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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 06-12-12, 12:37 PM   #1
st3venb
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Distance, Speed -- what're your gu schedules?

So I understand that everyone is different... But I'm sort of trying to figure out the Gu and ride based foods... so that I can stop bonking toward the ends of my rides.

I primarily do a 30 mile "distance" ride every mon/fri, and in between on Tue/Thur I do recovery rides (slow to coffee with the wife, blah blah)... on Wed, I do a 20 mile hard / fast paced ride.

On my 30 milers it's just under 2 hours that I'm out, and on my 20 miler I'm a little over 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Where should I start with experimenting when to eat the Gu's on both rides?

Pre-Ride I usually eat a bowl of frosted wheat thingies, or honey nut cheerios... Or I'll eat some bread w/ peanut butter and a banana.

Post-Ride I usually get myself an 8oz glass of chocolate milk.

On my recovery rides, I generally eat breakfast after the ride... (they're usually only 10 miles at a slow 13-14mph).


Thanks for any help!
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Old 06-12-12, 12:52 PM   #2
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With the distance you are riding, some will even say that you don't need to eat anything at all during the ride. But everyone is different so you just need to start exprimenting to see what works. I eat a little bit of food in the middle of 2 hrs ride, just so I won't feel too hungry afterward. Any ride longer than that I would eat regularly (very small quantity) every 30 to 45 mins.
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Old 06-12-12, 01:14 PM   #3
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With the distance you are riding, some will even say that you don't need to eat anything at all during the ride. But everyone is different so you just need to start exprimenting to see what works. I eat a little bit of food in the middle of 2 hrs ride, just so I won't feel too hungry afterward. Any ride longer than that I would eat regularly (very small quantity) every 30 to 45 mins.

Forgot to mention that I'm a Clydesdale... tipping the scales at 320lbs; if that changes anything.
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Old 06-12-12, 01:42 PM   #4
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Your weight is relevant because it affects the number of calories you'll burn. However, even at 320lbs you are very unlikely to exhaust your glycogen reserves in two hours unless you're going very hard. So I would recommend that you eat nothing while riding, first because you don't need it, and second because it will train your metabolism to access fat stores for fuel.

When you start riding for longer than that, I'd suggest starting to eat after one hour and consuming 250calories, mostly of carbs, in each succeeding hour. That may not sound like much, but you can't absorb much more than 60 grams of carbs in an hour: 4 kcal per gram, 4x60 = 240 calories.

What food you choose is a matter of taste. Personally I wouldn't bother with GUs and suchlike, they are expensive, not terribly palatable IMO, and offer you nothing you can't get from real food.
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Old 06-12-12, 11:55 PM   #5
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I wouldn't eat anything on a 2 hour ride.
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Old 06-13-12, 12:17 AM   #6
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< 2 hours ... no food, unless maybe I had gone a long time without food before the ride.

> 2 hours ... approx. 200-300 calories per hour.

Gu ... only for emergency use.

Try eating something less "frosted" or "honey-ed" for breakfast. You might last longer. Honey before a ride is really bad for me, but anything quite high in sugar doesn't seem to last long.
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Old 06-13-12, 01:36 AM   #7
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Pre-Ride I usually eat a bowl of frosted wheat thingies, or honey nut cheerios...
If you cut out the sugary junk you will lose weight faster and ride better. Try real oatmeal (NOT from a package) with some fruit, a small amount of maple syrup and a bit of milk. Get "natural" peanut butter with no added sugar. Read the labels- you'll discover that there's sugar in a lot of things. But you can find versions without the added sugar. When I started riding and paying attention to my diet I discovered that there's sugar in nearly everything I was eating. I got off the sugar habit and found that my taste changed and it was no longer appealing... and I'd grow up drinking gallons of Coke.

If I ate that stuff before a ride I'd be looking for more food in about an hour. I normally don't need additional calories for a 3 hour ride. It took me 5 or 6 years to get to that, from about 2 hours.

Most reasonably fit rider can ride 2+ hours without any calories, if they eat before the ride. But if you're not fit you may not be able to. I've seen people who run low on glycogen after an hour. If you are truly bonking and not just getting tired, then you need some calories about 15 minutes before that point. Try a non-caffienated gel at an hour or so into your 2 hour ride and see if your "bonk" changes significantly.

If you can spend more time riding you'll lose more weight (and get faster), even if you need to eat to do it. At an endurance pace you'll burn at least 400 calories an hour. If you eat 200 to enable another hour, that's still a 200 calorie deficit.

You don't need anything post-ride if your rides are that short. You only need a recovery drink if you're depleted AND you're doing a significant ride the next day. If you're taking the next day off or doing a recovery ride, then you have an additional day to replenish your glycogen stores and regular meals can do that.

I'm another rider who prefers real food to gels. Gel makes me ill if I eat much of it (and they are nasty tasting- way too sweet). But they are handy for experiments in fueling.

