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Snacks during a ride?

Old 06-27-23, 12:44 PM
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Snacks during a ride?

Some riders in this forum ride 20-30 miles each day. Is food something you have to watch out for before and during the ride?
I have been doing keto and losing weight. I keep my carb intake very very low. An article about keto that I read when I started warned about heavy exercise.
I wouldnít think a 20-30 mile ride would be a problem but I really would like to avoid face planting.
What do yíall eat?
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Old 06-27-23, 01:07 PM
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I'm type 2 diabetic. I carry a snack bag Incase my blood sugar/energy crashes. My snack bag is squeeze pouch of no sugar added apple sauce, single serving cup of peanut butter, quarter cup of peanuts small pouch of jerky I also carry water bottle with 80% water 20% cranberry juice and a splash of lime juice.
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Old 06-27-23, 01:34 PM
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Depends on how you want to get your carbohydrates. Assuming you want to get them. I don't take anything with me for most rides except for my bottles which have a carbohydrate mix added to them.

I use to just use water and get my carbs via bananas, dried figs, apricots or raisins. Along with all the high carb power bars, candy bars or gels. But that was when I was just getting back into riding. If I go for a 50 mile plus ride, I might throw something in my pocket just for a treat.

Generally everything I do take is intended to be consumed while on the bike pedaling. So wrappers are a pain to deal with. That's one reason I tend to just use what I can put in bottles and drink.
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Old 06-27-23, 02:14 PM
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I'll usually plan to have a snack after a couple hours, and then more frequently after that (unless it's after a nice lunch or supper). But I'm not doing keto.

I'd think it would depend on your speed and climbing. Flat rides at 10 mph, you can probably ride forever (if the keto advocates are right and you're fully converted, or whatever they call it). 20 mph on the flat with lots of climbing? That would be tough for your liver to keep up with, you might need to supplement with some carbs.
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Old 06-27-23, 03:42 PM
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I am not inclined to do keto so my choices may not be relevant. Favorites for me are fruit, fig newtons, energy bars, and sometimes gels. I can't imagine going low or no carb.
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Old 06-27-23, 03:49 PM
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I like to be well fed and I eat more than most cyclists. Not a fan of starving myself.
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Old 06-27-23, 03:55 PM
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When I'm cycling 10 hours a week, I need to eat and my go-to is PB&J, about half a sandwich per hour. Bananas and gels too.
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Old 06-27-23, 04:15 PM
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My diet consists primarily of "healthy fats" off the bike and it has been my experience that you do not need carbs to fuel your ride if you're non-competitive and/or an endurance rider. I routinely do 40+ mile rides at moderate intensities (usually average 17 to 19 MPH... don't have a power meter, unfortunately). I have never "bonked" or even come close by eating high fat foods... "bonking" is usually the result of a person who isn't "fat adapted" running out of carbs and their body isn't used to switching to fat as a fuel source. It took me many months of eating healthy fats, fasting, and reducing carbs before I felt the benefits of doing so... it wasn't an immediate change like some think it should be.

However, if you ride fast and/or are competitive, carbs are still king as far as I've learned. It's my understanding that fats are very dense in energy, but they are not easily converted to fuel by your body which is a problem if you're in a race and need fuel NOW. Your body will always prefer carbs over fat if they're available. It's my opinion that if you're not concerned about setting personal records or racing, you can stay with your healthy fat (keto) foods.
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Old 06-27-23, 04:33 PM
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On rides of less than 2 hours, I might bring 1 gel and will have only water in my bottles. I probably won't eat the gel. On rides over 2 hours, I try to eat at least 1 gel per hour, plus I use Skratch Super High Carb drink mix in my bottles. I have found that this combination fuels me very well.
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Old 06-27-23, 06:10 PM
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I started low carb/keto because I got up to 305 pounds. Since the first of February I have lost 50 pounds. Itís working. My goal is to be indee 200 pounds-around 175-180.
I am not sure if I am actually doing keto-I may not be eating enough fats. I do keep my carbs under 20 most days.
Once the weight is gone I will be able to eat more fruits and vegetables and more carbs but I will still avoid sugar, etc.
I am mostly a casual rider. I donít race or do endurance. Once the fat is gone I may do longer rides or some fun or charity races, but for now I mainly ride around my neighborhood. There are a few trails nearby that I plan to ride. My speed will probably be 12-15 mph. I wonder if I will get faster as I get lighter weight?
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Old 06-27-23, 09:56 PM
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most times carry water and a cliff bar

last weekend did rail trail ride that has a bike shop / ice cream stop (Tandem Connection) at one of the trailheads

had a great ice cream cone ... one scoop ... then made two mistakes: 1) - checked out the bike shop and saw a really sweet looking Cervelo gravel bike (Aspero ?) in my size ... and 2) - downed another ice cream cone ...

