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  1. #1
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    Eating while on a ride...

    Yesterday I did my first 100k, a full supported ride with 3 full rest-stops and a water stop if ya wanted, SAG, the works.

    It was all I could do to force down some fruit at the rest stops, and consume all of my gels (5) for the ride. This made me very tired near the end. I knew what my problem was, I just felt nauseated at the very thought of eating anything other than some grapes and pineapple.

    This is an ongoing problem and I don't know how to solve it. My stomach simply rejects (eat and then thrown up) solid food when I am exerting myself, and I lose interest in eating food until a couple of hours after the ride has been completed, as if it just shuts itself off and will not accept new input until it is sure no more exertion is to be done.

    Does anyone else experience this? Why does this happen? And what can I do to prevent or at least attenuate this? I'd like to do a century later this year or maybe next year, but not if I can't eat real food at regular intervals to keep the body fueled.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Congratulations on the 100.
    I do not have your problem.
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  3. #3
    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    I get very tired after eating something on a ride. I try to get around it by nibbling. I thought it have been a blood sugar/diabetes thing.

    Oh and I stay away from the chili dogs.
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    I can't eat any real food except maybe some fruit, sometimes not even that stays down

    This has limited me to basically 40-50 mile rides where I can get by with gels and maybe some superfood at a lunch stop. Any further than that, and that kind of stuff isn't enough to keep me from feeling like I am simply running out of fuel to keep going. I attempted the 100k yesterday with a good breakfast and thought that if I took it easy-ish, I would be ok. I finished the ride, but felt terrible for the last 10 miles or so because as soon as I got to the first rest stop and looked at the food, I knew I would likely put it back up if I tried it, so I nibbled on some grapes, which didn't seem like I would throw em up. Rest of the day, felt the same whenever I looked at real food.

  5. #5
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    How long have you been riding for? Feeling tired at the end might just indicate a lack of endurance rather then lack of food.
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  6. #6
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Many people have your problem. I rode with a woman today who's the same way, yet she has ridden RAMROD several times. How does she do it? She's experimented extensively with a variety of foods and had found a few liquid foods that she can consume. On day rides she manages with sports drink only and eats a good meal after the ride. This works for up to 4 hour rides. She watches her odometer and takes sports drink every 5 miles.

    I so something similar but use time, so every 15 minutes, except that I put it off on long hard climbs as much as I can, and then make up for it at the top. I never eat rest stop food, except after a century or so I can usually manage a sandwich or fruit pie if I can have a good rest in the shade for a few minutes after eating. I eat Hammer type food almost exclusively, meaning liquid food.

    So try this for starters. Buy a pint bottle of Hammer Gel. Many riders find Raspberry the most tolerable flavor. Though Espresso is pretty good it has quite a caffeine hit. Also get a couple of their Gel flasks. They're about 6 oz. One flask will get most folks about 3 hours. You can just stick it in a jersey pocket, with a spare in your bag. This stuff never seems to go bad and this method gets rid of the horrible packaging and is easy to consume. For rides over 3 hours, Hammer (and I) recommend to going to something like Hammer Sustained Energy (SE). This stuff is unflavored, so I put about 5 scoops in a water bottle and add 2 servings of Hammer Gel for flavor, then fill the bottle with water. That's about 750 calories, or plenty for 3-4 hours. You can carry a baggie of SE in your bag and make more bottles as required on a long ride. So buy a container of SE to try.

    Some folks prefer Hammer Perpetuem, Spiz, or Accelerade. You might buy a small container of each and try them to see how you tolerate them. FYI, the Hammer powdered products use soy protein, which is fine with most people, but others have digestive problems and do not tolerate it. Accelerade and Spiz use whey protein, which is tolerated by more people.

    Another possible problem is that you had an electrolyte imbalance. If your stomach felt "sloshy" that was almost certainly the problem. It's easy to bonk with sloshy stomach, because you are eating but the stuff is going nowhere, so you feel sick and bloated and lose energy. The solution to sloshy stomach is to take a couple of Hammer Endurolytes every hour and just drink water, no food, until the sloshy feeling goes away and you get hungry again.

    Another favorite of endurance cyclists is Ensure Plus. You can buy this liquid stuff in almost any US grocery store, though most minimarts don't have it. You can put a couple bottles of Ensure in a water bottle and that will get you a long way. You can refill in towns or carry a couple of extra bottles with you. I never encountered anyone who barfed up Ensure, though I do know people who have upchucked Perpetuem and Accelerade.

