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Nutrition before riding

Old 12-21-23, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Nobody is saying to do all Zone 2 rides. But at least one of the popular gurus is advocating almost all Zone 2, and that doesn't seem to have much support in the exercise physiology literature.

Even if the main goal is simply to lose body fat, it seems reasonable that training muscles to become better at burning fat is a good thing. Since much of that adaptation happens with increased mitochondrial function, which is induced by higher exercise intensity, it makes sense to do some higher intensity. Even for weight loss.

"The results of cross-sectional studies, as well as training studies involving rats and humans, suggest that training intensity may be an important determinant of improvements in mitochondrial function[.]"
-- Bishop et al, Can we optimise the exercise training prescription to maximise improvements in mitochondria function and content?, 2014

Actually increasing the amount of mitochondria is another "good thing", and that appears to increase with prolonged endurance training. But it doesn't do much to increase function. That requires harder training.
That guru isn't advocating all zone 2. (nor is he selling any products, so no kool aid drinking)

He is advocating the same 80/20 split that most people advocate.

His advice is fairly simple - when you do zone 2, stay in zone 2. But he absolutely calls for intensity, just like everyone else.

He specializes in mitochondrial research - that's been his life's work. Not just for exercise, his studies cover all sorts of health issues and diseases. And he uses his studies to bolster his training system for pro cyclists. Notably team UAE and Tadej...


Anyhow, my point to the OP about Z2 was in response to his low carb eating and energy issues. If you are going to eat low carb, you pretty much have to do most of your riding in zone 2 or lower, or supplement with carbs to support the efforts above Z2. And since his heart rate was near his max - he was not in zone 2 and was absolutely burning carbs for energy.

Last edited by Jughed; 12-21-23 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 12-21-23, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
I did a screen capture from the map my ride app showing the elevation changes. It looks like an ecg of a heartcattack!😄
If you're trying to follow some version of the currently popular 20% hard/80% easy plan, hilly terrain is great for doing the hard 20%. (Don't attempt to maintain a hard effort---or much of an effort at all---on the downhill portions of the ride, by the way; use them to recover from the hard efforts.)

Hilly terrain is much trickier for Zone 2 rides, though. You've been (comparatively) loafing along for a while, and here comes a hill. Surely it can't hurt to push at your usual climbing effort. So you dial it up a bit.

Will it hurt your overall progress toward your fitness goal? Maybe, maybe not. But if your hard days (the "20%" days, which don't seem to get discussed much in these threads for some reason) are truly hard, it'll at least feel good to ease off on the Zone 2 days.

I remember reading an interview with one of the top Ironman triathletes back in the 1980s, long before anyone was talking about the 80%/20% approach to training, where he said that he restarted his training in early spring each year while monitoring his heart rate, never exceeding 155 bpm. (He was around 25 years old or thereabouts, so you can ignore that number with regard to your heart rate.)

He said that he often trained with another guy in the mountains in Colorado. For the first month of that spring training, he would be climbing at 155 bpm, and his friend would be pushing harder. By the top, he'd finish 5 minutes after the other guy. But after that, as time went on, he'd still be maintaining 155 bpm, but he'd finish the climb 5 minutes before his friend.

Another quote regarding effort levels on different days: a cycling coach, asked what about common mistakes made by self-coached cyclists, said "Your hard days aren't hard enough, and your easy days aren't easy enough."

Of course, there's always the chance that you'll get passed by another cyclist while you're conscientiously riding along in Zone 2. You'll then probably see a Bike Forums post boasting about it.
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Old 12-21-23, 10:03 AM
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pepperbelly You said you calculated your maxHR. There really isn't any reason to calculate or even use maxHR. I'd highly recommend that you use LTHR (lactate threshold heart rate) Here is a simple way to get a close enough estimate of it... https://www.trainingpeaks.com/learn/...setting-zones/
If you have a PM, then you can also set your FTP zones based on power from that.

The maxHR calculation is useless for anyone that is actively exercising. Most of us, even those of us that didn't train all our live but had a reasonably active life, have a maxHR well above what that formula gives. And unless you have a known heart problem and have been cautioned by a heart doctor not to go over a certain HR, then running your heart at max is no issue whatsoever. Unless perhaps you don't hydrate well while riding.

