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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 02-06-10, 04:43 PM   #1
Lizard King
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What nutrients required for very long bike ride

I am biking across canada (plus up to alaska) starting in march and I have found many sites that tell me good receipts for high energy food but no sites relating to the exact nutrients required for this type of ride.
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Old 02-06-10, 05:49 PM   #2
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I am biking across canada (plus up to alaska) starting in march and I have found many sites that tell me good receipts for high energy food but no sites relating to the exact nutrients required for this type of ride.
Just eat a normal healthy balanced diet. While you're riding you can only process about 250 Cals/hr. These can be mostly carbs with some protein. You should have some method of measuring how many calories you burn during the day and make sure you balance your caloric intake (unless you are also trying to lose some weight). If it's hot or you're sweating a lot you may need to keep an eye on your electrolytes and add some to your fluids.

How far are you planning on riding per day on average?

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Old 02-06-10, 06:23 PM   #3
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Yep, the general guideline is to consume about 250 calories per hour while you are on the bicycle, plus a good breakfast before and dinner after. Your body can't digest too much more than that while you are exerting yourself.

As a cycletourist, you will likely burn about 500 calories per hour ... maybe as much as 600 if you're really exerting yourself or are quite large. The 250 calories per hour doesn't cover that, but that's where your breakfast and dinner come in.

Enjoy the food you encounter along the way. Don't limit yourself to energy bars and stuff like that. Eat real food.

And BTW - are you new to the Calgary area?
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Old 02-06-10, 09:20 PM   #4
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Most people are concerned about micronutrients, protein quantity, and all that. Not to worry. You'll have to eat so much, that no matter what you eat you'll get enough of everything. You'll see pretty quickly what you can digest and what gives you energy. You'll want less animal protein, percentage-wise, than the normal Nordamericano diet, and more carbs and veggies. If your legs hurt all the time, eat more protein. If you're losing weight too quickly or get exhausted before you finish the day's ride, eat more carbs. You'll also enjoy eating a good bit of fat. Eat what tastes good to you.

Plus what Machka said.
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Old 02-06-10, 09:34 PM   #5
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banana; raisins; chicken sandwich; potassium; tiny bit of magnesium; some salt in your water; lots of water and saty off the gas to get to the finish line!
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Old 02-07-10, 08:16 AM   #6
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but no sites relating to the exact nutrients required for this type of ride.
There isn't much of any science to support "exact" needs for nutrition. (for anyone doing any thing)

Fulfilling your nutritional needs is a moving target. In other words, just discussing all the foods you should or shouldn't eat isn't nearly as important as understanding when and how much of a given food to eat.

The general rule of thumb is to pay attention to your fluid intake at all times and always include a generous amount of carbohydrate with any meal.
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Old 02-08-10, 03:34 PM   #7
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Its a really hard question to answer but I would strongly recommend that you take some Magnesium tablets (muscle relaxer) with you for when your muscles start to cramp. You need a supplement that is magnesium only and NOT a multi which won't have usable amounts of magnesium in them. A little bit of regular salt in some of your water works for me and potassium is another muscle relaxer which can help.

Anthony
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Old 02-08-10, 06:34 PM   #8
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Its a really hard question to answer but I would strongly recommend that you take some Magnesium tablets (muscle relaxer) with you for when your muscles start to cramp. You need a supplement that is magnesium only and NOT a multi which won't have usable amounts of magnesium in them. A little bit of regular salt in some of your water works for me and potassium is another muscle relaxer which can help.

Anthony
I am going to be eating a lot of whole wheat foods that have some magnesium and I am going to try and eat spinach a lot and I found that is also a good as a magnesium supplement. Wouldn't that be good enough?

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Just eat a normal healthy balanced diet. While you're riding you can only process about 250 Cals/hr. These can be mostly carbs with some protein. You should have some method of measuring how many calories you burn during the day and make sure you balance your caloric intake (unless you are also trying to lose some weight). If it's hot or you're sweating a lot you may need to keep an eye on your electrolytes and add some to your fluids.

How far are you planning on riding per day on average?
On average I plan on riding 150-200 km a day. How do you know your low on electrolytes? Does your body show it or not?

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Yep, the general guideline is to consume about 250 calories per hour while you are on the bicycle, plus a good breakfast before and dinner after. Your body can't digest too much more than that while you are exerting yourself.

As a cycletourist, you will likely burn about 500 calories per hour ... maybe as much as 600 if you're really exerting yourself or are quite large. The 250 calories per hour doesn't cover that, but that's where your breakfast and dinner come in.

Enjoy the food you encounter along the way. Don't limit yourself to energy bars and stuff like that. Eat real food.

And BTW - are you new to the Calgary area?
I never thought of eating more than three meals a day but if my body feels like it starts to I could just cok a large pot a spaghetti in morning and eat it periodically, right?

