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  1. #1
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    Two long rides in a week-planning

    I am planning on a metric on one Sunday, followed the following Sunday by my first ever century (goal sub 6.5 of travel).

    So far, I have about 2200 miles this year, probably at 2500 or more by the century combos. I do about 125-150 per week, usually a 40+ ride and several around 30.

    I have done several metrics this year with no real problems. On occasion, on shorter rides (probably a coincidence), I've suffered from stomach cramps along the way. My typical pre-ride meal for the metrics is pasta the night before, and pasta, a bagel, a banana, and some or all of a Clif Bar or fig newtons in the morning before the ride. I am not into high tech foods and was hoping for some real food suggestions. I do occasionally carry 3/1 ratio gatorade/water drink.

    I would like a good plan for recovery, riding and preparation between the two long rides. Is it a big enough gap I don't have anything to worry about, given my normal weekly mileage? Also, what might be the source of the cramps? Too much water, too little water? What diet do you recommend for the week in between, and what should my during the ride diet be? I am assuming I should get about 250-300 calories per hour.

  2. #2
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    a week is plenty of time to recover. I would do a recovery ride on monday, anything you want on tuesday-thursday, nothing hard on friday, nothing on saturday.

    I wouldn't do a major diet change during the week, just eat quality food with maybe slightly higher ratio of carbs. for my first century, i thought i had to carb load the night before, ended up eating too much pasta, and then i couldn't sleep.

    oh by the way, no one ever talks about sleep. seems like the most important thing. i can never sleep the night before so the most important thing is to sleep really well the night before the night before, just in case. oh and no alcohol for 2 days before.

    I would eat lightly the morning of the ride. what you mention for the pre-ride meal (pasta + bagel + banana + clif + newtons) = a lot in your stomach. Unless you are eating that all like 3 hours pre-ride, that's gonna be a big lump sitting there. that might be your stomach cramps.

    Usually those supported centuries start so early, it's hard to eat. I just eat a bowl of cereal an hour or so before, then a banana right at the start if i'm hungry at all. then I start eating gels (gu) alternating with "real food" (= banana or half-pb&j, or cookies, or 1/2 bagel w/ peanut butter) every hour or so for the remainder of the ride. each intake should be small. Usually the problem i have is they have some big table of stuff, and i try a little of everything, it's too much, and it sits there like a lump. on my last big ride, i ate very lightly at each aid station, and had a gu in between, and that worked great. carry something in your pockets, just in case you need food in between aid stations.

    personally i can't do gatorade at all, i like gu2o or cytomax, but if it works for you, great. gatorade is also not "real food" it's just a low-quality sports drink, IMO. clif bars are not real food either.

    watch the newtons, if you eat too many... well, you know, dried fruit + lots of fiber = jet propulsion and/or the big D. a few are great, more than a few... not so much.

    It has taken me 3 years of riding centuries to figure it out. you'll have to be patient and see what works for YOU. I might try going smaller on the breakfast, however, and opening your mind to gels. they are really fast energy and don't make your stomach do any work at all.
    ...

  3. #3
    mateo for short mateo44's Avatar
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    For me, I like about 500 calories for breakfast before a ride (maybe a bit more if it's a century), then about 150-200 calories per hour while on the bike (maybe more, depending on the intensity). Those calories come from a combination of liquid (usually G20 or accelerade), "real" food (sometimes fig newtons or Clif bloks or something like that) and gels. I also think gels are great (especially the kind with caffeine, since I usually cut back on coffee before a big ride).

    Note that some energy drinks (like accelerade) have protein; others (like Gu20 or cytomax) do not. Some peoples have sensitive stomachs when it comes to protein during rides. Some bike shops sell single-serving packets of the various drinks -- you might want to buy a few and figure out which work for you. That way you avoid buying the 4-pound drum and discovering that it makes you sick. And, if you can't tolerate the flavor, you won't drink it during the ride -- also bad news. It's important to find one you'll drink -- and don't forget temperature. If you like it cold, you might not like it luke-warm.

    Since there's so much variation in people's tolerances and preferences, it's hard to say what's "best." What's best for you'll figure out with experience and good old trial-and-error.

    I do know, though, that I've seen lots of people on centuries stuffing their faces at every rest stop. It's very important to eat enough during a ride of that duration, but it's also very prudent to avoid over doing it. Small, frequent intakes (as Valygrl suggests) is a great method. There is a maximum rate at which one can absorb carbs -- going above that is a recipe for feeling sick to your stomach. But try not to get to the point when you're hungry -- you should eat before that (just as you should drink before you get thirsty).

