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  1. #1
    just another biker SouthTJ's Avatar
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    Legs giving out on 44 mile ride.

    I'm just getting back into riding since taking a year off. I've only ridden three times so far for a total of about 110 miles. Two 44 mile rides and one 22. I know that I can't expect to just be right back into riding shape but those two 44 mile rides just about did me in. When I was riding in the past I would usually ride the 60 mile ride and be tired at the end but not like this. I have been working out periodically since I've not been on the bike but I think I need to do something to really get the legs back in shape. About 3/4 of the way into these past two rides my legs have just given out. The rest of my body feels good and my hard rate is good but my legs just don't have the energy to press the pedals. I have to keep going to a lower and lower gear just to keep forward motion, especially on any kind of rise. I really felt it in my Quads, which I thought were in pretty good shape.

    Nutrition for that day I had a bowl of cheerios and a banana before I left the house and on the ride I hit the SAG's and ate PBJ and peanut butter cookies.

    So, what should I be doing? Do I just need to ride more often?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1. Slow down.

    2. Ride more often.

    3. Consume approx. 200-300 calories per hour on rides over 2 hours. Plus one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours during the duration of the ride.

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    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    +1 for riding more. That will increase your strength and endurance.
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    Senior Member blacknbluebikes's Avatar
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    I suspect that jumping right back into 2.5 to 3.0 hour rides might have been a tad ambitious...

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Only riding makes you fit for riding. Measure your riding in hours per week. When you've been riding say 5 hours/week for several months, you're sort of in shape. At about 10 hours/week, you're in good shape. After a year's layoff, it takes about a year to get it back. That's the reason I never take more than 2 weeks off.

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    I had not ridden in a long, long, long time and my first ride was like 6 miles, sevearl rides at 12 mi, then 20 and then I tapered back down before hitting 30 and then a 42 ride and then tapered back down and basically did a back to back 50-60 milers on the weekend before 200K but this ramp-up was over a 6 week period with consistent riding and timely rest. I thought I pushed it very hard and no way I could have done 40 miles out of the gate. Maybe back off and build up a little slower? Unless you are very young and cross train.

  7. #7
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Ride more often and incrementally increase your mileage. 0 to 22 to 44 is a recipe for burnout, if not injury.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    just another biker SouthTJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
    I suspect that jumping right back into 2.5 to 3.0 hour rides might have been a tad ambitious...
    Yeah, I suppose you are right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weatherby View Post
    I had not ridden in a long, long, long time and my first ride was like 6 miles, sevearl rides at 12 mi, then 20 and then I tapered back down before hitting 30 and then a 42 ride and then tapered back down and basically did a back to back 50-60 milers on the weekend before 200K but this ramp-up was over a 6 week period with consistent riding and timely rest. I thought I pushed it very hard and no way I could have done 40 miles out of the gate. Maybe back off and build up a little slower? Unless you are very young and cross train.
    Young, I am not. I'm 48 and fighting it every step of the way. I work out fairly regularly and am at my target weight and in decent shape though. I had just hoped to jump right back into things. Newb mistake I suppose even though I've been riding at this level or better for about 10 years save the last year.

    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Ride more often and incrementally increase your mileage. 0 to 22 to 44 is a recipe for burnout, if not injury.
    Yeah, I should have known better. Thanks.

    There is a group that is a training group to ride 100 miles in October so I suppose I'll join them. They gradually increase the miles each week and are at about 25 right now. Ease the mileage up. I will ride to the starting spot though.

  9. #9
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Last winter, I went 6 weeks with just 3 or 4 sessions of 30-45 minutes on the trainer. Then in late January and February, there were a few warm days, so I did about 120 miles total in 5 different rides. I was slow, and worn out by the end of the rides.

    Then in March, I got in 11 rides and 350 miles, with some 40 mile hilly rides. I was starting to get back up to speed. Now in April, I'm getting closer to my summer fitness. It's 650 miles for the year, with a 60 miler last weekend.

    You just need more rides, and will be back in shape in a month or so.

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    3. Consume approx. 200-300 calories per hour on rides over 2 hours. Plus one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours during the duration of the ride.
    Actually a good way to extend endurance is to do the exact opposite. Ride without any calories as much as possible. No sports drink, no PBJ, no peanut butter cookies unless you absolutely have to.

    You have a certain amount of energy (glycogen) stored in the quads. When you ride, you burn some combination of muscle glycogen, fat and on-the-bike carbs. If you're just starting after a long break, your stores are low and you end up running out quickly. Long glycogen-depleting rides without calories encourage your muscles to store more glycogen and to use more fat. It is totally possible to go 60 miles at a brisk pace without any food (though maybe not in time-trial mode).