Good luck with your weight loss. I lost a bunch of weight through cycling (from 25% body fat to 7%) and there's plenty of people who have lost like 100 lbs or more. It takes a while but it works if you stick with it. Improving your diet helps, and helps with the riding too.
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Old 06-13-12, 06:53 AM   #8
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Thank you guys for the replies.

I'll have to give some of them a try (oatmeal, fruit, etc). For the rest, I guess I'll just have to HTFU.
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Old 06-13-12, 01:06 PM   #9
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Another thing to keep in mind when riding in the az heat make sure you're taking in plenty of fluids and make sure some of those fluids are an electrolyte drink. Right now i'm finding myself going through one bottle every 30-40 minutes.
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Old 06-13-12, 03:16 PM   #10
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While you didn't mention cycling for weight loss, I would be cautious to not over-estimate the calories burned and end up consuming more than you would otherwise (and potentially not end up with a net loss). You'll find plenty of threads on the topic here, but I've had good luck using 30kcal/mi (I'm 200lbs, though used the same when I was 230). For a 20mi ride, I could easily drink those calories back with a chocolate milk recovery drink, or at least put a big dent in it.

I don't know if it is metabolic changes, or just practice about eating consistently, but this past Sunday I did an 8 hour ride (total 6h30m climbing, 1h descending, 30m stopped) at an "endurance pace" (z2, ~72% max heart rate, ~60% of FTP) and at the end I was not hungry at all. I ate ~280kcal/hr, eating consistently every 10 minutes (bike computer was set to remind me). I expected to be famished at the end, but ate a Clif bar (~240kcal?) and drank a Starbucks doubleshot (~140kcal?) as I started the drive home and was satisfied the rest of the evening (drank lots of water though).
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Old 06-14-12, 08:19 AM   #11
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Another thing to keep in mind when riding in the az heat make sure you're taking in plenty of fluids and make sure some of those fluids are an electrolyte drink. Right now i'm finding myself going through one bottle every 30-40 minutes.

Yeah, on my metric century I did on the singlespeed I drank probably 9x24 oz bottles of water... It was way too hot.
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Old 06-14-12, 02:03 PM   #12
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Yeah, on my metric century I did on the singlespeed I drank probably 9x24 oz bottles of water... It was way too hot.
If you're just drinking water then you definitely need to mix in an electrolyte drink like gatorade, vitalyte, gu electrolyte brew, etc. In this kind of heat I personally do 2 out of 3... 2 bottles of electrolyte drink and 1 bottle of water... although i do usually mix my drinks a little weaker than they recommend... a lot of it is going to depend on how much you're sweating.

As for food I personally save gu's as an emergency type of food. I agree with the others in saying i'd try to skip the sugary cereals, the bread with peanut butter and banana sounds like a pretty good setup though. I've powered through some very long rides fueled by pb&j's! I also go with fruit and nut bars, fig newtons, cereal bars...

As far as when to eat on the ride... for me it usually has to do with how much i ate before my ride but my general rule of thumb is if i'm really feeling a hunger craving kick in and i'm more than 15 minutes from home i'll break out a snack... trying to push on without eating when you're feeling hungry is a great way to ride yourself into bonking. Heck i've rolled out of my house and ate my snack 15 minutes into my ride cause i didn't eat enough before hand and was feeling the hunger kicking in... definitely poor planning that day haha
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Old 06-14-12, 08:35 PM   #13
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If you're just drinking water then you definitely need to mix in an electrolyte drink like gatorade, vitalyte, gu electrolyte brew, etc. In this kind of heat I personally do 2 out of 3... 2 bottles of electrolyte drink and 1 bottle of water... although i do usually mix my drinks a little weaker than they recommend... a lot of it is going to depend on how much you're sweating.

As for food I personally save gu's as an emergency type of food. I agree with the others in saying i'd try to skip the sugary cereals, the bread with peanut butter and banana sounds like a pretty good setup though. I've powered through some very long rides fueled by pb&j's! I also go with fruit and nut bars, fig newtons, cereal bars...

As far as when to eat on the ride... for me it usually has to do with how much i ate before my ride but my general rule of thumb is if i'm really feeling a hunger craving kick in and i'm more than 15 minutes from home i'll break out a snack... trying to push on without eating when you're feeling hungry is a great way to ride yourself into bonking. Heck i've rolled out of my house and ate my snack 15 minutes into my ride cause i didn't eat enough before hand and was feeling the hunger kicking in... definitely poor planning that day haha

Yes, anytime I go out on anything longer than an hour I mix in Camelback elixir's. One bottle elixir, one bottle water... And then go from there.

The day I did the century I only drank two bottles of the electrolyte mess cause I ran out of tabs.

I can't find the article, but I read one on clydesdales and why I can't ride like a normal person. But... sound advice from all of you. Thank you.
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