just another gosling
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
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I'm an advocate of completely separating the Big Three for long, tough rides: food, hydration, and electrolytes. Why? Because depending on the situation, a rider needs them in different proportions. So I'll always have a bottle or Camelbak of plain water, a bottle with very concentrated liquid food, and a separate source of electrolytes. I might also have some gel and some fig or Clif bars and a baggie of food powder. Each rider has to experiment and find what's right for them. I think it's wonderful that we are all different.
So the reason they carry energy drinks is that liquid food gets into the bloodstream fastest. Maltodextrin is the fastest. Look for stuff with that instead of sugars. It's all about getting it across the stomach wall and into the blood pronto, to the tune of 250-300 cal/hr. So you can immediately see that ordinary sports drinks don't even touch it.
OTOH, figure out your calories. If you're doing the calories, then it's not that, it's just developing endurance. Also what you'll see is that you may be working further up your aerobic curve than other folks and thus burning more glycogen than they do. As you get stronger, your effort will decrease, which means you should focus on getting stronger - raising your wattage at LT. Also focus on conserving. On a group climb, I might drop off the pace a little and then get them back on the descent. Stay out of the wind on the flat. Stay 6" off your wheel and a little to one side. If you come to the front, give it 10 strokes and pull over.
Edit: I should mention what my wife does. We both use 24 oz. bottles for water and then liter Zefal Magnum bottles for food drink mix. For a 3-4 hour ride, she puts in 2 bottles of Ensure Plus (700 cal.) and fills the bottle with water. Great stuff, quick stomach emptying, everything you need, and really easy and low tech. Almost every large grocery store has it, sometimes store brand, just as good. Easy to carry a bottle or two along for longer rides. 4 bottles plus other stuff will easily get you a 200k.
Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 07-07-12 at 10:05 PM.