You do drink from your bottles regularly while you ride don't you?
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Old 12-21-23, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
pepperbelly You said you calculated your maxHR. There really isn't any reason to calculate or even use maxHR. I'd highly recommend that you use LTHR (lactate threshold heart rate) Here is a simple way to get a close enough estimate of it... https://www.trainingpeaks.com/learn/...setting-zones/
If you have a PM, then you can also set your FTP zones based on power from that.

The maxHR calculation is useless for anyone that is actively exercising. Most of us, even those of us that didn't train all our live but had a reasonably active life, have a maxHR well above what that formula gives. And unless you have a known heart problem and have been cautioned by a heart doctor not to go over a certain HR, then running your heart at max is no issue whatsoever. Unless perhaps you don't hydrate well while riding.

You do drink from your bottles regularly while you ride don't you?
I stay hydrated. I drink water before , during and after exercise.
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Old 12-21-23, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
Anyhow, my point to the OP about Z2 was in response to his low carb eating and energy issues. If you are going to eat low carb, you pretty much have to do most of your riding in zone 2 or lower, or supplement with carbs to support the efforts above Z2.
Yeah, that is good advice. Even if you're completely carbohydrate restricted, you can still exercise at about 70% of VO2max. But it will be quite difficult, and what's the point of making exercise harder than it needs to be? Unless you're training your tolerance for suffering.
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Old 12-21-23, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Yeah, that is good advice. Even if you're completely carbohydrate restricted, you can still exercise at about 70% of VO2max. But it will be quite difficult, and what's the point of making exercise harder than it needs to be? Unless you're training your tolerance for suffering.
I'm carb restricted/keto going on 4+ years now. (I don't tolerate carbs, T2, carbs send or used to send my blood sugars into the stratosphere). I can tolerate some carbs now, but if I went back to eating a moderate carb diet, the problems would return. So, I use them sparingly.

After 4 years of being fat adapted I can put in some serious work on the bike with limited or no carbs. Am I hampered a bit? I think so. When I do eat some carbs for a hard workout the power seems to just flow out of my legs easier. Usually, 15-20 watts more on the higher ends, but my Z2 low Z3 stays the same. I can complete full on FTP interval workouts without supplementing any carbs, even VO2 max workouts can be done. Recovery is where I see most of the issues - fatigue, muscle soreness.

But back when I started all of this, like the OP's situation, efforts or hard rides would flat blow me up. It takes a long time to become completely fat adapted, longer yet to be comfortable riding the bike. Bad days can happen fairly often in the beginning. And people eating low carb, not going into full ketosis, may never become fat adapted.
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Old 12-21-23, 12:13 PM
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Man exercise has become complicated and technical.
I think for now I will get my saddle adjusted and just ride. Trying to figure out all that and plan rides around it will give me tired head!

I sorta have been following keto guidelines but I am not comfortable eating the amount of fat that calls for. I got my cholesterol and triglycerides down to very good levels.
I am going to add some carbs like apples, oranges and bananas and some veggies like beans and corn- in small amounts. I will still avoid regular bread, but I really like Sola keto bread so it isn’t that rough. I am still going to avoid rice and potatoes- too much starch. I also avoid fried breaded foods. I don’t eat sugar or junk foods.
I want to add healthy carbs.
After a lifetime of eating junk it’s just going to take me a little time, but I’m getting there.
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Old 12-21-23, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
Man exercise has become complicated and technical.
I think for now I will get my saddle adjusted and just ride. Trying to figure out all that and plan rides around it will give me tired head!

I sorta have been following keto guidelines but I am not comfortable eating the amount of fat that calls for. I got my cholesterol and triglycerides down to very good levels.
I am going to add some carbs like apples, oranges and bananas and some veggies like beans and corn- in small amounts. I will still avoid regular bread, but I really like Sola keto bread so it isn’t that rough. I am still going to avoid rice and potatoes- too much starch. I also avoid fried breaded foods. I don’t eat sugar or junk foods.
I want to add healthy carbs.
After a lifetime of eating junk it’s just going to take me a little time, but I’m getting there.
OK. Lets simplify.
1) Get a good bike fit for sure.
2) Start out with relatively slow rides that don't peak your heart rate but still make you fell like you are doing some work. Get those rides to a minimum time of an hour without killing yourself and while still enjoying the rides.
3) Once you do an hour+ fairly comfortably, Do every 3rd or 4th ride extra hard on the last half. Go hard uphill. Rest on the downhills.

