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  1. #1
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    Help this newbie/running out of gas....

    I have been reading the nutrition posts and have become more confused about sugar, electrolites, potasium, sodium, etc.

    I am male, 43 years old. 213lbs (200lbs is my goal)
    I consider myself in good health, no blood sugar problems, etc.

    I am new to road bikes have worked up this summer to 50 miles.
    Before I ride, I eat a good breakfast: Cherrios, skim milk, yogurt with a crunched granola bar and pre-hydrate with water.

    A little after halfway through my 51 mile ride, I come to a point where I just can't pedal anymore.... If I was being chased by a bear I would be eaten. Just can't pedal at all.

    I have to stop for about 20 minutes and pour water on my head, drink two (2) low calorie Gatorade's......After that, i am good as new. Like a new man.
    However, i am holding up the team, I get left behind.

    I only have room on my bike for two bottles, should I carry Low Calorie Gatorade?

    What can I do so I don't shut down?
    Should I pack a power par, Gel?
    What is the difference?
    What is happening to me when i shut down like that?

    Can someone write me out a perscription ?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenglish3 View Post
    I am new to road bikes have worked up this summer to 50 miles.

    A little after halfway through my 51 mile ride, I come to a point where I just can't pedal anymore.... If I was being chased by a bear I would be eaten. Just can't pedal at all.

    However, i am holding up the team, I get left behind.

    What can I do so I don't shut down?
    Should I pack a power par, Gel?
    What is the difference?
    What is happening to me when i shut down like that?

    Can someone write me out a perscription ?
    You're a new rider riding with a group that is faster than you. More than nutrition it's likely just a fitness and riding skill issue.

    Suggestions:
    1. Take full advantage of the draft available from stronger riders. You need to be comfortable riding 6-12" off the wheel of the rider in front of you. Don't let gaps open up in front of you.
    2. Don't spend any time at the front of the group. If you find yourself at the head of a paceline, rotate off immediately, don't feel obligated to pull on the front.
    3. Eat or drink 250-300 Cals/hr while riding. You don't want low-calorie anything while riding. You can use commercial sports drinks or just add some sugar and flavoring to your water. If it's a hard ride, taking in calories in your drink is sometimes easier than trying to eat while breathing hard.

    Are you taking full advantage of the draft available

  3. #3
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    When you "shut down" like that it's called bonking. Your blood glycogen runs low. The muscles can use fat up to a certain amount of output but to go above that (ride faster) they need to use glycogen. The muscles and liver store about 2 hours worth (less for untrained people, more for highly trained people). The brain can only run on glycogen. It can't use fat. When you run low on glycogen, you get slow and stupid.

    The fix is easy: take in some calories during the ride. I would not use low cal anything (and I personally think that Gatorade is not healthy and is nasty tasting, but it seems to work for some people). You can use a good sports drink, or a bar, or a bananna or two. For rides over 2 hours but under 5, aim for 200 cal/hr. That's a bar or a bottle of good sports drink. If you use bars, don't eat it all at once. Nibble it frequently. I use two bottles, one of water and one with HEED. Bars and other food go in a jersey pocket so I can eat while riding. Wait until the pace slows and stick to the back of the pack until you get used to unwrapping and nibbling on bars while riding.

  4. #4
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    When I started riding again a few years ago an 8-mile ride to town would wear me out for several hours afterward. When that got better I would have the same troubles with longer rides. There were times after I started a 20-mile (one way) commute that I would have to stop and take on calories and fluids. I would feel that abrupt drain coming on.

    I was eating fine, and all of that, but I think my body was not used to processing so many calories.

    I don't know what happened physiologically for me, but after a while my body developed the ability to dig deeper and last longer with the same amount of food. I can do things now on an empty stomach and inadequate fluids that would have left me unable to walk and talk before.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Why is it that this year there seems to be more newbies than usual who don't eat on rides longer than 2 hours ... and don't know why they're bonking?

    Here's your prescription ...


    Consume 200-300 calories per hour. You will have to experiment to figure out what types of foods or liquid nutrition will work for you, and how much.

    Drink approx. one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours ... perhaps more if it is hot and/or windy.

    Don't forget to consume electrolytes either in your food or in the form of pills. Generally sports drinks don't have a lot of electrolytes. That might be OK for a relatively short, casual ride on a day with moderate temperatures, but if it is hot and/or if you are really exerting yourself, it probably won't be enough.

