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Old 12-17-13, 07:21 PM
Lover of Old Chrome Moly
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Stick a granola bar or oatmeal cookie in your jersey pocket for each hour you are going to ride. I figure about a 24 oz water bottle for the first hour and another 24 oz of dilute sports drink (commercial or homemade, lots of recipes if you search this forum) for each additional hour in average summer conditions. If you are using Gatorade, Powerade or similar sports drink, dilute it 50/50 with water or carry one bottle of sports drink and one bottle of plain water and alternate. If you are on a particularly hard hammerfest, in hot and humid conditions, fighting high winds, etc. you will have to increase the amounts accordingly. There are guidelines but no "right" amounts for everyone. My rule of thumb is to take a a couple of good swigs every 15 minutes if I'm not thirsty and more frequently if I feel thirsty. It is better to drink small amounts frequently than to try to catch up by guzzling at rest stops. I've got nothing against "sports foods" like gels, blocks, beans and bars, but don't find them necessary or particularly tasty. A handful of roasted almonds and dried fruit works well, so does a granola bar, an oatmeal raisin cookie, fruit leather, a few dates or figs, fig newtons, or any other food that provides a blend of simple and complex carbs with a bit of protein and fat as well as some sodium and potassium. I shoot for 200-400 kCal/hr depending on how hard I'm riding. On rides less than 2 hours in length, a 24 oz bottle of water and another of dilute sports drink is plenty, just make sure you are adequately hydrated and have a snack 30 minutes or so before the ride.

While the idea is not to bonk, a great bonk buster is caramel with sea salt. It probably wouldn't be good for general on-bike nutrition and probably doesn't travel well on hot days, but I was about to hit the wall when I stopped at a small C-store that had a basket of it at the counter. Two pieces with a half liter of cool water brought me back from the edge rather quickly and the rest of the ride home went well. Anecdotal evidence for sure, but tasty.
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