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  1. #1
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    Can't stomach food when riding, and keep losing energy...

    I can't seem to stomach anything when riding. I ride for say an hour, sipping water along the way. If I go much further, I start running low on energy, so I have tried to stop and eat something like an energy bar, fruit, banana, even bread. I have tried everything I can think of, but if I try to get back on, my stomach gets so upset after riding for a bit, that I start burping up what I ate, and feel like I want to vomit. It feels like it is getting bloated and wants to blow up, even if all I ate was a small piece of energy bar or the like. I can't seem to eat while on long rides in order to keep up my energy. About the only thing that stays with me is if I eat a good sized steak and potato, a couple hours before my ride. That tends to give me enough long term juice, but even that runs down after a while.
    I can sip on gatorade, etc, but that only goes so far. Not sure what to do. I get to a point where I can't climb hills anymore.
    How do you keep up your energy on long rides?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lost Coyote's Avatar
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    Aren't you the guy who was giving recovery drink with maltodextrin advice? You eat steak for pre-ride meals? Me thinks you are trolling.
    Gravity kills.

  3. #3
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    Gummi Bears

  4. #4
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    Have you tried any of the energy gels??

  5. #5
    Senior Member ht001's Avatar
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    You could try Accelerade, which is better than Gatorade because it has protien in it as well as carbs, which helps for long efforts. Could also try things like honey stix. But I would think that you would still be want something solid. I know that I get to the point that I crave something that I can crunch after an hour or so of effort. If it gets to be that with experimenting with things is leading nowhere you might want to consult a Dr. Could be a sign of some other GI issue...never know.
    "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." --T S Eliot

  6. #6
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    Thanks I'll give some of those a try. Never tried accelerade, or energy gels.

    Yes, I am the guy. I have no problem eating before and after my rides. But, I find on the long rides, I have a hard time eating something for energy, then trying to continue on. I have no problem eating a while before, or right after a ride, when I know I don't have to get up and keep riding.

    No, I am not trolling.

  7. #7
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Try the no caffeine varieties of Gu. I find that easy on the tummy, and effective. I personally use the caffeinated variety, but thought the decaf might be a safer place to start. I was wondering, do you ride hard all the time, or do you have a sensitive tummy? I sometimes will get those kinds of problems, and found a couple Famotidine (generic Pepcid) to be very effective.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot
    \ . . . my stomach gets so upset after riding for a bit, that I start burping up what I ate, and feel like I want to vomit. It feels like it is getting bloated and wants to blow up, even if all I ate was a small piece of energy bar or the like.

    1. How well are you chewing this food? I find I tolerate the snacks I like (dates, raisins, 1/4 pbj sammies, etc) much better if I make a concerted effort to chew everything reeeeely well. I avoid fatty foods like candy bars, chips and the like.

    2. Have you been checked for acid reflux? This can cause symptoms like yours.

    3. What is your position on the bike: down in drops, on hoods, or on straight bars? Various positions can cause different levels of stress & compaction on your stomac and abdomen, which can cause quite a bit of discomfort.

    4. Does this discomfort happen with all foods or just energy bars and such? Maybe you need to try other things to nibble on that your stomach/digestive system can tolerate better. If energy bars are new to you and in particular seem to cause the problems, try other foods: try things that you are used to, but try to avoid excessively fatty stuff and excessively acid foods.
    I . . can . . . doooo . . . it

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lost Coyote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot
    Thanks I'll give some of those a try. Never tried accelerade, or energy gels.

    Yes, I am the guy. I have no problem eating before and after my rides. But, I find on the long rides, I have a hard time eating something for energy, then trying to continue on. I have no problem eating a while before, or right after a ride, when I know I don't have to get up and keep riding.

    No, I am not trolling.
    Well OK then. The bloating comes from your stomach not empting. Eating pre-ride meals like steak is most likely the source of your problem. There is no way you should be eating that much protein (or that type of protein for that matter) prior to working out, you just can’t digest it.

    As you have found out, your muscles store around 45min to an hours worth of glycogen, after that you start to go into a “bonk”. You need to start replenishing/fueling your glycogen stores/needs about 30 min into your workout if you wish to continue on for any real time or distance. Long chain carbohydrates such as Maltodextrin work the best. They can be found in products like Hammer Gel. This type of carbohydrate is very easily and rapidly digested/absorbed by your system and lesson the potential bloating problems.