    0 to 22 to 44 is a recipe for burnout, if not injury.
    If the OP manages to injure himself by going 0 to 22 to 44 miles (and by "injure" I don't mean irritated rump), and he's less than 80 years old and otherwise healthy, this will probably be the first case in history. (Unlike, say, going 0 to 5 to 10 miles in running, which would easily lead to an injury.)

  11. #11
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    If the OP manages to injure himself by going 0 to 22 to 44 miles (and by "injure" I don't mean irritated rump), and he's less than 80 years old and otherwise healthy, this will probably be the first case in history. (Unlike, say, going 0 to 5 to 10 miles in running, which would easily lead to an injury.)
    I did get a bad case of knee tendonitis that was caused by ramping up cycling too quickly in the spring after being sedentary over the winter. So it is possible to do. I would amend your statement to read "...this will probably be the first case in history except for people too dumb to listen to what their bodies are telling them."

    Not that getting tired legs is a symptom of tendonitis, but it's still probably wise to ramp up more slowly. (Unless you're young and your body heals quickly from the stresses).

    So the morals of the story are: (1) listen to your body and (2) don't ever stop cycling.

  12. #12
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Last fall I took about 5-6 weeks off cycling. Before I took my break, a normal ride for me was around 40-50 miles. I came back to train for a century ride and I was surprised to find that I struggled on my first ride back, which was 42 miles. I increased my weekly mileage by 10% per week and within 10ish weeks I had worked my way up to 80-90 mi training rides. So I think you should start with what's easy & increase incrementally from there.

    I also find the calorie reccs of @Machka and @hamster very interesting. I weigh 135 pounds and I eat nothing special for a ride of less than 2hrs, about 100 cal/hr for a normal intensity 2-4 hr ride and 160 cal/hr for a 4+ hour ride or a very intense ride. For example, I rode 85 mi this weekend, a very difficult for me climbing ride in 6.25 hours and ate 1000 cal on the ride. I recently asked an ultra endurance rider I know what she eats, and she eats similar to @Machka reccs, on anything greater than 50 mi. So I think it might really depend on your physiology and conditioning.

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    I also find the calorie reccs of @Machka and @hamster very interesting. I weigh 135 pounds and I eat nothing special for a ride of less than 2hrs, about 100 cal/hr for a normal intensity 2-4 hr ride and 160 cal/hr for a 4+ hour ride or a very intense ride. For example, I rode 85 mi this weekend, a very difficult for me climbing ride in 6.25 hours and ate 1000 cal on the ride. I recently asked an ultra endurance rider I know what she eats, and she eats similar to @Machka reccs, on anything greater than 50 mi. So I think it might really depend on your physiology and conditioning.
    I don't think it depends on physiology and conditioning, but simply on your objectives. Eating on the bike helps you go further _right_now_, on this specific day. Not eating helps you to be able to go further in general. I'm not an ultra endurance rider but I just pulled off a pretty tough long distance event (you may have seen it in SoCal subforum) and my longest ride in 2 months prior to this event was 60 miles. I was training strictly on water. Of course, on the day of the actual event, it was, just like Machka says, 200-250 kcal/hour religiously starting 30 minutes into the ride.

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    I ride 200-400km rides often and I find that I HAVE to keep a modest pace (under 28kmh on the flat) and eat every 1 1/2 hours or simply run out of gas. On a simple 100km I can go with a bottle of water and good breakfast. I'll eat like a horse when I get home but I have sufficient stores of energy to ride for 4-5 hours with no food fairly easily. Beyond that? Not eating is a BAAADDDDD idea.

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    I also find the calorie reccs of @Machka and @hamster very interesting. I weigh 135 pounds and I eat nothing special for a ride of less than 2hrs, about 100 cal/hr for a normal intensity 2-4 hr ride and 160 cal/hr for a 4+ hour ride or a very intense ride. For example, I rode 85 mi this weekend, a very difficult for me climbing ride in 6.25 hours and ate 1000 cal on the ride. I recently asked an ultra endurance rider I know what she eats, and she eats similar to @Machka reccs, on anything greater than 50 mi. So I think it might really depend on your physiology and conditioning.

    H
    The better shape you're in, the less you need to eat. As you get into shape, your body improves its processing methods of whatever fuel it has.

    Also ...

