drinking before you are thirsty, but with food. I normally save the energy gels for either a tough section or when I really feel drained.

    I'd like to hear what everyone else does on these rides.

    Andy
    He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

  2. #2
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I would start 30-minutes into a ride if I'm doing a 3-4 hour ride. There's a limitation on how much your body can absorb per hour, about 200-300 calories max. So if you're going to be burning off 4000 calories and have only 2000 stored, you're going to need to ingest the difference. In 4 hours if you start eating right at the start of a ride, you're still only going to get in 1200 calories max. That 800 calorie difference can be from fat-metabolism if you're fit enough and ride slow enough.

    "My logic was that I should have enough stored up to last the first 2 hours, but I'm experimenting with starting sooner to be more in line with the idea of drinking before you are thirsty, but with food. I normally save the energy gels for either a tough section or when I really feel drained."

    The problem is you can't absorb 2000 calories in the remaining 2 hours of your ride. You'll only get in 200 calories by the time you bonk at 3 hours. Then it's creeping and crawling home that last 25 km at 10km/hr while you desperately scan the ground for scraps of carbs to eat...

  3. #3
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    NZ Andy: Perhaps this is of interest?

    I just completed back to back centuries on Wisconsin lime stone trails. Reedsburg to Trempeleau. I did an experiment with food intake.
    My total nutrition intake was Gel packages of 90 calories each. I had 10 packages per day. Dinner was fish, veggies, potato and bottle of good wine. Breakfast was large oatmeal, fruit plate and egg sandwich.
    My speed was 100 miles in 6 hours the first day with a light wind from the back.
    Second day it took 7 hours for the 100 miles with a gusty headwind, all the way.
    I lost 4 lb. in those two days but some of that may be water.

    Summary: I will not do this again. The Gel became distasteful after the two days.
    I did this same trip with conventional food and felt better and had more energy.

  4. #4
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    Like Hinault sez: "Eat before you get hungry and drink before you get thirsty."

    sound advice.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    When and how you eat and drink is determined by hard you plan to exercise and how much and how recently you ate before exercise.

    It IS important to begin drinking (sipping) fluids in as little as 15 minutes after starting.

  6. #6
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    you 'll see elite riders drinking on the startline.

  7. #7
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    Exactly. Eat 5 minutes before you roll out. And keep eating on a schedule. Start topping off your fuel tank immediately upon beginning, and don't stop.


    Quote Originally Posted by ed073
    you 'll see elite riders drinking on the startline.

  8. #8
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Then it's creeping and crawling home that last 25 km at 10km/hr while you desperately scan the ground for scraps of carbs to eat...
    Been there. Done that.

    I find that if I do a decent carb-up a day or so before a metric century and I've practised going long (at least about 2/3rds of the distance), then I can make it on about 40-80 ounces of carb replacement drink--no food required. I'm 47 years old, weigh about 150 pounds @ 67 inches tall, and am riding a K2 comfort bike on these rides, but managing an average of 15 MPH.

    .

  9. #9
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    My unofficial guideline is to eat a Powerbar and drink a bottle of water/Gatorade every hour starting within the first hour. Eating and drinking enough made a big difference this season (3 metrics, 2 regular centuries) for me on ride of more than a couple hours; I'm definitely a believer now.

  10. #10
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    On after work rides on less than 2 hours I eat nothing but a PowerBar or Cliff Bar after the ride then it's supper time within an hour of finishing the ride.

    On weekend rides, I am well hydrated before the ride. Depending upon when the last meal was, I may eat a PowerBar while getting ready; this will be within 30 min. of riding. I'll eat a bar every 45min-1 hour along with a bottle of water. I keep a couple of bars back in the Element for after the ride then it's home to a meal of slow carbs, low fat, sensible amt. of protein.

    And some good Scotch. Balvenie, Lagavulin, Glenrothes, or Highland Park.

    Pre-ride and ride bars have little or no fiber. I have one bottle of water, one bottle of a GNC knock-off of Accelerade but I find it too sweet. Can anyone recommend a non-sweet electrolyte drink?

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the good responses. I have two metric centuries scheduled in the next 5 weeks so I wanted some opinions before then. They will be my 4th and 5th metrics.

    Currently I try to be all prepped before a ride having eaten something and had a good drink. My Camelbak allows me to continually drink along the ride. My preferred ride food is either Musashi Growling Dog bars or some home made stuff my wife makes which she calls 'bird seed bars' made mostly of seeds, oats, honey, and peanut butter. I will have her make them into small bite sized sections so they will be easier to eat while pressing on.

    I tried the idea of running on energy gels on my first big ride, and my stomach was rebelling after the 4th one so now I use them in moderation, normally only using 1 or 2 on a metric century.

    As for recovery, I have a bottle of Grant's Reserve scotch which does help with the celebration feast. At my friend's house it is 'Paging Dr. J. Daniels to recovery'. Of course, if we had a team captain I would have to call him Morgan.....
    He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    NZ Andy: This is from post #3 above.

    I lost 4 lb. in those two days but some of that may be water.
    Summary: I will not do this again. The Gel became distasteful after the two days.
    I did this same trip with conventional food and felt better and had more energy.
    Andy:
    Following the 200 mile trip on Gel and water, I replenished my body with wholesome food including pasta, cake, fish, oatmeal, fruit and wine for two days. I put back the 4 lb. I lost.
    The end result is that I had a terrific ride today for 50 miles at a pace above 20 MPH over hilly terrain. Nutrition matters a lot, so it seems to me.

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