    If you find one of these powdered commercial products that works for you, you can duplicate it with cheap ingredients by reading the label. You don't need anything that they contain other than maltodextrin and a protein source, in the correct ratio. All the rest of it is BS. Ensure is different, IMO.

    My other advice is to forget "eat before you're hungry and drink before you're thirsty." That's nonsense. Eat when you're hungry and drink when you're thirsty. More riders have gotten into trouble following that old advice. Why anyone would think that our bodies aren't smart enough to take care of us, I can't imagine.

    And read all the stuff you can stomach on the Hammer website, http://www.hammernutrition.com/
    Look under the Knowledge tab at the top of the page.

    If you use a concentrated food product like Hammer or Ensure, have another bottle with plain water, not sports drink, so you can go on a plain water diet if you get into trouble.

  7. #7
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    UmneyDurak-
    I have been riding for almost a year and half now. I have been working towards mid-century distances since january. I've had no problems completing 50 mile rides, although I do have the same problem of being unable to eat solid food. It just seemed to hit harder than usual yesterday, and I was really feeling poorly the last 10 miles. I was still going about 18-20mph on the flats with a light headwind, but I was just staring at the wheel in front of me and willing myself to turn the pedals over so I could get back to my car and get the hell off the bike.

    CarbonFiberBoy-
    It was not forecast to be hot yesterday, and there was plenty of wind, so I didn't think I would need a bottle of Cytomax. After a couple of episodes of heat exhaustion last summer, I lowered my tempurature cutoff (above which I will just stay home) considerably, and added a buffer zone of temps that require consuming of Cytomax (seems to help over 80 degrees out, didn't seem to help in temps below that). It seemed to work for 30-40 mile rides, and I would not get that "sloshy" feeling.

    That was what I was feeling yesterday. I had two full-size bottles of water, I'd probably go through 3/4 of one of them (1.5 bottles before the first one, but the major climb for the day was in the first segment, so was more thirsty than usual) per rest stop. I'd feel like I had a lot of water in me but was constantly feeling dry-mouthed, which in retrospect was probably my body wanting something it wasn't getting. I sucked down a gel roughly halfway between rest stops, and eat some grapes and pineapple at every stop. After the last stop at mile 53 though, it was no longer enough and I was starting to just fizzle.

    I'll take a look at the products you recommend and give them a try. I can try them on a shorter ride since it doesn't seem to matter if I ride for 6 miles or 60 miles, the stomach almost immediately turns itself off to the idea of solid food, and the bleh feeling I get about the idea of solid food intensifies with higher levels of exertion.

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I struggle with eating on long distance rides ... and I'm a long distance cyclist. It used to be a real problem but I discovered several solutions ...

    1) Carry one bottle of sports drink and one bottle of water.

    2) Use a bento bag, put a couple energy bars/granola bars/cookies or whatever you like in them. Start eating within about 15 or 20 minutes of starting the ride, but nibble. Take one bite, then put the cookie down. 10 minutes later, take another bite, then put the cookie down. 10 minutes later, take another bite ... etc. One of the problems I had when I started riding long distances was the idea that I had to eat a whole energy bar all at once, once per hour. My stomach was happy with one bite, but I felt I needed to eat the whole bar ... which made my stomach unhappy. Life got so much more pleasant on my long rides when I started nibbling.

    3) Choose foods you like. Don't eat cardboard energy bars if they don't appeal to you, eat things like chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal raisin cookies or fruit bars or whatever appeals to you.

    4) Eat what you crave. When you pull into a stop, eat whatever appeals to you ... even if you normally wouldn't eat whatever it is.

    5) Slow down ... especially if you stop to eat a larger amount. Give your stomach a chance to digest food.

    6) Keep working at it. I was able to train my stomach to eat, and you might be able to as well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    For me, feeling ill, dry mouthed and wanting to eat only fruit is a sign that I am low on electrolytes (salt).
    It usually takes at least four hours of riding before I need any. But you may be different. At least it is easy to test- take some Endurolytes or salt tablets on your next ride. Take a number of endurolytes or a salt tablet when you start to feel bad. If you feel better, then you know what the problem is.