I think if you do this for a few months you'll feel better and feel your body adapting. Then you can go guru shopping if you so desire.
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Old 12-21-23, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
I was honestly hoping for bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers. 😎
Why not!
Don’t forget to fill the jalapeño with some cream cheese.
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Old 12-21-23, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
Why not!
Don’t forget to fill the jalapeño with some cream cheese.
They actually make jalapeño cream cheese.
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Old 12-21-23, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
They actually make jalapeño cream cheese.
Perfect, my favorite.
As long as one doesn’t go overboard, little occasional deviations from ideal aren’t going to harm - it’s my personally tested hypothesis over many decades.
I[ have never tried keto diet and probably never will, it seems too abusive to human body. But it seems that it works for those who have been abusing bodies for decades.]
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Old 12-21-23, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
I'm carb restricted/keto going on 4+ years now. (I don't tolerate carbs, T2, carbs send or used to send my blood sugars into the stratosphere). I can tolerate some carbs now, but if I went back to eating a moderate carb diet, the problems would return. So, I use them sparingly.

After 4 years of being fat adapted I can put in some serious work on the bike with limited or no carbs. Am I hampered a bit? I think so. When I do eat some carbs for a hard workout the power seems to just flow out of my legs easier. Usually, 15-20 watts more on the higher ends, but my Z2 low Z3 stays the same. I can complete full on FTP interval workouts without supplementing any carbs, even VO2 max workouts can be done. Recovery is where I see most of the issues - fatigue, muscle soreness.

But back when I started all of this, like the OP's situation, efforts or hard rides would flat blow me up. It takes a long time to become completely fat adapted, longer yet to be comfortable riding the bike. Bad days can happen fairly often in the beginning. And people eating low carb, not going into full ketosis, may never become fat adapted.
A good combination is about half the calories coming from complex carbohydrates, 15-20% from proteins and the rest from fat.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to get digested, helping avoid high transient blood sugar levels (important for diabetics and pre-diabetics).
Cutting carbs out of your diet for years is very likely to change the balance of gut bacteria, which ends up causing its own issues… something that can be easily avoided.
In a ride that is 40 mikes long or less, I never felt the need of taking any food until the last year when on a particularly warm day, by the time I got home, I felt unusually exhausted. I checked my blood pressure and blood glucose, BP was fine but glucose level was significantly lower than normal. Now I bring an apple with me and eat it at midway point, drink water, refill my bottle(s) for the return trip and I do quite well. Perhaps one could add beef jerkies (or plant-based alternative, if there is such a thing) for longer runs.
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Old 12-21-23, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
Perfect, my favorite.
As long as one doesn’t go overboard, little occasional deviations from ideal aren’t going to harm - it’s my personally tested hypothesis over many decades.
I[ have never tried keto diet and probably never will, it seems too abusive to human body. But it seems that it works for those who have been abusing bodies for decades.]
My brother is doing keto but they requires too much fat for me to be comfortable.
I think removing sugar and soft drinks and sweets and junk food etc. may have made ne lise weight as much as the low carb.
I have been staying, or trying to say, under 20g of carbs since the first of February. I have really missed apples and oranges and bananas. Those should help with energy levels. I think as long as I eat healthy carbs I should be ok.
I started this thread hoping something like a banana was a favorite pre ride snack just to boost the few carbs I eat.
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Old 12-21-23, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay Turberville
OK. Lets simplify.
1) Get a good bike fit for sure.
2) Start out with relatively slow rides that don't peak your heart rate but still make you fell like you are doing some work. Get those rides to a minimum time of an hour without killing yourself and while still enjoying the rides.
3) Once you do an hour+ fairly comfortably, Do every 3rd or 4th ride extra hard on the last half. Go hard uphill. Rest on the downhills.

