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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Pre-ride nutrition for 20+ mile rides

    My husband and I are both 50+ and returned to cycling in March. We are already riding 20+ miles on the weekends with a few shorter rides during the week as time permits. Yesterday we rode 27 miles. We add a few miles each weekend and we want to do this correctly with proper nutrition and hydration.

    On the longer weekend rides (20+ miles), we leave around 7:00 AM and take 1-2 bottles of water and a Kashi bar for each of us. We drink every 20 minutes (depending on the heat factor) and eat the Kashi bar as we approach 20 miles. The Kashi bar provides approx. 1:3 protein to carbs. Near the end of the ride (N - 2 miles) we stop for bagels w/peanut butter, fresh fruit, and coffee at the local bagel shop, then ride home (about 2 miles).

    We feel good after the ride and the next day, but we're wondering about a few things:

    1. Should we eat something light and high in efficient carbs *before* the ride, in addition to the snacks we take with us? If so, what would be a some pre-ride snacks? We'd prefer something quick to grab and eat/drink rather than sometime to prepare and cook (tho' instant oatmeal would be quick).

    2. For the snack during the ride, should we choose a higher carb snack instead, and save the Kashi bar for when we get back home.

    3. Is there a recommended mileage point for when an electrolyte drink is recommended over water, as well as what and how much to eat before, during, and after?

    Post-ride, we eat a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of protein to carbs, and eat healthy meals/snacks with plenty of water for the remainder of the day. Today we both feel great.

    Basically, I'm wondering at what mileage point we should add an electrolyte drink and a pre-ride snack before our ride, and if we should concentrate more on carbs during the ride.

    Any suggestions and/or resources for further reading would be greatly appreciated.

    Jen

    Edit: A lot of what I read about nutrition is geared for speed and endurance training. That's a little (a lot) out of our league. We're recreational cyclists who plan to go as far as we can, as best as we can, adding a few additional miles each week. No racing, competition, extreme hill-climbing, etc. We talk about doing a century maybe next year with 50+ rides in between. Otherwise, we are not elite-cyclists-in-training.
    Last edited by Yen; 07-22-07 at 01:06 PM.
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  2. #2
    Topic Killer Captain Crash's Avatar
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    Lets see.. Odwalla bars are good tasting, and good for you. They actually satisfy a lot of hunger for such a small snack...

    If you still drink coffee, I would probably drop that. It raises your blood pressure, and that plus cycling is bad...

    Anyways, hope I helped. Mostly what I picked up here. Oh, and this might me wrong, because I am only 15.

    Well, you guys have fun!

  3. #3
    Senoir Membre Rosso Corsa's Avatar
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    Well I went for a 40-mile ride today, and ate my normal daily breakfast, 1.5 liters of water, two eggs on a bagel with peanut butter, shake with bananas, soy milk, protein powder, various oil, and my calcium/multivitamins. hAlfway through my ride I had a bun, and I drank some water during the ride.

    I am no nutrition specialist, but it worked great for me; plenty of energy during the ride and I feel great now.

    I read somewhere that food afterwards is also really improtant, the guys I was riding with said a heaping bowl of pasta is best .

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    I think you are worrying too much about doing things "right". Honestly, your body will tell you if you are doing anything wrong. If you feel great after a ride and into the next day, whatever you're doing is right.

    For what it's worth, I'm 53. Pretty regularly, I do a 25mi ride in the mornings before work. I've tried it both with a pre-ride meal and without and I much prefer it without as I feel lighter and my head is clearer (i.e. no pre-ride carbs to provoke the hypoglycemia I'm prone to). What I do, though, is to make sure I have a light snack (a piece of fruit, for example) before going to bed the night before to give me something to start the morning with. For less than 2 hour rides in cool(er) weather, I just drink plain water and don't eat anything on the bike. A normal breakfast follows.

    For 3-4 hour rides, I'll have cereal and fruit or maybe a bagel and cream cheese before going out. Then after an hour or so on the bike I'll start nibbling on Cliff Shot Blox eating one or two every half hour. This isn't because I need it right then but because I know I'll need it soon and I want to avoid getting my glucose levels too low and bonking. For the longer rides, I'll carry a cliff bar or a bagel and eat that halfway. I also carry two water bottles, one with water and one with an electrolyte drink. I drink the plain water first and refill it at every chance. The electrolyte drink is saved for the last half or third of the ride when the day has warmed up and I'm sweating. When I get home, I either drink a glass of Endurox or whip up a protein/fruit shake to aid recovery.
    Last edited by Proximo; 07-22-07 at 03:06 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    For a short ride, I just drink a bottle of water and banana and I'm good..