the extra cone did not dampen my enthusiasm for the Cervelo - but it did give me a mild tummy ache and then I was reluctant to drink more water ... and did not drink enough water on the return ride
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Old 06-27-23, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
I started low carb/keto because I got up to 305 pounds. Since the first of February I have lost 50 pounds. Itís working. My goal is to be indee 200 pounds-around 175-180.
I am not sure if I am actually doing keto-I may not be eating enough fats. I do keep my carbs under 20 most days.
Once the weight is gone I will be able to eat more fruits and vegetables and more carbs but I will still avoid sugar, etc.
I am mostly a casual rider. I donít race or do endurance. Once the fat is gone I may do longer rides or some fun or charity races, but for now I mainly ride around my neighborhood. There are a few trails nearby that I plan to ride. My speed will probably be 12-15 mph. I wonder if I will get faster as I get lighter weight?
almost certain you will get faster

should (eventually) be able to ride farther longer faster etc - and do it easier
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Old 06-28-23, 07:08 AM
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I average 30-40 miles per day, at as hard a pace as I can handle (I have some kind of mental issue which hates going slow). What I eat during the ride is less important than what I eat the day before. When I was a competitive rider, I would load up on carbs, fat, and protein, as much as I could hold down, eaten over the course of the day and evening. Loading up well the day before made a big difference in my strength and endurance during a tough ride. I usually have a light breakfast to keep my stomach busy, but not spend too much energy on digestion, get on my bike shortly afterward, have a soft drink with caffeine and sugar midway through the ride, and have a big lunch afterward. I started the year about 20 pounds overweight, I've lost about 5 pounds from my middle, but added muscle to my legs, which are starting to get too snug in tight jeans. I have some longer rides planned for the summer, and hope to get into good shape for the rest of the year.
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Old 06-28-23, 07:37 AM
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Most of my rides are 4-6 hours with 4-6K of climb. I ingest about 200 cals per hour to fuel my rides. Most of this is from fruit and oatmeal type bars, Probars and Bobo's bars. I'll add maple syrup and Clif shots as needed towards the end of a ride for a quick boost.

A couple of years ago I had a bad bonk on a 5K climb up into the San Gabriel Mtns that in retrospect could have been injurious. I am 6'2" 210 lbs so I am burning a lot of fuel climbing. I ride to finish the ride. I will also carry 80-100 oz of fluids if water stops are hard to find.
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Old 06-28-23, 07:44 AM
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If it is a really long ride, say over 10 hours, I am drinking my snacks (Skratch Superfuel). On a short ride under 3 hours, usually just water.

If I want a snack, I might stop for an ice cream or sometimes oreo cookies and a bottle of chocolate milk. Usually only eat half the cookies and save for another day.

If you need food on a 20-30 mile ride, you have a problem.
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Old 06-28-23, 07:55 AM
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I'm T2 and have been eating "keto" for 4+ years now.

Once you are truly fat adapted - after 3,4,5+ months of clean keto... then you add consistent cycling, you can ride 30+ miles without food - IF, and this is a big IF - if you keep in the fat burning range/level of exertion.

You need to stay well within Zone 2 / conversation pace levels of effort. Every time you go into higher levels of effort, you start to burn glucose. Hills, wind, catching the rider in front on the bike path - all can put you into glucose burning zone.

When eating keto, you have very little glucose in reserve and your body can only make so much from fat. If you go too hard - boom, bonk.

If I'm on flat ground, out for a easy ride - I can ride all day without food. This rarely happens, so I will add targeted amounts of carbs to avoid a bonk.

Before a planned hard ride I will add some carbs to the meals the day before, and consume small amounts of carbs during the ride - but typically only need about 1/4 the amount of carbs that are recommended by most cycling diet recommendations.

It took the better part of a year to figure this out - with many bonks during that time.
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Old 06-28-23, 07:58 AM
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My average ride is about 3 hours long. As long as I've had my oatmeal and a smoothie (OJ, Banana & Yogurt) before I leave I'm usually pretty good and don't "require" much else. I will occasionally pack half of a peanut butter sandwich which I will eat at a rest stop. With the abundance of convenience stores along our routes I'm never more than 15 minutes away from something if I feel it's needed.