    Stretch while riding the bicycle ... and also get off to stretch and eat etc. along the way.

    Read this website: http://www.ultracycling.com/ ... especially the articles here: http://www.ultracycling.com/nutrition/nutrition.html

  6. #6
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beezaur View Post
    I don't know what happened physiologically for me
    You got better at utilizing fat, and fitter so you don't need glycogen so often. That's two of the benefits of training.

  7. #7
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    And if you decide you need/want > 2 bottles (48oz @ 24oz/bottle):
    Stash one in a jersey pocket (like the TdF domestiques)
    Behind-saddle bottle holder (like some time trialers and tri-geeks use). I use this solution. Even on small frames, there is probably enough room for both 2 bottles and seat bag
    Larger bottles - 32oz bottles are available.
    Camelback (or similar hydration packs) - they make smaller ones for just carrying water. Check if you can really clean out the bladder and tube if you use sports drink mixes
    Carry extra drink mix powder in baggies (one baggie for each bottle's-worth) and/or electrolyte tables and mix more drink at water stops. I do this even for supported century rides as they usually use gatoraide which doesn't do much for me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Can someone write me out a perscription ?
    Yeah, maybe take a week off.

    If you are indeed - exercising to exhaustion - then it is likely you are choosing an intensity too difficult for the period or distance you wish to ride.

    I wish people would quit "looking outside" themselves for solutions. Everyone wants to take a new drink or bar or whatever to get better.

    You get "better" by paying attention to your pace. You get better by understanding the importance of rest.

    The problem (most likely) isn't your fuel - its you.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

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    Thanks ericm979 and others.
    You live and learn..... and with your help, I am now smarter next time I go out.
    They don't tell you these things when you leave the LBS with your shinny new bike.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Indyv8a's Avatar
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    So, if I have been trying to lose weight (I have) and I am not getting enough calories throughout the week, this is likely to cause an energy deficit (bonk) on a Sunday 40 miler at a higher pace than I am used to? I saw a couple of references to heart rate, my heart rate on my Sunday Team In Training ride is often up around 160+, how does that effect the need for calories? Thanks for letting me chime in!
    Slow, but at least still moving...

  11. #11
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Heart rate varies quite a bit between individuals. One person can be cruising comfortably in tempo range at 160 while another is over lactate threshold. But the harder you are working the more glycogen your muscles are using. Note that heart rate is affected by factors in addition to the amount of work you are doing, for example by heat or cardiac drift (the HR gradually gets higher at the same power output).

    If you run a caloric deficit during the week but eat a quality meal before the ride, and take in calories during the ride if it's long enough, you should be fine.

    If you are riding with a faster group stay in the draft as much as possible.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indyv8a View Post
    So, if I have been trying to lose weight (I have) and I am not getting enough calories throughout the week, this is likely to cause an energy deficit (bonk) on a Sunday 40 miler at a higher pace than I am used to? I saw a couple of references to heart rate, my heart rate on my Sunday Team In Training ride is often up around 160+, how does that effect the need for calories? Thanks for letting me chime in!

    Yes, if you are dieting, it's easier to run low on fuel for the ride - remember you need to fuel the ride, not use food as a reward afterwards. It's ok to be hungry later in the day, not before/during the ride.

    Good luck to you!
    ...

  13. #13
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    Eat a more substantial breakfast than just cereal and some kind of "bar". I suggest a scrambled egg sandwich an hour or two before the ride. Don't worry about the crabs in the toast or bagel you're gonna burn it up. just before your ride have a simple carb like a small box of raisins. Sports drinks are junk, just use water. I have an old friend that used to suggest 1/4 PBJ sandwich every 15 now and then during his long rides. After 40 minutes you'll be low on fuel in your bloodstream. Regarding hydration be sure to keep taking small sips at least every 15 minutes. Also - get a road bike with drop bars and slick tires.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    Eat a more substantial breakfast than just cereal and some kind of "bar". I suggest a scrambled egg sandwich an hour or two before the ride. Don't worry about the crabs in the toast or bagel you're gonna burn it up. just before your ride have a simple carb like a small box of raisins. Sports drinks are junk, just use water. I have an old friend that used to suggest 1/4 PBJ sandwich every 15 now and then during his long rides. After 40 minutes you'll be low on fuel in your bloodstream. Regarding hydration be sure to keep taking small sips at least every 15 minutes. Also - get a road bike with drop bars and slick tires.

