Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Best quick carbs for long rides?

Old 06-20-19, 03:27 PM
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AllWeatherJeff
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Best quick carbs for long rides?

After finishing my first Brevet (200k) I realized that packing 10-12hours worth of gels, jellies,bars, dates and bananas wasn't such a bright idea. Starting out with 2 pounds of food, not to mention the bulk of such a supply, is not on the agenda for the next ride.

Assuming that there are numerous places to stop and get food on a given brevet route, I'm curious to know what types of treats and extravagances long distance cyclists like to pick up along the way over the course of 200k+ rides.

Thanks!
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Old 06-20-19, 03:56 PM
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rhm
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A lot of successful long distance riders carry powdered nutrition that they mux with water and gradually work through as they ride. I have an irrational prejudice against that kind of thing, telling myself I'll eat "real food."

But the "real food" often turns out to be fast food burgers, French fries, chocolate milk, and (if I'm lucky) a root beer float somewhere along the way. It almost makes powdered biker crack sound appetizing. Almost.

It really depends on the specifics of the food available. I have learned (for example) that Rutter's has a bowl of chili that always hits the spot. Some Turkey Hill stores have whole milk chocolate milk, which is better than low-fat. Spicy V8 is better than regular V8 but either one may be just the thing. And so on. But don't listen to me, I only know what works for me, and I'm often wrong about that anyway. What works for me may have you puking into the bushes in ten minutes.
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Old 06-20-19, 04:03 PM
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Carrying a lot of food is definitely the frugal option. Some rides I can spend $15-$20 on food at stops, it adds up over a season. During the cooler months I'm fine with exclusively clif bars and the occasional canned coffee drink for long rides. When summer rolls around I have a hard time eating in the heat so I usually switch to gatorade/powerade, chocolate milk and some sort of gummy - usually off-brand gummy fish or clif shot bloks if they're on sale.
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Old 06-20-19, 04:07 PM
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AllWeatherJeff
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re: rhm*

Powdered energy. Blech! ( I like the dissolveable electrolyte tabs though)

Regarding fast food, a hamburger from a Sunoco hot box saved my life on a long ride once. It just felt like REAL food, and at some point when I realized that a bonk was on the way, my mind and body convinced me that a juicy burger was exactly what I needed. And it worked.

Most Dairy is out of the question b/c of lactose intolerance.

I'll definitely have to try V8. I used to drink a lot of those when I worked several bartending jobs. I'd forgotten how well those held me over until I got a chance to inhale a quick lunch.
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Old 06-20-19, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Carrying a lot of food is definitely the frugal option. Some rides I can spend $15-$20 on food at stops, it adds up over a season. During the cooler months I'm fine with exclusively clif bars and the occasional canned coffee drink for long rides. When summer rolls around I have a hard time eating in the heat so I usually switch to gatorade/powerade, chocolate milk and some sort of gummy - usually off-brand gummy fish or clif shot bloks if they're on sale.
Wow. Chocolate milk again.

I wish it was available more frequently in lactose free options.

You are like the sixth or seventh to suggest chocolate milk or dairy (I've got two suggestions last week of ice cream --soft serve or pint) Never would've occurred to me because I avoid dairy on rides-- my gut just doesn't do well with lactose anymore.

Maybe I'll bring some lactaid with me and give it a try.
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Old 06-20-19, 04:18 PM
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I'm a gummy/candy fan. Skittles, Airheads, and Mamba (same thing as Starburst) have saved my butt on a couple of occasions.

Similar question, though. I'm quickly learning that sugars and electrolytes are fine (for me) for a century and even a 200K, but I'll probably need something more for longer distances. Solid foods generally do not sit well when I'm riding, and I find all forms of dairy milk absolutely revolting. Are there other magical calorie sources that long distance folks find effective? Would trying some protein powder be a terrible idea?
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Old 06-20-19, 04:46 PM
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Start off properly fueled and then a minimum of one bottle of water an hour, (usually more), and one GUI Gel per hour does me fine no matter how long I ride up to a century.
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Old 06-20-19, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Are there other magical calorie sources that long distance folks find effective? Would trying some protein powder be a terrible idea?
Stand in your bathroom facing the mirror with the lights off and chant "MALTODEXTRIN MALTODEXTRIN MALTODEXTRIN" and you will summon Carbonfiberboy to this thread with a helpful suggestion.

