Join Date: May 2007
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains
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For a ride less than 2-2.5 hours, I just eat a good breakfast before the ride. I don't need any calories on the ride itself. Your mileage may vary, I know some people whose reserves are gone within an hour, but that's unusual.
For rides longer than that, I take sport drink (I like unflavored HEED), some gel, and a bar. Or more if it's a long ride.
After rides I have a recovery drink of OJ with some protein powder. If you are trying to lose weigh you may not want to do that.
Carbs that you need to fuel cycling aren't bad. Just don't consume more than you need. Some people think that they need a large Gatorade for a 10 mile ride, then wonder why they don't lose weight.
For rides longer than 2-2.5 hours I aim to consume at least 200 calories an hour (up to 300 in races). You are burning more than that of course, but you can only absorb a certain amount. You should eat frequently, don't try to cram down an entire clif bar at a stop. Eat while riding.