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.
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.