Some of the more cosmopolitan gas stations I've been in have had chocolate almond milk or chocolate soy milk. Probably not very reliable though.
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Old 06-20-19, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Stand in your bathroom facing the mirror with the lights off and chant "MALTODEXTRIN MALTODEXTRIN MALTODEXTRIN" and you will summon Carbonfiberboy to this thread with a helpful suggestion.

Some of the more cosmopolitan gas stations I've been in have had chocolate almond milk or chocolate soy milk. Probably not very reliable though.
Ha, I actually might try this!

I thought about looking for soy milk, but then remembered that I'll be riding in dairy country (rural Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa) for the next few months. I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually illegal for Wisconsin gas stations to sell fake milk
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Old 06-20-19, 07:53 PM
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I don't drink milk on rides... I usually grab pepsi at a control and I take some kind of gummy candy with to eat between controls. If there is a grocery store near a control I will get some buns and fruit. There's a couple chains that have veggie burgers so I usually stop at one of them if it's convenient for a meal stop. I get gut-rot if I eat too much fatty foods so as good as french fries and the like smell I have to pass on 'em.
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Old 06-20-19, 08:09 PM
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No dairy products for me either. It's proper stops for real food for breakfast, lunch and dinner (typically at or near the controls). On the bike, and in between, there's candy, cereal bars, nuts, bread, and whatever light snacks I can find from convenience stores and petrol stations.

I carry a few energy gels with me but it's only for emergencies, or for some tough climb, or last push to a control or finish.
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Old 06-21-19, 12:16 AM
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Unfrosted Pop Tarts, pressed fruit bars, and Ensure on the bike worked well on my last 600k. McDonald's oatmeal was also good.

I focused on foods that were high in carbs but low in fat and protein because it seems to sit better with me.
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Old 06-21-19, 02:41 AM
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Are there no bananas or real sandwiches around where you guys ride? Many kinds of fruit work well. I bring or buy dried mangoes or raisins. Maybe I'm spoilt by the choice of food in convenience stores here in Japan.
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Old 06-21-19, 05:25 AM
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Honey and peanut butter sandwiches!
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Old 06-21-19, 05:46 AM
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I like these single serve gel packs:

https://www.nuttzo.com/

GU energy gel and Roctane Energy Gel are also popular choices:


Last edited by joesch; 06-21-19 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 06-21-19, 07:36 AM
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I like cereal bars too but the ones I like best have too much fibre in them to eat more than one or two a day. I get bananas if they are still kind of green but most corner stores here that have bananas only have ripe ones and I don't like 'em ripe. Prepared pineapple or cut watermelon from the grocery store is my favourite but a lot of our routes don't pass close enough to grocery stores.
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Old 06-21-19, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by brockd15 View Post
Unfrosted Pop Tarts, pressed fruit bars, and Ensure on the bike worked well on my last 600k.
What's ensure like on a ride? It certainly has that available-in-any-pharmacy convenience. Or did you mix it from powder?
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Old 06-21-19, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by WarrenR View Post
Honey and peanut butter sandwiches!
I set off on a century with a stack of PB&J with banana slices but found the peanut butter was just making them impossible to get down even with huge quantities of water. Have been doing turkey and cheese of late for training rides on the "real food" theory (and freezing them the night before) but might make up one or two jelly-only next time (and banana slices; can't forget the banana slices).

That said, the time I prepared for an early start but realized I'd hit the trail an hour later than I needed to and threw the sandwiches in the freezer and went back to bed for a few hours before heading to work instead, pulling half of one of those sandwiches out in subsequent days at home was amazing. The peanut butter issue was unique to mid-ride conditions, and frozen banana slices are something quite special.
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Old 06-21-19, 09:16 AM
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I'm always short of salt on longer rides, so a V8 or an order of french fries fills that need. Of course the V8 has almost zero carbs.

Most enjoyable carbs? Those prepared fruit pies, or turn-overs, with sugar glaze, especially cherry, or Snickers bars (a pretty good match, nutritionally, for "energy" bars).

