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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sir Lunch-a-lot's Avatar
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    Fibrous foods VS. Processed Foods

    Okay, I have been wondering something: What kinds of food work best for extended riding? After roughly an hour, I figure that the bodys blood sugar level is getting pretty low (if I'm going at it real hard, then I can feel the results). So what kinds of food should I take? Would highly processed foods (ie, cookies, bread, McDonalds, etc) be a good idea to give a sudden burst of energy, or do you guys think that more fibrous foods/foods that take longer for the body to absorb would be a good idea (things like oatmeal, all-bran, apples, etc). I'm inclined to think the latter, simply because if such foods take longer to break down, then there is a steady release of sugar into the blood stream, and thus, a more steady supply of energy, whereas with processed foods, you get a sudden release, and then its gone. Or, could it be a combo of both (ie, a quick release followed by a slower, steady release)?

    If I am correct, then what sort of foods do you guys think are best? Granola? Apples? Oat-meal? Any thoughts?

    I am planning/hoping to eventually be doing 60km round trips on a regular basis, and if my first round trip (done in the fall) was any indication, I need to wisen up a bit on the nutritional factor of cycling. I think I've almost got it figured out, but want to make sure.
    Pythagorean Theorum: 24 words. Lord's Prayer: 66 words. 10 Commandments: 179 words. Gettysburg Address: 286 words. Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words. U.S. Government Regulations on the Sale of Cabbage: 26,911 words.

  2. #2
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    I'm one of the guys who runs quite well on fat which I will consume amply before a ride. If I'm out on a long ride and think that I will need some carbohydrates to keep the effort up then dried fruit like dates I find to be the best in terms of food quality and convenience.

    Regards, Anthony

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot
    If I am correct, then what sort of foods do you guys think are best? Granola? Apples? Oat-meal? Any thoughts? I am planning/hoping to eventually be doing 60km round trips on a regular basis, and if my first round trip (done in the fall) was any indication, I need to wisen up a bit on the nutritional factor of cycling. I think I've almost got it figured out, but want to make sure.
    I'll concede I'm not really into the nutritional side of cycling either (although I'm starting to make an effort) but I'll share what I do as my standard ride is close to what you're looking at. If I ride early I'll usually have a bowl of grain cereal with banana or, if later in the day, a (wholemeal/grain) Banana sandwich before I go. During the ride I'll generally drink 750ml of Powerade and 750ml of water. Only thing I eat during a ride is a single Chocolate Gu Energy Gel (man, I love those things - I eat them instead of normal chocolate). I don't think I've ever been hungry (or bonked) on a ride like this but ymmv.

    cheers

    kim

  4. #4
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    For a ride of that distance I'd usually start with a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee if its a morning ride. Starting out later in the day, I may eat a peanut butter sandwich or an energy bar to top things off before heading out. If I get hungry during the ride I'll pop a couple fig newtons. As for liquid, I usually carry just water, although longer or hot rides I'll fill one bottle with diluted gatorade.

    Your required nutrition level will vary depended on the energy expended. If its a difficult route or you're putting in a lot of effort, then you will deplete your energy stores faster. Just expirement with different foods and find what works the best to keep you going. I'd recommend low fat and low glycemic level carbs as a starting point. The body will have an easier time converting these foods to energy.

    Michael

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot
    Okay, I have been wondering something: What kinds of food work best for extended riding? After roughly an hour, I figure that the bodys blood sugar level is getting pretty low (if I'm going at it real hard, then I can feel the results). So what kinds of food should I take? Would highly processed foods (ie, cookies, bread, McDonalds, etc) be a good idea to give a sudden burst of energy, or do you guys think that more fibrous foods/foods that take longer for the body to absorb would be a good idea (things like oatmeal, all-bran, apples, etc). I'm inclined to think the latter, simply because if such foods take longer to break down, then there is a steady release of sugar into the blood stream, and thus, a more steady supply of energy, whereas with processed foods, you get a sudden release, and then its gone. Or, could it be a combo of both (ie, a quick release followed by a slower, steady release)?

    If I am correct, then what sort of foods do you guys think are best? Granola? Apples? Oat-meal? Any thoughts?

    I am planning/hoping to eventually be doing 60km round trips on a regular basis, and if my first round trip (done in the fall) was any indication, I need to wisen up a bit on the nutritional factor of cycling. I think I've almost got it figured out, but want to make sure.
    I've been thinking about this. Perhaps some of the fibrous foods and some of the quick sugar (ie: fruits, powerbars, etc.) foods?

    If you use the glycemic scale, you can definitely layer your foods so you have the best of both worlds, in my opinion. About an hour before you leave out, have a food that's lower on the glycemic scale, like oatmeal or something along those lines- a food that will take longer to absorb and keep your sugar levels more steady over a longer period of time, PLUS when that food is fully digested, the energy crash is less drastic. But about 15 min before your ride, have a quickie carb food, or a food that's higher on the glycemic scale, like fruits or one of the energy bars that claim to have quick energy, or even some juice. This will give you some immediate energy that will take you through that first half hour or so before the lower glycemic food gets into your bloodstream. Then about 3 hours into your ride, when your low glycemic food starts to wane, have some gatorade or gu or some other high glycemic food. That ought to take you into the last part of your ride. When you finish your ride, don't forget to replete your carb stores, and this can be done with some pasta or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat, etc.