I think if you do this for a few months you'll feel better and feel your body adapting. Then you can go guru shopping if you so desire.
One of my biggest problems is that I get bored and stop, not because I get tired.
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Old 12-21-23, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
Perfect, my favorite.
As long as one doesn’t go overboard, little occasional deviations from ideal aren’t going to harm - it’s my personally tested hypothesis over many decades.
I[ have never tried keto diet and probably never will, it seems too abusive to human body. But it seems that it works for those who have been abusing bodies for decades.]
Another favorite snack is roasted jalapeños.
I take 2 or 3 fresh peppers, lightly coat them with olive oil and put them in my air fryer for 12 minutes at 400*.
I really like peppers. I also put several Trappey’s jalapeño slices on a zero carb street taco size tortilla and roll them up and eat.
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Old 12-21-23, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
I don't intentionally eat anything prior to a ride. I do try to ensure I have drank a glass of water or other hydration just prior. Sometimes just downing a 12 - 14 fluid ounces water immediately before going out the door. My body has everything it needs to start out and I supplement the fuel requirements with carbohydrates during the ride. I tend to side with the articles that claim carb loading prior to a ride is bunk. Certainly if you exercise at anaerobic levels every day, then you need to stay on top of your carb's. But that really isn't carb loading. That's replacing enough of the lost glycogen to be at your max for the next day. If you are going a day or so between rides, you'll have repleted your lost glycogen quick enough and binging on carb's will be for naught.
As a very fit racer, I did the whole carbo loading routine a couple of times. One time stood out as amazing. In 100+ miles I ate a sandwich and a banana. 2 WBs of ERG (now called Vitalyte). I was a Cat 3 riding with mostly Cat 1 and 2 and quite a few French Canadian riders. Despite riding a less than bright race (going away in a small break for a halfway prime and later dropping my chain twice on hills), I finished in the money, one of the 30 to finish 10 minutes ahead of the field and under the old course record. Oh, race winning speed (2 man break 2 minutes ahead of the rest of the first group) was 27.2 mph in probably 5000' of climbing in back country Maine. Not a slow race for 1977 on dinosaur bikes.

Now, to do this, I did a hard 120 miler the Sunday before, then dragged my tired body around my 45 mile training loop the next three days while eating almost no carbs before the rest and carbo feast. Went just fruit and water the final 24 hours to race time. Then rode like I've never seen this body do before or since.

Carbo loading done right works; really well. Now where to find good guidance on how to do it? Sorry, my memory there was erased 3 months later by my head injury.
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Old 12-21-23, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
They actually make jalapeño cream cheese.


after a ride - our fav appetizer at one of our fav spots:

Trails to Ales

Cheddar bacon trail bites

breaded cheese bites filled with cream cheese, cheddar, bacon, and jalapeño

incredible

and the beer selection awesome
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Old 12-21-23, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
One of my biggest problems is that I get bored and stop, not because I get tired.
maybe find some different spots to ride ?

we mix it up - never get bored … not even close
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Old 12-21-23, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by t2p
maybe find some different spots to ride ?

we mix it up - never get bored … not even close
I just found this trail around the lake. The constant elevation changes areca real drag. I’m going to hit the Trinity River trail when the weather improves. There is another trail near me I will be trying soon.
I also need to get ny mind to accept 1-2 hours rides and longer. I have never ridden that far and it’s a little out of my comfort zone. It will be fine once I ride 20+ miles. I think my problems are mental as much as physical. If I ride a short trail like the 6 miles around the lake I can always simply stop and go home. I need to just go further.
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Old 12-21-23, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
One of my biggest problems is that I get bored and stop, not because I get tired.
If cycling bores you, then the smart thing might be to find a different sport/activity. That or maybe start riding different places or with friends or in groups. If cycling bored me, I'd eventually stop.
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Old 12-21-23, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay Turberville
If cycling bores you, then the smart thing might be to find a different sport/activity. That or maybe start riding different places or with friends or in groups. If cycling bored me, I'd eventually stop.
Cycling doesn’t bore me. I probably didn’t say that right. I do need to find new scenery and I would love to group ride.
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Old 12-22-23, 04:46 AM
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Just eat whatever agrees with you and makes you feel good. No need for any special cycling specific nutrition nonsense.
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Old 12-22-23, 06:21 AM
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Looks like your ride loop would be a great power hike loop go do it 2x a couple times a week. Shoot for a 16-18 minute per mile pace.
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Old 12-22-23, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
No one needs three eggs at once. Eggs are a protein source, not what is usually thought of as energy food. You should be able to do 12 miles on nothing. That you cannot (yet) is not an indication that you need to do anything other than keeping at it. I like to keep bottles of 'Boost' nutritional drink on hand. The 'High Protein' (green highlight) formula is 20gm per serving and 240C. That's energy. And it doesn't take 2 hours for it to hit you. Bacon wrapped ... ... tsk tsk. That ____ is dead to you now. Become familiar with the "Mediterranean Diet". Allow some carbs at breakfast, lunch, maybe, but none at dinner. Invest in an Elliptical Machine and/or Concept 2 Rower. The cardio from anything less than 30 miles of hard cycling is negligible. You need a reliable handy source of cardio that you can pound away on without worrying about off leash dogs or loose gravel.
late to the thread but this post was pretty much total ....