    The theory is that if you are eating normally, you should have about 2000 calories in storage in your liver and muscle cells. Assuming that you're burning approx. 500 calories per hour, theoretically you should be able to ride for 4 hours before you've used up those 2000 calories. I can cover about 68 km in 4 hours right now, but back in the day when I was fast, I could cover 100 km in 4 hours.

    Eat a 500 calorie breakfast before you go out, and you might be able to ride for 5 hours without food.

    However, if you're still building up your fitness, and if your body doesn't process fuel efficiently, you'll probably manage about 2 hours before you start to feel it ... the early stages of a bonk.

    Therefore, we recommend that people consume approx. half what they burn if they are on rides longer than 2 hours ... 200-300 calories per hour. If they eat that much, they won't bonk, and they will have the energy to complete the ride. Later, after having done many longer rides and feeling comfortable with longer distances people may discover that they can get away with less food ... and that's OK. After you're comfortable with longer distances, you can adjust your fuel as you see fit.

    However, it is a good idea to have 200-300 calories available on a ride, whether you eat it or not. You just never know when you're going to encounter a bigger hill or stronger winds ... or maybe you're just not feeling particularly energetic. I've gone into the early stages of a bonk at some really odd places and times ... and thank goodness I had a granola bar on board.

    As for riding long distances (ultra endurance stuff), it can be very important to start eating 200-300 calories right at the beginning and keep eating it as long as you can. Back to the 2000 calories you have in storage. Over a 4-hour period if you consume nothing, your 2000 calories is gone. But if you are eating 250 calories per hour, at the end of 4 hours you should still have 1000 calories to work with. In my ultra endurance days, I found that breakfast + approx. 250 calories per hour worked up to about 6-7 hours, and then I needed to stop for a meal. I was OK again (still eating 250 calories per hour) for about 4-5 hours, and then I needed to eat another meal, and so on until the end of the ride.

  16. #16
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The better shape you're in, the less you need to eat. As you get into shape, your body improves its processing methods of whatever fuel it has.

    Also ...

    The theory is that if you are eating normally, you should have about 2000 calories in storage in your liver and muscle cells. Assuming that you're burning approx. 500 calories per hour, theoretically you should be able to ride for 4 hours before you've used up those 2000 calories. I can cover about 68 km in 4 hours right now, but back in the day when I was fast, I could cover 100 km in 4 hours.

    Eat a 500 calorie breakfast before you go out, and you might be able to ride for 5 hours without food.

    However, if you're still building up your fitness, and if your body doesn't process fuel efficiently, you'll probably manage about 2 hours before you start to feel it ... the early stages of a bonk.

    Therefore, we recommend that people consume approx. half what they burn if they are on rides longer than 2 hours ... 200-300 calories per hour. If they eat that much, they won't bonk, and they will have the energy to complete the ride. Later, after having done many longer rides and feeling comfortable with longer distances people may discover that they can get away with less food ... and that's OK. After you're comfortable with longer distances, you can adjust your fuel as you see fit.

    However, it is a good idea to have 200-300 calories available on a ride, whether you eat it or not. You just never know when you're going to encounter a bigger hill or stronger winds ... or maybe you're just not feeling particularly energetic. I've gone into the early stages of a bonk at some really odd places and times ... and thank goodness I had a granola bar on board.

    As for riding long distances (ultra endurance stuff), it can be very important to start eating 200-300 calories right at the beginning and keep eating it as long as you can. Back to the 2000 calories you have in storage. Over a 4-hour period if you consume nothing, your 2000 calories is gone. But if you are eating 250 calories per hour, at the end of 4 hours you should still have 1000 calories to work with. In my ultra endurance days, I found that breakfast + approx. 250 calories per hour worked up to about 6-7 hours, and then I needed to stop for a meal. I was OK again (still eating 250 calories per hour) for about 4-5 hours, and then I needed to eat another meal, and so on until the end of the ride.
    Fabulous post @Machka.

    In my training notes, I have written down that your average cyclist has 1600 cal of stored glycogen. My guess was that was based on a 175 pound male and scaling that down for me at 135 pounds, I have used the working assumption that I have about 1200 cal of stored glycogen.

    I also am not a hammer type rider, I ride long distances at a moderate effort for the most part and am rarely out of breath on a ride. I think I burn about 400 cal/hr, given my size and riding effort.

    My third factor that I consider is that I think I am very well conditioned to my typical ride length/effort.