    ^^ I dunno, that would worry me. ;D

    I'm not a fan of the huge breakfast - you'll need to experiment to see what works for you. I have a bowl of cereal, no matter what the ride, and then start fueling around 1-1:20 into the ride with gels. YMMV.
    ...

  15. #15
    Its Freakin HammerTime!!! C_Heath's Avatar
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    just ride the bike, ride it and keep ridin. Pick a point that you know how long it takes you to get to. Or pick several places, use them as time markers. This will help you improve. When you reach those areas 1 or two minutes faster than the last time you rode, you will get pumped. Keep ridin, ride with faster riders, just go ride!
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
    ....

    http://www.xxcycle.com/logo_w150h100/bmc.jpg

  16. #16
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    well a scrambled egg sandwich isn't a huge breakfast. I don't think. my idea of HUGE would be adding steak; pancakes and sausage. mmm ... now I'm hungry
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  17. #17
    Senior Member Indyv8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_Heath View Post
    just ride the bike, ride it and keep ridin. Pick a point that you know how long it takes you to get to. Or pick several places, use them as time markers. This will help you improve. When you reach those areas 1 or two minutes faster than the last time you rode, you will get pumped. Keep ridin, ride with faster riders, just go ride!
    Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I agree, I just need to ride the bike. I'm in need of miles, and food will help, but I lack endurance.
    Slow, but at least still moving...

  18. #18
    Senior Member Indyv8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    Also - get a road bike with drop bars and slick tires.
    That I have done, I'm coming back from a substantial lay-off, so I just need more miles.
    Slow, but at least still moving...

  19. #19
    Junior Member JWSpeed's Avatar
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    Re:Help this newbie/running out of gas....

    The one and only time I remember bonking; felt great climbing west hills of Portland, until I bonked and ended up falling asleep on Front Avenue. I could not even walk. That morning was the only morning I started the day off with Cheerios.

    Soon after that ride, I looked at the ingredients. 17g of carbs from a single cup with only 100 calories, it burns like toilet paper over a white-hot fire! Even with 1% milk, I learned after that day to eat something more substantial than any processed serial if I am going for a long’ish ride.
    Don't blame me; I am just fully recovered..

  20. #20
    Senior Member Indyv8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    Yeah, maybe take a week off.
    If you are indeed - exercising to exhaustion - then it is likely you are choosing an intensity too difficult for the period or distance you wish to ride. I wish people would quit "looking outside" themselves for solutions. Everyone wants to take a new drink or bar or whatever to get better.
    You get "better" by paying attention to your pace. You get better by understanding the importance of rest.The problem (most likely) isn't your fuel - its you.
    Unfortunately, this is likely the truth. I jumped on this thread hoping for a quick solution, and the answer is, there is no quick solution. If I am going to ride with faster people, I am going to get blown fast, until I am in the same condition as the faster people. TE3, I think it is time to listen to my wife. She says, "it just means you need to ride more." Where's the downside?
    Slow, but at least still moving...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWSpeed View Post
    The one and only time I remember bonking; felt great climbing west hills of Portland, until I bonked and ended up falling asleep on Front Avenue. I could not even walk. That morning was the only morning I started the day off with Cheerios.

    Soon after that ride, I looked at the ingredients. 17g of carbs from a single cup with only 100 calories, it burns like toilet paper over a white-hot fire! Even with 1% milk, I learned after that day to eat something more substantial than any processed serial if I am going for a long’ish ride.
    Nothing wrong with Cheerios, but you'll need to eat more than 100 Calories. Try 400 and you should be fine. Eating something more complex won't delay a bonk.

  22. #22
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    UPDATE
    >>>Update
    UPDATE:
    Went to the sporting goods store this week and bought an assortment of Honey Waffle Stingers, GU gels, CLIFF gels, Gummys, etc.
    Before the 50 mile ride: I ate a normal breakfast of Yogurt, Granola Bar and Cherrios. Pre-Hydrated with water and went out for a 50 mile ride.
    Needless to say no "bonking" this time. About every hour I had a gel, or waffle stinger.
    They are yummy and provided what I needed to finish the ride with just water in the cages.
    I felt great before, during and after the ride.
    Thanks to everyone for their help.

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