And I moved here in 2004 but only stated biking like crazy since last summer.

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Most people are concerned about micronutrients, protein quantity, and all that. Not to worry. You'll have to eat so much, that no matter what you eat you'll get enough of everything. You'll see pretty quickly what you can digest and what gives you energy. You'll want less animal protein, percentage-wise, than the normal Nordamericano diet, and more carbs and veggies. If your legs hurt all the time, eat more protein. If you're losing weight too quickly or get exhausted before you finish the day's ride, eat more carbs. You'll also enjoy eating a good bit of fat. Eat what tastes good to you.

Plus what Machka said.
Thanks I'll keep those guild lines in mind.

And thanks to everyone for their tips

-Matt
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Old 02-08-10, 07:17 PM   #9
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I never thought of eating more than three meals a day but if my body feels like it starts to I could just cok a large pot a spaghetti in morning and eat it periodically, right?

And I moved here in 2004 but only stated biking like crazy since last summer.

On average I plan on riding 150-200 km a day.
When you cycle a lot, throw the whole three meals a day thing out. Eat breakfast ... and then within the first hour on the bicycle, start eating, and eat regularly throughout the entire ride, then eat dinner at the end.

I suppose you could do the spaghetti thing, but I would think you'd have to stop and get off your bicycle to eat that. Plus cold spaghetti would get very old for me after a while. Why not mix it up? Eat cookies and/or salted almonds out of your handlebar bag or bento bag for the first few hours, stop and get a pastry at a shop, eat a granola bar and a banana on the bicycle, stop and buy a bun or two and the fixings for sandwiches for lunch, etc. etc.

Do you currently ride 150-200 km a day? What do you eat on those rides? If you can't answer that question because you have never ridden 150+ km, or not in the last year or two, you'd better get out there and ride that distance a time or two before you embark on your trip so you can figure it out in the comfort of your own city.

And ... I asked if you were new to cycling in Calgary because of your apparently plans to cycle from Calgary to Banff in late February, and then your plans to cross the Rockies in March. Have you been in the Rockies in March?? It's ski season there ... it's cold and snowy with the potential for some really nasty blizzards, road closures and so on. How many rides have you done in the 150-200 km range this winter in the Calgary area?
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Old 02-09-10, 04:58 AM   #10
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I am going to be eating a lot of whole wheat foods that have some magnesium and I am going to try and eat spinach a lot and I found that is also a good as a magnesium supplement. Wouldn't that be good enough?

-Matt
Well its a good start but it may not be enough. I'm a fan of getting your nutrients through whole food but foods really need to be organic (synthetic fertilizers interfere with the uptake of magnesium) and grown in magnesium rich soils in the first place to get usable amounts of magnesium from them and then the foods need to be prepared properly in order for you to be able to assimilate the nutrients. Spinach needs to be cooked and breads need to be made properly which are hard to come by these days. I'd recommend that you take a tablet form magnesium supplement with you and take some regularly along with the foods. On a long tour you are going to use a LOT of magnesium and without direct experience of what magnesium does for you your going to confuse the symptoms of magnesium deficiency with just being tired and sore from a long day.

Anthony
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Old 02-09-10, 05:04 AM   #11
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An easily digestible , high carb breakfast and a similar lunch. With a couple power bars in between and power drinks between stops.... Don't forget the bananas..
My favorite breakfast and lunch.. French toast . Not too heavy on the butter..
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Old 02-09-10, 05:26 AM   #12
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Go easy on the magnesium ... don't get too carried away with it. A long time ago, I thought that if a small amount of magnesium was good, a larger dose would be better. I missed work that day because of the diarrhea. For hours, I couldn't even move out of the bathroom. It was horrible!! And diarrhea seems like a fairly common side effect. You won't want to be dealing with that on your trip!!

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/magnesium-side-effects.html

Magnesium is one of the electrolytes. If your trip was in the summer when it was hot, I would recommend taking an electrolyte tablet or two a day. Seeing as you're planning to do your trip in the middle of winter, you may not need to worry about it as much.
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Old 02-09-10, 09:26 AM   #13
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When you cycle a lot, throw the whole three meals a day thing out. Eat breakfast ... and then within the first hour on the bicycle, start eating, and eat regularly throughout the entire ride, then eat dinner at the end.

I suppose you could do the spaghetti thing, but I would think you'd have to stop and get off your bicycle to eat that. Plus cold spaghetti would get very old for me after a while. Why not mix it up? Eat cookies and/or salted almonds out of your handlebar bag or bento bag for the first few hours, stop and get a pastry at a shop, eat a granola bar and a banana on the bicycle, stop and buy a bun or two and the fixings for sandwiches for lunch, etc. etc.