    So considering that I would usually eat about 200 carb cal before I head out for a typical 4hr ride, I figure I have 3-4 hours of stored glycogen, so starting eating at the 2hr mark should leave me a good safety margin. Last weekend, I knew I was doing a tougher/longer ride and ate about 400 carb calories prior to the ride and 1000 carb calories on the bike. I didn't really think this through beforehand, but now I can see that I cut things a little close, by my own calculations (which admittedly are very approximate), I left myself at the end with only 100 carb calories or 15 min of riding. I was pretty tired at the end, which I thought related to the effort expended (maybe I was right) but maybe I was running out of calories too.

    Thinking this through right now is a great exercise for me because I'm soon riding a century ride which will be tougher than my normal rides and I will probably ride it a little harder than usual. I think I will make point of eating a little more, I'll have to work out the math on it.

    H

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    I agree with what others have said.. too many too quick. You need to build the base miles in. When I got into cycling after a long rest.. it was a bunch of 12-15mi..then mid 20's, 30 and so on. I do 40's with no issue except my behind starts complaining at around 50.

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    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    I don't think it depends on physiology and conditioning, but simply on your objectives. Eating on the bike helps you go further _right_now_, on this specific day. Not eating helps you to be able to go further in general. I'm not an ultra endurance rider but I just pulled off a pretty tough long distance event (you may have seen it in SoCal subforum) and my longest ride in 2 months prior to this event was 60 miles. I was training strictly on water. Of course, on the day of the actual event, it was, just like Machka says, 200-250 kcal/hour religiously starting 30 minutes into the ride.
    @hamster, no I did not see your post and can't find it in the SoCal subforum?! Did you by any chance ride the Hemet Double Century? If you did, that's funny because that's the ride that my ultra endurance friend just rode, actually as a training ride for something even bigger.

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    @hamster, no I did not see your post and can't find it in the SoCal subforum?! Did you by any chance ride the Hemet Double Century? If you did, that's funny because that's the ride that my ultra endurance friend just rode, actually as a training ride for something even bigger.
    No, the Mulholland Double Century.

  20. #20
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    No, the Mulholland Double Century.
    @hamster, I impressed!!! Are you fun to ride with? You are not too far from me, maybe we could ride together sometime if you feel like taking it easy.

    h

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    [QUOTE=hamster;16670793]Actually a good way to extend endurance is to do the exact opposite. Ride without any calories as much as possible. No sports drink, no PBJ, no peanut butter cookies unless you absolutely have to.

    You have a certain amount of energy (glycogen) stored in the quads. When you ride, you burn some combination of muscle glycogen, fat and on-the-bike carbs. If you're just starting after a long break, your stores are low and you end up running out quickly. Long glycogen-depleting rides without calories encourage your muscles to store more glycogen and to use more fat. It is totally possible to go 60 miles at a brisk pace without any food (though maybe not in time-trial mode).

    This is bad advice but a very common misconception. All this will do is slow you down and can make you sick.
    It was known as bonk training. The theroy was that you would store more Glycogen and be stronger. but it will do the opposite.
    No time for details now maybe later.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coachtj Cormier View Post
    This is bad advice but a very common misconception. All this will do is slow you down and can make you sick.
    It was known as bonk training. The theroy was that you would store more Glycogen and be stronger. but it will do the opposite.
    No time for details now maybe later.
    Bonk training is somewhat different. I'm not suggesting you actually bonk. I'm suggesting that you don't eat unless you really have to.

    Look at this:

    Impact of carbohydrate supplementation during endurance training on glycogen storage and performance - Nybo - 2009 - Acta Physiologica - Wiley Online Library

    In previously untrained males performance and various muscular adaptations were evaluated before and after 8 weeks of supervised endurance training conducted either with (n = 8; CHO group) or without (n = 7; placebo) glucose supplementation. (...) resting muscle glycogen increased (P < 0.05) to a larger extent in the placebo group (96 ± 4%) than CHO (33 ± 2%).
    Last edited by hamster; 04-15-14 at 10:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Bonk training is somewhat different. I'm not suggesting you actually bonk. I'm suggesting that you don't eat unless you really have to.

    Look at this:

    Impact of carbohydrate supplementation during endurance training on glycogen storage and performance - Nybo - 2009 - Acta Physiologica - Wiley Online Library

    In previously untrained males performance and various muscular adaptations were evaluated before and after 8 weeks of supervised endurance training conducted either with (n = 8; CHO group) or without (n = 7; placebo) glucose supplementation. (...) resting muscle glycogen increased (P < 0.05) to a larger extent in the placebo group (96 ± 4%) than CHO (33 ± 2%).
    That's a huge qualifier there....