You are getting tired simply because you are not used to that amount of work ... the only solution is keeping at it.

I can guarantee that even if you don't eat, you can do 12 miles ... you might have to work a little, but frankly, it is the work that you need.

As @Leisesturm notes ... you need some sustained amount of aerobic exercise (I have heard 45 minutes gets most people a multi-hour metabolic boost, and less than 15 minutes is worthless) ... and that is true aerobic exercise, where you are breathing a little hard but not panting. Riding at a walking level of energy is about as good as walking ... better than couch-surfing, but forget making much improvement... more a maintenance thing.

Just Keep Riding. When you get tired, you are succeeding ... when you keep riding while tired (up until the point you injure yourself of course) you are making good progress.

You can buy chemicals which will magically melt away pounds, or which claim to ... whether they work and what harm they might also do .... I am not interested. if you want to work off excess weight, you need to actually work. it will not be fun immediately .... though you might get satisfaction knowing you are attacking the negatives .... but after several weeks of effort (with Rest Days and recovery rides, please) the satisfaction levels will rise, even if your body still complains a little.

Stick with it ... hit or miss is a miss .... not bad to do but it won't get you where you want to be ..... get regular and steady and in a couple months you will be eager to get out there and work.
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Old 12-22-23, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
As a very fit racer, I did the whole carbo loading routine a couple of times. One time stood out as amazing. In 100+ miles I ate a sandwich and a banana. 2 WBs of ERG (now called Vitalyte). I was a Cat 3 riding with mostly Cat 1 and 2 and quite a few French Canadian riders. Despite riding a less than bright race (going away in a small break for a halfway prime and later dropping my chain twice on hills), I finished in the money, one of the 30 to finish 10 minutes ahead of the field and under the old course record. Oh, race winning speed (2 man break 2 minutes ahead of the rest of the first group) was 27.2 mph in probably 5000' of climbing in back country Maine. Not a slow race for 1977 on dinosaur bikes.

Now, to do this, I did a hard 120 miler the Sunday before, then dragged my tired body around my 45 mile training loop the next three days while eating almost no carbs before the rest and carbo feast. Went just fruit and water the final 24 hours to race time. Then rode like I've never seen this body do before or since.


Carbo loading done right works; really well. Now where to find good guidance on how to do it? Sorry, my memory there was erased 3 months later by my head injury.
The OP isn't doing a race. Neither am I. For the average person riding a bike, whether carb loading is or isn't a thing, it's totally unnecessary.

So only once out of all your experiences something that you call carb loading seemed to work for you. That doesn't quite even begin to justify that it's a thing. Nor does any sane person that is not riding as a athlete in competitions going to maintain such a diet a you describe prior to every ride they do.

I routinely go out on rides of less than 2 hours with out consideration of whether I've eaten or not. And I do fine and am able to perform at the level I wish to perform at. For longer rides I might make certain I eat something and sure there are carbs with it. But with the carb's I put in my bottles, I steadily replace as much of any glycogen lost during my hard efforts on the ride as my body is able to during the ride.

With the glycogen you'd been losing on the rides the prior days, your body was in a deficit and needed the extra carb's prior to your big race.

Congrat's for placing well. I'm envious of all of you that got into bike racing early in life. I didn't grow up where that sort of cycling was a thing. I would have enjoyed that in my younger days.

Last edited by Iride01; 12-22-23 at 09:23 AM.
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