    Simple sugars such as fructose and sucrose can cause stomach problems like bloating so be careful of what you drink as well as what you eat.

    Ideally you should consume around 100 calories of the carbohydrate every half hour and chase it with plenty of water.

    Stopping and eating could be a problem as you may be loading too much into your gut at a time; you are much better off doing frequent small “doses” of your fuel.

    One last thing to think about, I’ve got a friend who suffered greatly from acid reflux on extended rides (4 to 5 hours plus). A change to a more relaxed/less aggressive (read as more up right) riding position helped solve the problem.

    The Hammer Nutrition web site has a lot of quality info between the product hype well worth looking at.
    Hammer Nutrition/E-caps
    Gravity kills.

  10. #10
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    Yea I once ate an entire PBJ sandwhich on a 5min break. Luckily I didnt lose it but I seriously felt sick.

    What you need to do is find the greasiest mexican or oriental buffet place you can find and chow down on that every meal. You will quickly be able to handle anything...anytime...anywhere... Ok, so thats a terrible idea. But it tastes so good!
    ^c

  11. #11
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    I usually like to eat just a couple bites of something, but find that pretty much no matter what it is, my stomach gets that bloated feeling like I want to burp and spit up acid. I suppose acid reflux is a possibility, but have never noticed a problem like that before.
    And no, I do not eat steak or really heavy foods prior to my ride, or any excersise for that matter. I will have to try some gels or something that may be less harsh.

    My guess is that when I eat, my body is really needing some energy so it goes into overdrive to try and digest it, so I can see maybe an excessive acid build up may be the problem. So far, thanks for the suggestions.

  12. #12
    Roadie shadowmark's Avatar
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    My observation is that during your ride, you may be waiting too long to eat, and then to make up for it you may try to eat too much at once. Digestion of solid food is a relatively slow process, and consumes oxygen that your body competes for. An energy bar is a lot to digest all at once during a ride - most advertise their use for pre- or post-ride consumption, but recommend gels for during the ride. My suggestion is to try eating smaller amounts, but more often. Break the energy bar into 3-4 pieces perhaps. Also, make sure you are drinking enough water to aid the digestion and keep you hydrated, at least 16 oz per hour, more if its hot.

    So you would need to cut down the portion size that you eat during the ride, but increase the frequency. For example, I eat a single fig newton about every 5-6 miles, starting from the very beginning of the ride. Its not very large, it's easy to digest and chew even while breathing somewhat hard, its just the right size. I'll throw a small banana in occassionally to mix it up. So on a 40 mile ride, I'll typically eat 5-6 fig newtons and a banana, interspersed throughout the ride (one item every 5-6 miles). However I find that on longer than 50 mile rides, this is not enough energy to keep up with what I have lost and I'll bonk, so I would need to stop and eat a powerbar or supplement with an energy drink. And when I really feel low, Jelly Belly jelly beans also make a quick pick-me up when I run out of steam!

    If you can't tolerate solid food, your only other alternative is to go to an energy drink mix. I personally prefer water with food to one of those, but you have to figure out what works for you.

    And the other suggestions about riding position are good advice. A low hunched over riding position can cause problems with digestion. If you've just eaten a lot you will want to open up your position to assist with digestion.

  13. #13
    New England Tortoise BostonKate's Avatar
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    It sounds more position-related than reflux, which you'd notice in your daily life. Do you ride with the bars significantly lower than your seat? You may be pinching off the lower sphincter in your stomach that empties into the upper intestine, thus forcing stomach contents up through the esophageal sphincter (which, over time, may weaken the esophageal sphincter, resulting in actual reflux, yadda yadda). Your doctor can do a fun-filled barium test to see what your stomach's doing.

    I'd tinker with the handlebar position for a more upright ride, along with avoiding greasy or acidic foods. If you're really anti- changing your riding position, taking Pepcid or Axid an hour before you ride will cut down the acid pump action in your gut, but tell your doctor you're doing this. Reflux is nothing to mess around with, since it can lead to cancer of the esophagus.
    Lost 15 pounds, bought a crappy mountain bike. Lost another 65, bought a Marin Mill Valley. 55 more to go - wonder what I'll buy next?

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