    If weight loss is any part of your motivation, I'd be very careful about eating on the bike -- make sure you do it (but prudently)! If you don't, and you think you'll save calories that way, you'll just eat them ALL back at the end, when you are absolutely famished at the ride's end. You want a pretty level blood sugar level throughout the day. If you do things right, you shouldn't feel starving at the end. That way, you can eat a reasonable (but somewhat large) meal, and still have a nice calorie deficit for the day.

    Good luck!
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    I may have exaggerated a bit about breakfast. It's probably more like a 1/2 cup of pasta and a few fig newtons (and yes, I worry about the "fiber" issue) about 90 minutes beforehand (I'm not going to eat at 4 AM, after all, like you said). Then I will eat a half a banana at the start or a half a bagel, whatever is available.

    The Clif bars are more like emergency food that I take along. It takes me about a week of riding to get through one (one bite here, one bite there).

    The cereal thing is interesting. I always thought milk before riding was a bad idea. In my non-bike diet, I like peanut butter sandwiches. Would that be a ridiculous thing to take along?

    On rest stops I typically will have 1-2 figs or a cookie, and take half a banana. It cracks me up when there are these elaborate rest stop foods available like chicken wings. (one ride it was hot chicken wings!)

    On the gatorade issue, I tend to drink very little of it (maybe a 1/2 a bottle over four hours) and stick with water (about one bottle per hour). I am not a heavy sweat-er. Would pretzels/something with salt available at rest stops be sufficient?


    P.S. No worries about weight loss. I'm in fine shape in that regard.
    Last edited by Wiswell; 07-23-07 at 08:28 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiswell View Post
    <snip>The cereal thing is interesting. I always thought milk before riding was a bad idea. In my non-bike diet, I like peanut butter sandwiches. Would that be a ridiculous thing to take along?
    <snip>
    Would pretzels/something with salt available at rest stops be sufficient?

    Perhaps I will open my mind and try one gu on a test ride.
    Excellent, sounds like you have it all well in hand! I think you might have to experiment - for me, milk and cereal is what i have every day, it works great for me ride or no ride. but for other people, milk is bad always, and others, it's bad only sometimes. So you'll have to figure it out. For the salt/electrolytes, again that varies hugely among people. If you don't sweat much and don't leave a ring of salt around your sweaty-patches on your clothes, and don't cramp, you probably don't have to worry too much about electrolytes until you are doing a really really hard ride on a really hot day.

    PB sandwiches are totally not stupid to take along. they often appear in aid stations for supported rides.

    i'm ok with gu20 or just water until it gets really hot, then i take electrolyte tabs.

    and yeah, the gu is about the most expensive calories you can buy, but when you are exerting yourself really hard, they give you fast energy and take no digestive effort.

    cheers
    ...

  6. #6
    mateo for short mateo44's Avatar
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    Still a bit pricey, but it's much cheaper to get (whatever brand):



    and one of these (the generic ones at www.bikenashbar.com are virtually free):

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiswell View Post
    I am planning on a metric on one Sunday, followed the following Sunday by my first ever century (goal sub 6.5 of travel).

    So far, I have about 2200 miles this year, probably at 2500 or more by the century combos. I do about 125-150 per week, usually a 40+ ride and several around 30.

    I have done several metrics this year with no real problems. On occasion, on shorter rides (probably a coincidence), I've suffered from stomach cramps along the way. My typical pre-ride meal for the metrics is pasta the night before, and pasta, a bagel, a banana, and some or all of a Clif Bar or fig newtons in the morning before the ride. I am not into high tech foods and was hoping for some real food suggestions. I do occasionally carry 3/1 ratio gatorade/water drink.

    I would like a good plan for recovery, riding and preparation between the two long rides. Is it a big enough gap I don't have anything to worry about, given my normal weekly mileage? Also, what might be the source of the cramps? Too much water, too little water? What diet do you recommend for the week in between, and what should my during the ride diet be? I am assuming I should get about 250-300 calories per hour.
    With your weekly mileage, I would not worry about the distance.

    Your pre-ride meal sounds pretty big to me, unless you're eating it 3 hours before you ride. That could easily be causing your cramping. My typical pre-ride meal is just a clif bar and some water, and sometimes I'll have a couple of clif bloks right before.

    Gatorade just doesn't cut it as a hydration drink. There are lots of others that work well, but now is not the time to change things up.

    Normal food should be okay between the weeks. You should make sure to have a good recovery meal (I like recovery drinks better, but you said you like real food) ASAP after each of the rides.

    Good luck. Sounds to me like you have enough training to do it easily.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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