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    Quote Originally Posted by achoo View Post
    That's a huge qualifier there....
    http://www.jappl.org/content/105/5/1462.full

    We determined the effects of a cycle training program in which selected sessions were performed with low muscle glycogen content on training capacity and subsequent endurance performance (...) Seven endurance-trained cyclists/triathletes trained daily (High) alternating between 100-min steady-state aerobic rides (AT) one day, followed by a high-intensity interval training session (HIT; 8 × 5 min at maximum self-selected effort) the next day. Another seven subjects trained twice every second day (Low), first undertaking AT, then 1–2 h later, the HIT. These training schedules were maintained for 3 wk.

    Resting muscle glycogen concentration (412 ± 51 vs. 577 ± 34 μmol/g dry wt), rates of whole body fat oxidation during 60SS (1,261 ± 247 vs. 1,698 ± 174 μmol·kg−1·60 min−1), (...) were increased only in Low (all P < 0.05). (...) Cycling performance improved by ∼10% in both Low and High.
    Last edited by hamster; 04-15-14 at 11:33 AM.

  25. #25
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    Fabulous post @Machka.

    In my training notes, I have written down that your average cyclist has 1600 cal of stored glycogen. My guess was that was based on a 175 pound male and scaling that down for me at 135 pounds, I have used the working assumption that I have about 1200 cal of stored glycogen.

    I also am not a hammer type rider, I ride long distances at a moderate effort for the most part and am rarely out of breath on a ride. I think I burn about 400 cal/hr, given my size and riding effort.

    My third factor that I consider is that I think I am very well conditioned to my typical ride length/effort.

    So considering that I would usually eat about 200 carb cal before I head out for a typical 4hr ride, I figure I have 3-4 hours of stored glycogen, so starting eating at the 2hr mark should leave me a good safety margin. Last weekend, I knew I was doing a tougher/longer ride and ate about 400 carb calories prior to the ride and 1000 carb calories on the bike. I didn't really think this through beforehand, but now I can see that I cut things a little close, by my own calculations (which admittedly are very approximate), I left myself at the end with only 100 carb calories or 15 min of riding. I was pretty tired at the end, which I thought related to the effort expended (maybe I was right) but maybe I was running out of calories too.

    Thinking this through right now is a great exercise for me because I'm soon riding a century ride which will be tougher than my normal rides and I will probably ride it a little harder than usual. I think I will make point of eating a little more, I'll have to work out the math on it.

    H
    Agree with Machka. Very, very important to start eating at your maximum sustainable rate right from the start. I start eating after 15 minutes. To that end, I eat a 400 cal. carb/protein/no fat breakfast far enough in advance that I am hungry at the ride start. IME the first three hours are the most important for eating. Once you have your routine established it takes care of itself. You may not need to eat as much as the end of the ride approaches. I usually slow it down and ramp up the effort, but I've been doing it a long time and know what it should feel like. Many, if not most people make the mistake of not eating at the beginning and then ramping it up toward the end, when it's much too late. Then they say, "Oh, but I ate plenty." Not.

    When reasonably conditioned people get overtired on a century, it's always lack of food. If you've been eating enough and staying under LT, you shouldn't get exhausted. Hurt, yes. Pain, yes. Tired, yes. But your legs should be there for you when you need them. I've had some of my strongest efforts at the ends of very long, hard rides when a hour ago I thought I was going to die from the heat and effort. I was able to back off just enough to get enough calories into my legs for one more hour's effort. It's all about the calories. The first American finisher in last year's RAAM says it's an eating contest rather than a normal bike race.

    You really don't have to work out the math. You need to get the feel for what your stomach will tolerate. The more you can eat, the better, because then the more watts you can put out without running out of glycogen. The nice thing about shorter LD rides like centuries is that there's a known end. On ultras, one needs to have the glycogen last almost forever, and develop a strategy to do that, as Machka points out.

    If you overeat, you'll know it because you'll get "sloshy stomach." The cure for that is to stop eating, back off the effort slightly, take 2 Endurolytes and up your plain water consumption until your stomach empties. That happens when the concentration of nutrients in the stomach gets too high: it won't go across the wall fast enough until it gets diluted. If you don't fix it, you'll bonk. This can happen either from eating too much or not drinking enough. So there's that problem to consider, too. Personal experience is the only way to sort this. I do best on liquid Hammer-style nutrition.

    Trying to stay focused on long rides, I eat every 15 minutes and stand for a minute or less every 10 minutes. Checking my status this frequently keeps me in the game.

    -DD

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