Do you currently ride 150-200 km a day? What do you eat on those rides? If you can't answer that question because you have never ridden 150+ km, or not in the last year or two, you'd better get out there and ride that distance a time or two before you embark on your trip so you can figure it out in the comfort of your own city.

And ... I asked if you were new to cycling in Calgary because of your apparently plans to cycle from Calgary to Banff in late February, and then your plans to cross the Rockies in March. Have you been in the Rockies in March?? It's ski season there ... it's cold and snowy with the potential for some really nasty blizzards, road closures and so on. How many rides have you done in the 150-200 km range this winter in the Calgary area?
You might call me foolish or hard headed but I would not mind a blizzard. I love challenges. And to your question, I rode many long distance days (averaging 200 km a day) straight last summer (but without all the panniers, and or trailer), but I have not done long distance yet since the new year. My longest ride this month is 60 km and I had thin gloves in -15 so you could imagine they froze. I think I’ll get most of my day food from bulk sections at grocery stores (nuts, granola, etc).

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Well its a good start but it may not be enough. I'm a fan of getting your nutrients through whole food but foods really need to be organic (synthetic fertilizers interfere with the uptake of magnesium) and grown in magnesium rich soils in the first place to get usable amounts of magnesium from them and then the foods need to be prepared properly in order for you to be able to assimilate the nutrients. Spinach needs to be cooked and breads need to be made properly which are hard to come by these days. I'd recommend that you take a tablet form magnesium supplement with you and take some regularly along with the foods. On a long tour you are going to use a LOT of magnesium and without direct experience of what magnesium does for you your going to confuse the symptoms of magnesium deficiency with just being tired and sore from a long day.

Anthony
I will purchase some magnesium just as a tester before I go and see how it affects my body. But why do you say cooked spinach…isn’t it better for you when raw…less nutrients lost if not cooked is what I have been told but I might be wrong.

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An easily digestible , high carb breakfast and a similar lunch. With a couple power bars in between and power drinks between stops.... Don't forget the bananas..
My favorite breakfast and lunch.. French toast . Not too heavy on the butter..
I like French toast to. I think I’ll look up how to make it. I don’t think it will be to hard. And everyone is mentioning bananas….why? why not an apple?

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Go easy on the magnesium ... don't get too carried away with it. A long time ago, I thought that if a small amount of magnesium was good, a larger dose would be better. I missed work that day because of the diarrhea. For hours, I couldn't even move out of the bathroom. It was horrible!! And diarrhea seems like a fairly common side effect. You won't want to be dealing with that on your trip!!

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/magnesium-side-effects.html

Magnesium is one of the electrolytes. If your trip was in the summer when it was hot, I would recommend taking an electrolyte tablet or two a day. Seeing as you're planning to do your trip in the middle of winter, you may not need to worry about it as much.
Thanks for the warning because that would really suck when hours or a day from a city. I have found a webpage on the internet that said black charcoal scrapped from the bottom of your fire logs sprinkled into water can help you get over diarrhea.
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Old 02-09-10, 01:01 PM   #14
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In the reality check department: I'm friends with a couple of guys who rode from Fairbanks to Tierra Del Fuego. They were just normal poor kids on cheap bikes. They mostly ate out of grocery store dumpsters (though this was years ago). They did fine. One married a girl he met in Columbia. No fancy food necessary.

The best thing for diarrhea is a handful of flour and a large pinch of salt in a liter of water. Drink 1/4 liter after every loose stool. But yes, magnesium can really give it to you. "Eat food, mostly plants."
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Old 02-09-10, 04:49 PM   #15
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You might call me foolish or hard headed but I would not mind a blizzard. I love challenges. And to your question, I rode many long distance days (averaging 200 km a day) straight last summer (but without all the panniers, and or trailer), but I have not done long distance yet since the new year. My longest ride this month is 60 km and I had thin gloves in -15 so you could imagine they froze.
I have ridden centuries (160 km = 100 miles) in the winter in Winnipeg and Red Deer ... many of them. I am also an experienced long distance cyclist. Riding 160 km in the summer is so much easier than riding 160 km in the winter. For one thing, doing it in the winter takes a lot longer. I could do 160 km in 7-8 hours in the summer, but doing the same distance in the winter took anywhere from 10-15 hours.
http://www.machka.net/brevet/Coldest_Century.htm

So you're looking at long, long days of riding.

Another consideration is where you plan to do things like getting food and sleeping. In the summer, the campgrounds are open as are many of the shops. In the winter, the campgrounds are closed, some of the hostels are closed, and some of the shops are closed. So you may find yourself not only on a very long ride, but without the option of taking a break and getting shelter anywhere.

You froze on a 60 km bicycle ride. Now imagine getting a flat out in the middle of nowhere when it is -20C and having to change the flat with bare hands.

Have you spent a lot of time doing things outdoors in the winter like skiing, camping, etc.?