    I think if you layer your food, you'll have a better ride overall. Avoid the processed foods altogether. Greasy McDonald's is going to be too upsetting for your stomach anyway.

    Koffee

  6. #6
    Focus on the future alison_in_oh's Avatar
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    I can tell you what works for me, but it might not be totally applicable because I have a female physiology.

    The idea is to protect your muscle glycogen and stave off the bonk. You have enough glycogen for 2 hrs of moderate-intensity work if you rely on it exclusively for your carbohydrate source. If you're going easier than moderate intensity, your body can get a lot of its energy from oxidizing fat, and you can go longer without refueling. If you're really hammering, you might deplete your glycogen more quickly.

    I try to eat something with carbo, protein, and a little fat about an hour before a longish ride. Oatmeal, peanut butter crackers, a Clif bar if I'm in a hurry. That will easily get me through two hours, especially if I re-stock afterward (4:1 CHO to protein ratio preferably in liquid form).

    If I am going to be out more than 2 hrs, then after 90 min. I eat something that will digest moderately slowly. Moderate carbs with some protein and fat, and about 200 cal, like a half peanut butter sandwich. An hour later, if I am still riding and planning to be on the bike for a while, I'll take another ~200 cal, something a little quicker and easier to digest. Usually something with more carbo and less fat like a Clif bar. Finally, (none of my rides so far have been much over 4 hrs) I'll take something quick-burning to give me the energy to finish the ride. Like a banana or something.

    Food that is really "fibrous" will just make you have to poo on the ride! And that's annoying. There's a happy medium between "fibrous" and "processed".

    But all that said, if you're only going 30 km at a go, then I'd focus on pre- and post-ride nutrition, and not so much on eating on the bike. (The guys I ride with seldom need food for less than 40 miles.) If you're doing the whole 60 km at once, one snack or two will probably get you through.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sir Lunch-a-lot's Avatar
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    Okay, thanks for the tips, guys (and gals). I think that it was quite helpful.
    Pythagorean Theorum: 24 words. Lord's Prayer: 66 words. 10 Commandments: 179 words. Gettysburg Address: 286 words. Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words. U.S. Government Regulations on the Sale of Cabbage: 26,911 words.

  8. #8
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot
    Okay, I have been wondering something: What kinds of food work best for extended riding? After roughly an hour, I figure that the bodys blood sugar level is getting pretty low (if I'm going at it real hard, then I can feel the results). So what kinds of food should I take? Would highly processed foods (ie, cookies, bread, McDonalds, etc) be a good idea to give a sudden burst of energy, or do you guys think that more fibrous foods/foods that take longer for the body to absorb would be a good idea (things like oatmeal, all-bran, apples, etc). I'm inclined to think the latter, simply because if such foods take longer to break down, then there is a steady release of sugar into the blood stream, and thus, a more steady supply of energy, whereas with processed foods, you get a sudden release, and then its gone. Or, could it be a combo of both (ie, a quick release followed by a slower, steady release)?

    If I am correct, then what sort of foods do you guys think are best? Granola? Apples? Oat-meal? Any thoughts?

    I am planning/hoping to eventually be doing 60km round trips on a regular basis, and if my first round trip (done in the fall) was any indication, I need to wisen up a bit on the nutritional factor of cycling. I think I've almost got it figured out, but want to make sure.

    i think you are thinking about this in the wrong way. the foods you eat in preparation will start nearly two days prior. no one wants anything lingering around in their digestive tract when they're about to exercise hard...yuck. so of course those complex carbs you mentioned are better...health wise. you cannot make up for what you ate in the past few days the morning before you exercise.

    you need to google search carbohydrate loading.

    once your intense exercise begins, and you know its going to be more than an hour, you should probably have a fast acting simple carb (like that gatorade goop stuff, or honey combined with an electrolyte replacement of some sort) every 20 to 30 minutes.

    if you know the exercise bout will be under 60 minutes, water should suffice or an energy drink....i always like to dilute mine with water as well.

    good luck!

  9. #9
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    I don't think you need to carbo load for commuting. Carbo loading is more for people doing the long distance stuff and the racing stuff... not for commuting. In that case, it's good to think about how you're going to eat before you shove off.

    Koffee

  10. #10
    Focus on the future alison_in_oh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    I don't think you need to carbo load for commuting. Carbo loading is more for people doing the long distance stuff and the racing stuff... not for commuting. In that case, it's good to think about how you're going to eat before you shove off.
    As I understand it, carbo loading in its most useful form (glycogen depletion followed by glycogen overload) is not really for anyone, except maybe the person doing very few events in a season and wanting every scrap of advantage, because it totally screws up your training during the glycogen depletion phase.

    In particular, a 38 mile round trip, especially if it's taken 17 miles at a time, doesn't really require any special prep beyond physically training for it, IMO.

  11. #11
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    I don't think you need to carbo load for commuting. Carbo loading is more for people doing the long distance stuff and the racing stuff... not for commuting. In that case, it's good to think about how you're going to eat before you shove off.

    Koffee
    oops...were they just commuting? (reading comprehension...)

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