Most effective? A small Subway sandwich of your choice, or a microwaved bowl of Campbell's chicken noodle soup, which also has LOTS of salt. And french fries or baked potato (from Wendy's).
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Old 06-21-19, 11:23 AM
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Dairy and I are not always friends, although on hot rides I will sometimes succumb to the lure of ice cream, and I can do hard cheese OK. (I fueled the NJ 600k in large part on hot cheddar-stuffed prezels, gatorade, and non-dairy-milk cold coffee drinks.)

One of my favorite things to pack along are daifuku and dorayaki, which are both carbs filled with sweet red bean paste. (Daifuku are covered in mochi, made from rice, and dorayaki are pancake sandwiches, basically.) I freeze them hard and then put them in my handlebar bag and they survive pretty well for a day or so.) I can't carry enough to be all my fuel (and I'd get tired of them if I did) but they're very different from what you can get in US gas stations so they're a nice change of pace both flavor-profile-wise and texture-wise, and they have a little bit of fiber and protein along with a pile o' carbs. I buy them from my local H-mart, which has a variety of flavors; I made dorayaki and red bean paste from scratch once, which was fun but time-consuming.
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Old 06-21-19, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Stand in your bathroom facing the mirror with the lights off and chant "MALTODEXTRIN MALTODEXTRIN MALTODEXTRIN" and you will summon Carbonfiberboy to this thread with a helpful suggestion.

Some of the more cosmopolitan gas stations I've been in have had chocolate almond milk or chocolate soy milk. Probably not very reliable though.
I'm a big fan of CFB's bike food. 7:1 by weight maltodextrin:Gold Standard Whey protein powder.

Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Carrying a lot of food is definitely the frugal option. Some rides I can spend $15-$20 on food at stops, it adds up over a season. During the cooler months I'm fine with exclusively clif bars and the occasional canned coffee drink for long rides. When summer rolls around I have a hard time eating in the heat so I usually switch to gatorade/powerade, chocolate milk and some sort of gummy - usually off-brand gummy fish or clif shot bloks if they're on sale.
I forgot my wallet on a 600k last weekend and had to borrow money from a couple other riders at the first control. Ended up riding the whole 600k on under $20 including 12 timed controls where I had to get a receipt. Survived almost exclusively on bike food and gatorade powder that I carried with me on the bike.
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Old 06-21-19, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
What's ensure like on a ride? It certainly has that available-in-any-pharmacy convenience. Or did you mix it from powder?
I used the vanilla Ensure Plus bottles that are ~350 calories.
I had never had them before but they're really good. The hardest part was not chugging the whole bottle, instead trying to spread it out over 30 minutes or an hour. It was a really easy way to bring up my calorie intake.
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Old 06-21-19, 05:50 PM
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I'm trying to figure out what to eat on longer rides myself. I usually bonk on 50 + rides with no foods. I might try fig newtons, next ride. I tried Peanut butter, but have to drink too much water. This article says 30 - 60 g of carbohydrates per hour:

https://www.bicycling.com/training/a...-every-length/

Does that mean just the carbs in the food, or total food wieght?
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Old 06-21-19, 09:43 PM
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Starting out with 2 pounds of food, not to mention the bulk of such a supply, is not on the agenda for the next ride.
I assume you are just being silly. Two pounds of carbohydrate could fuel a person for several days. And that's assuming there a mix of simple/complex carbohydrates.

Anyway - your post makes you sound like you are seriously deficient in basic nutritional information.

Unless you are attempting to compete - anyone - and I mean "anyone" can complete a 200k in a favorable time using "normal" food. You may want to reconsider why you would think carrying some sugary snacks on a ride is such a terrible load.

Why not just eat what you want?
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Old 06-21-19, 10:19 PM
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If he was carrying pure carbohydrate, 907 grams is only 3600 calories. Hardly enough for several days. 4 calories a gram, remember.

As he stated "food" and gave examples, we can expect that number to be lower as even the most compact bicycle food has a water content that contributes to weight but not caloric density. Forget about whole fruits added to the mix. Two pounds of the food variety he stated would probably be around 2500 calories, maybe a little less. Certainly right in the realm for a 10-12 hour ride.

A single Clif bar in the wrapper weighs 2.5 ounces, 13 bars would weigh a little more than 2 pounds. I carried as many (and ate them all) my first 300k, still needed additional nutrition along the way and ended up consuming around 3000 calories over the ride. I carried and ate 8 on my first 200k.

Last edited by Spoonrobot; 06-21-19 at 10:25 PM.
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