It's not just foolish to head out across the mountains in the winter, it's very dangerous ... unless you've got a very good backup plan. When I did my winter centuries, I was almost always within walking distance of shelter ... very close to a city ... and often had a plan where I checked in with people on a regular basis.


You've been talking about food here, but I'd be interested to hear the other aspects of your plan ... there's a Touring Forum here as well ... go post your plan, the equipment you're using, etc. over there.
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Old 02-10-10, 05:29 AM   #16
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Regarding Magnesium, yes taking too much will cause loose bowel movements so don't go overboard although not all magnesium supplements are created equal. AVOID supplements that contain magnesium oxide or heavy magnesium. look for forms such as Orotate, citrate, aspartate, phoshpate and chelated magnesium is OK.

Raw spinach is high in Oxalic acid which prevents the absorption of minerals and can lead to deficiency. See, http://www.westonaprice.org/Mineral-Primer.html for a good general article on minerals.

Anthony
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Old 02-10-10, 11:20 AM   #17
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In the reality check department: I'm friends with a couple of guys who rode from Fairbanks to Tierra Del Fuego. They were just normal poor kids on cheap bikes. They mostly ate out of grocery store dumpsters (though this was years ago). They did fine. One married a girl he met in Columbia. No fancy food necessary.

The best thing for diarrhea is a handful of flour and a large pinch of salt in a liter of water. Drink 1/4 liter after every loose stool. But yes, magnesium can really give it to you. "Eat food, mostly plants."
It sounds like a better solution to diarrhea but what if I get sick from diarrhea and want to cure it when isolated from city’s in a day range (northern Canada). I am not going to be carrying flour with me because I have nothing to cook with it. I will use the solution though if close to city or in a city (unless there is a near by pharmacy). And BTW that trip those guys took looks like it would be crazy fun…especially through South America.

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I have ridden centuries (160 km = 100 miles) in the winter in Winnipeg and Red Deer ... many of them. I am also an experienced long distance cyclist. Riding 160 km in the summer is so much easier than riding 160 km in the winter. For one thing, doing it in the winter takes a lot longer. I could do 160 km in 7-8 hours in the summer, but doing the same distance in the winter took anywhere from 10-15 hours.
http://www.machka.net/brevet/Coldest_Century.htm

So you're looking at long, long days of riding.

Another consideration is where you plan to do things like getting food and sleeping. In the summer, the campgrounds are open as are many of the shops. In the winter, the campgrounds are closed, some of the hostels are closed, and some of the shops are closed. So you may find yourself not only on a very long ride, but without the option of taking a break and getting shelter anywhere.

You froze on a 60 km bicycle ride. Now imagine getting a flat out in the middle of nowhere when it is -20C and having to change the flat with bare hands.

Have you spent a lot of time doing things outdoors in the winter like skiing, camping, etc.?

It's not just foolish to head out across the mountains in the winter, it's very dangerous ... unless you've got a very good backup plan. When I did my winter centuries, I was almost always within walking distance of shelter ... very close to a city ... and often had a plan where I checked in with people on a regular basis.

You've been talking about food here, but I'd be interested to hear the other aspects of your plan ... there's a Touring Forum here as well ... go post your plan, the equipment you're using, etc. over there.
Ya winter riding I do agree takes longer but it tests you, and that’s what I like about it. Many people (including the old me) hate wind, cold and unsightly road conditions but I now find them to be a good challenge that I enjoy over coming/conquer.

I think I am going to find myself just pitching a tent down of the road many times…even not knowing the land. But if a see a farm I will go ask to camp on their land for a night.

And I think I could change a bike tire in the cold...I am going to try it when a day of nasty weather hits Calgary. My hands only froze because I had thin summer gloves on that didn't even cut the wind

I have skied/snowboarded a total of 20 times and never camped in the winter because never had the opportunity.

I realize it can be dangerous in the mountains and to make my mom to stop worrying a little I bought a device called the "Spot". You might know it already, but incase you don't it is a hand help gps device that has four buttons: one for help (911), one for help (emails family) and two for checking where you have been once you get home and there is no screen on it to find out where you are.

And I shall post my plans soon just so I could get some feedback. But have to go right now to pick up a bob trailer.

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Regarding Magnesium, yes taking too much will cause loose bowel movements so don't go overboard although not all magnesium supplements are created equal. AVOID supplements that contain magnesium oxide or heavy magnesium. look for forms such as Orotate, citrate, aspartate, phoshpate and chelated magnesium is OK.

Raw spinach is high in Oxalic acid which prevents the absorption of minerals and can lead to deficiency. See, http://www.westonaprice.org/Mineral-Primer.html for a good general article on minerals.

Anthony
Ok I think the best place to buy magnesium is maybe pop eyes supplements…they have many different types of supplements there.
And I guess raw spinach is not a good idea. I never eat spinach so I never knew.
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