    (keep in mind that endurolytes only have about 35mg of sodium while a salt tablet is around 200.. probably need at least 100mg to see a noticeable effect)

  10. #10
    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    I carried a bottle filled with Pedialyte on a long ride (long for me,that is) and did rather well. It's less sugary than Gatorade, but also does not taste as good (I used the plain flavor, kinda acidy). The blah taste meant I wasn't tempted to gulp down a lot at a time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
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    As above, I get like this when I am de-hyrdated. I used to get it especially when I didn't consume much water and only drank coffee/tea. You may have started your ride already dehyrdated, then pushed your body further into electrolyte and water depletion as the ride went on.
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    I don't think dehydration was the cause per se, I probably ended up drinking a total of 5-6 bottles of water across the entire ride, and I drank a bottle of water before starting, as well. I ended up refilling a bottle or more at each rest stop.
    It was probably just low on electrolytes and the gel packs were insufficient to cover the deficit. I'm gonna go shoppin' later today and pick up some stuff and try it on my next long ride, and see how it goes.

  13. #13
    Faster than yesterday
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep_sky View Post
    I don't think dehydration was the cause per se, I probably ended up drinking a total of 5-6 bottles of water across the entire ride, and I drank a bottle of water before starting, as well. I ended up refilling a bottle or more at each rest stop.
    It was probably just low on electrolytes and the gel packs were insufficient to cover the deficit. I'm gonna go shoppin' later today and pick up some stuff and try it on my next long ride, and see how it goes.
    You ate 5 gel packs on a 60+ mile ride? How long (in time) was this ride? It really isn't as if you need meals during a 3 hr ride.

    Sure everyone is different, but that's a lot of gel for such a relatively short ride. You might be surprised how a very slight change in pace will affect how you feel at the end of a ride. Just did the same flat 50 miles 2 days apart, in similar conditions. Overall time was the same (2:40; the route has a lot of slowing and accelerating. lots of intersections in parts, lots of stopping and starting. Kills my legs at the end). The difference is that I negative split the 2nd (i.e. went out at a more moderate pace, and cranked it up a bit on the way home) and felt much better. I also had much lower water and food needs by saving my legs and not going above threshold much.

    Basically, I tend to start out too intense, and fade hard. I can really kill that first 1:30, and then lactate and carb shortage puts the hurt on. Gotta learn that pacing thing. Makes life much easier, and you'll be just as fast overall. Should start actually using my HR monitor again.

    Could it be something to do with you general diet? Do you consume enough carbs? Do you consume them at the right times?
    Last edited by tadawdy; 04-19-10 at 02:22 PM.

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    The ride time total was a bit over 5 hours (coming back across the valley into the headwind was slow going, complete with plenty of annoying stop signs and stop lights). We started off at a good pace, but not particularly fast since we knew there was a lengthy climb ahead. My riding partner climbed a little faster than I did (paced myself because my knees were feeling a bit cranky still). But if there hadn't been so much headwind between mile 20 and mile 41, and enough traffic/cops to require us to put a foot down at nearly every intersection we encountered, I'd estimate we would have shaved at least 40 minutes off our time. I ate a gel when I started to feel sluggish, and it picked me up until the next rest stop. Stopped working after the last rest stop though, so I was definitely short on something.
    However, now that I think about it, I was still sweating a lot, as every time we stopped, I'd feel my jersey sticking to me, so perhaps it was a lack of electrolytes that contributed to me feeling worse than usual.

    Ate carbs the night before, and some carbs and protein for breakfast about 1.5 hours before we actually got under way.


    So in general, I cannot eat food even if it is a relatively easy ride. I just felt worse than usual on saturday, and just wasn't putting it all together to figure out why. I was hoping that there was something I could do to "fix" the whole not being able to stand eating solid food part, but if that cannot be fixed, then so be it, just have to make sure I get enough of what I need through liquid form products.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep_sky View Post
    This is an ongoing problem and I don't know how to solve it. My stomach simply rejects (eat and then thrown up) solid food when I am exerting myself, and I lose interest in eating food until a couple of hours after the ride has been completed, as if it just shuts itself off and will not accept new input until it is sure no more exertion is to be done.
    Have you considered liquid food?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Does anyone else experience this? Why does this happen? And what can I do to prevent or at least attenuate this? I'd like to do a century later this year or maybe next year, but not if I can't eat real food at regular intervals to keep the body fueled.
    It is abnormal to become nauseous due to light or moderate exercise.

    Either you cycling too intensely for you to maintain digestive health or there are other underlying problems with your stomach or intestines. You could try an experiment and specifically a-lot extra time to ride slowly and see if you develop the digestive distress - even when riding slow - or you can go see a doctor and describe your situation.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I threw up while riding about a month ago. my trisuit is pretty tight and I swallowed to much too quickly. I think the key is staying with real food. food you like. and eating tiny bits as you go and not large amounts at predetermined stops. my boss swears by what he does - cuts a couple PB&J sandwiches into quarters and east them as he rides.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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