I should ad that I'm never really pushing myself to the point of exhaustion, so additional nutrition on a ride isn't usually necessary. I try to drink as much water as I can stand when I get home and chow down after a shower.
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Old 06-28-23, 10:38 AM
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I've been intermittent fasting and eating relatively low carbs (no sugar for sure!) for a couple of years. I have no problem riding 30 or 40 miles with no food at all. Back when I was totally carb-dependent (i.e. not adapted to converting fat to ketones), breakfast was required before going for a ride but for short rides (20-30 miles) I had no need for additional food. Now that I'm adapted I can ride 40 to 50 miles without any food, no problem, as long as I don't do much maximum effort racing.
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Old 06-28-23, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by davester
I've been intermittent fasting and eating relatively low carbs (no sugar for sure!) for a couple of years. I have no problem riding 30 or 40 miles with no food at all. Back when I was totally carb-dependent (i.e. not adapted to converting fat to ketones), breakfast was required before going for a ride but for short rides (20-30 miles) I had no need for additional food. Now that I'm adapted I can ride 40 to 50 miles without any food, no problem, as long as I don't do much maximum effort racing.

This is what I wanted to hear. I am also intermittent fasting along with what itís called that Iím doing.
I wonít be going all out so I should be ok without taking food on a ride. I stay hydrated and will take plenty of water.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-28-23, 12:16 PM
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20-30 miles? I'll bring something to eat at the 1/2 way point. granola bar, protein bar or maybe even a snickers
shorter rides, nothing
longer rides more, often a nibble after an hour & then maybe every hour & if it's like 60 miles round trip, at 30 miles I'll have a sandwich
but I have ridden very long rides, just nibbling (2) PB&J sandwiches cut into 1/4s & that mostly was enough until after I finished the ride
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Old 06-28-23, 12:56 PM
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I usually ride 30 to 35 miles and almost never eat before or during a ride. But I don't generally eat during the day in any case so my pattern isn't really directly related to riding.
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Old 06-28-23, 01:15 PM
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I appreciate all of the replies. Doing keto makes some things complicated.
Itís bad enough that when I go to the gym and do 30 minutes on the stationary bike I get a little lightheaded. I am on bp meds and after exercise, or mowing in the heat, my bp gets low. My doctor said it getting low isnít a problem-as long as itís not zero.
I just really donít want to pass out riding. I am not familiar with riding 20+ miles but I have read references to eating granola bars, a banana, etc. while riding. I think I will build up to longer rodes and see how it goes. The extreme heat here will end this weekend so next week I will be out of the gym and on the road.
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Old 06-28-23, 01:53 PM
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For rides up to 2 to 2 1/2, I don't need to eat anything, just enough to drink.
Although at around that length, I like something other than water: sports drink, even iced tea or a Coke around the 1/2 to 3/4 point.
For rides longer than that, something to eat around the 1/2 to 3/4 point helps my energy for the end of the ride. Anything seems to work: protein bar, Snickers, etc.
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Old 06-28-23, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
I am on bp meds and after exercise, or mowing in the heat, my bp gets low. My doctor said it getting low isnít a problem-as long as itís not zero.
I just really donít want to pass out riding. I am not familiar with riding 20+ miles but I have read references to eating granola bars, a banana, etc. while riding. I think I will build up to longer rodes and see how it goes. The extreme heat here will end this weekend so next week I will be out of the gym and on the road.
IME the bigger problem with riding in heat is not needing a snack, it's keeping up with sweat losses. Drinking on a regular schedule (roughly a cup every 15 minutes), and making sure you replace salt along with water, is key to keeping the rubber down. A bit of lemonade mix makes ~1/4 t salt in a bottle of water palatable, or you can use any of hundreds of hydration drinks, powders, licks -- you name it. I can easily sweat 2 qts. of water per hour, but my gut can't absorb more than 1 quart in an hour, so I have to start drinking early and often!
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Old 06-28-23, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
IME the bigger problem with riding in heat is not needing a snack, it's keeping up with sweat losses. Drinking on a regular schedule (roughly a cup every 15 minutes), and making sure you replace salt along with water, is key to keeping the rubber down. A bit of lemonade mix makes ~1/4 t salt in a bottle of water palatable, or you can use any of hundreds of hydration drinks, powders, licks -- you name it. I can easily sweat 2 qts. of water per hour, but my gut can't absorb more than 1 quart in an hour, so I have to start drinking early and often!
i found that I really like lemon-lime Gatorade Zero. That should have enough salt. I will be taking water also. That is the best hydrator.
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