    I would take a bottle of Heed for a 20 miler..

    If you are worried about bonking, just bring something along with you.. I like the cliff Shot bloks.. Easy to eat and carry and give you plenty of energy..

  6. #6
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proximo View Post
    (i.e. no pre-ride carbs to provoke the hypoglycemia I'm prone to).
    Thanks for mentioning that, I'm prone to it too, but especially after pure refined carbs. I'm wondering if 1/2 cup of O.J., or a piece of whole wheat bread would be fine.

    I also don't want to set our G.I. track in motion while we're out riding and miles from a bathroom....
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    My husband and I are both 50+ and returned to cycling in March. We are already riding 20+ miles on the weekends with a few shorter rides during the week as time permits. Yesterday we rode 27 miles. We add a few miles each weekend and we want to do this correctly with proper nutrition and hydration.

    On the longer weekend rides (20+ miles), we leave around 7:00 AM and take 1-2 bottles of water and a Kashi bar for each of us. We drink every 20 minutes (depending on the heat factor) and eat the Kashi bar as we approach 20 miles. The Kashi bar provides approx. 1:3 protein to carbs. Near the end of the ride (N - 2 miles) we stop for bagels w/peanut butter, fresh fruit, and coffee at the local bagel shop, then ride home (about 2 miles).

    We feel good after the ride and the next day, but we're wondering about a few things:

    1. Should we eat something light and high in efficient carbs *before* the ride, in addition to the snacks we take with us? If so, what would be a some pre-ride snacks? We'd prefer something quick to grab and eat/drink rather than sometime to prepare and cook (tho' instant oatmeal would be quick).

    2. For the snack during the ride, should we choose a higher carb snack instead, and save the Kashi bar for when we get back home.

    3. Is there a recommended mileage point for when an electrolyte drink is recommended over water, as well as what and how much to eat before, during, and after?

    Post-ride, we eat a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of protein to carbs, and eat healthy meals/snacks with plenty of water for the remainder of the day. Today we both feel great.

    Basically, I'm wondering at what mileage point we should add an electrolyte drink and a pre-ride snack before our ride, and if we should concentrate more on carbs during the ride.

    Any suggestions and/or resources for further reading would be greatly appreciated.

    Jen

    Edit: A lot of what I read about nutrition is geared for speed and endurance training. That's a little (a lot) out of our league. We're recreational cyclists who plan to go as far as we can, as best as we can, adding a few additional miles each week. No racing, competition, extreme hill-climbing, etc. We talk about doing a century maybe next year with 50+ rides in between. Otherwise, we are not elite-cyclists-in-training.
    I think you have a pretty good plan already - you are feeling good, and you aren't over-eating afterwards.

    To address your specific questions:

    1. Having a little something to start with can help a bunch. I often eat a few clif bloks or a few newtons, and you can also have 12oz or so of a hydration drink (which also makes sure your hydration is good). If you eat something here, it has to be something that's really light, and in that last 15-30 minutes before you start.

    2 & 3. I prefer a hydration drink with electrolytes, carbs, and protein, but people have very individual preferences here. In general, once you start getting over a couple of hours it's a good idea to think about electrolytes as well as carbs. If the bars are working for you now, I'd stick with them.
    Eric

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  8. #8
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    One warning about electrolyte drinks: the ones that list protein on the label (Endurox or Accelerade, for example) usually contain whey protein which gets really nasty tasting when warm (unless you like warm milk). I can just barely stand them when cold so I avoid them during a ride and save them for a recovery drink. For the ride, I've been using lemonade flavor Cliff Shot Electrolyte powder. When warm, it just tastes like slightly salty warm lemonade which isn't too bad. I mix 2 scoops per 24oz bottle instead of the 4 scoops the label recommends so it's not too sweet and sticky.
    Last edited by Proximo; 07-22-07 at 06:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Yen
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    Thanks everyone.

    I may be too worried about doing everything perfectly, but I just want to learn the basics so we don't let the nutrition fall down the drain while we continue riding. We also don't want to lose muscle by not taking in enough carbs if we should be doing that before we head out the door. My muscles are a tiny bit sore the next day, but not much. Otherwise, I feel good.

    I think we'll add a second bottle with electrolyte drink, and eat a small amount of carbs before we leave. I am prone to hypoglycemia and Hubby is prone to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) so we don't want to crash or have to turn around and head home right after we leave.

    Anything else we should know? I guess we need to continue experimenting.

    Yen
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