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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

First 200k (first century too)

Old 08-31-19, 12:21 PM
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Tulok
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First 200k (first century too)

Tomorrow morning Iím doing my 1st century and 200k in one. Unsupported. Iíve done each part of the route except for one bit (which I did by car 2 weeks ago).


The question I have is: how many calories can my body actually uptake from food per hour? Iíve read ~300 and Iíve read 1200... Iím tentatively planning on 300/hour and 1L of liquid/hour.. What works for you?
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Old 08-31-19, 12:34 PM
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I've heard the 200-300 calories/hour figure bandied about a few places. 1200cal/hour seems ridiculous, either it's a lot of food of food or it's something really greasy which doesn't work for me on brevets. For liquid I've seen 0.5 to 0.8L per hour. I personally try not to drink more than a bottle (0.7L) an hour regardless of how much I'm sweating... seems to work well for me. Sometimes I eat a bigger meal at controls and don't eat between controls; other times I'll have a bunch of candy and stuff to graze on for most of the ride and only have one stop that I eat a meal; depends how I feel. I guess it's good to have some food with you but also good to eat when something appeals to you at a stop. I also like to have a plan to eat something when I'm done the ride, if I drive I'll often bring a cooler and have a nice sandwich and cold drinks waiting for me... or a restaurant option that suits me.
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Old 08-31-19, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher View Post
I've heard the 200-300 calories/hour figure bandied about a few places. 1200cal/hour seems ridiculous, either it's a lot of food of food or it's something really greasy which doesn't work for me on brevets
Thank you for the insight. I was thinking that what Iíd have to eat to be at 1200Calories would be something pretty bad for me.

I think Iím on the right track, being reasonable and normal is somewhat the key. 😆
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Old 08-31-19, 01:06 PM
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I've found that 250-300kcal/hr is pretty good for the first 3-4 hours. I tend to increase after that. Drink as much as you need whenever you need, but absolutely plan your food stops. I try to take in food every hour (if there's a good amount of climbing) or twenty miles (if it's relatively flat.) The first two food stops are often tough, because I'm usually not hungry yet-- but if you skip a stop, you can never make it back up, and you'll turn the last 20 (or more) miles into misery. During a double metric, you can eat most anything you want after mile 80 or so, I usually go for a full meal around then as 3/4 of the ride is done and I should be mostly fueled by then-- enough to finish the ride, so the eating then is so that I don't try to devour everything in sight when the ride is over.

Clif Bars or fig bars are good for the first two or three stops. I start looking for more straight carbs (sugar) after that. I did 140 miles two weeks ago, and my food timing/intake worked out really well. Mile 80 was an Icee and an order of french fries, so what you eat matters a whole lot less than when you eat it. Mile 125 I ate two Milky Way bars. At any mileage past 100, anything ice cream is a revelation. A cone from the RiteAid, a Drumstick from a convenience store, a scoop of gelato from a place on the boardwalk. It's magical. Ice cream is sugar + fat + salt, and we love all of those things.
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Old 08-31-19, 09:19 PM
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How much you eat depends on how much you burn, i.e. how heavy you are and how high an effort you can sustain for that time. That said, anywhere between 125 and 250 cal/hour is the usual rando diet. The main thing IMO is to eat when you start to feel a little hungry. I don't go for the eat before you're hungry thing. That's a good way to overload your gut and do the technicolor yawn. I never eat a meal, mostly stuff from my jersey pockets and quick to eat stuff from convenience stores. I always have several hundred calories on me. I dribble the carbs in, a little at a time, but steadily. That said, the rando rule is that if you're feeling bad, discouraged, unhappy, whatever like that, you need to eat. That's the first thing you do. Worry about the rest later.
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Old 08-31-19, 09:55 PM
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Question I have, is what have you been eating on your prior long rides? A 200k isn't long enough that you really need to drastically change what you're doing compared to a 75 mile ride.

how many calories can my body actually uptake from food per hour?
You don't really know until you get out there. If I'm riding at my own pace I feel better and perform a lot better on 120 calories an hour than higher amounts. 300/hr leaves me bloated, lethargic and unable to really process water.
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Old 08-31-19, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Question I have, is what have you been eating on your prior long rides? A 200k isn't long enough that you really need to drastically change what you're doing compared to a 75 mile ride.



You don't really know until you get out there. If I'm riding at my own pace I feel better and perform a lot better on 120 calories an hour than higher amounts. 300/hr leaves me bloated, lethargic and unable to really process water.
My last 70 mile ride I had Oreos, mangos started to sip an energy drink 1/2 way and it lasted me til the end. Plus about 1L/hour of water. It was 103 by the time I was finished. I felt completely fine after that ride and wasnít even sore the next day.

But, I realize now that those are empty calories. So I want to make sure Iím eating healthy for the long run. I am training for the 508 and 24hr time trials as my ultimate goal. I had noticed in the past that if all I eat on my rides is junk, eventually I wouldnít go any faster despite trying to train harder.

So for tomorrow Iíve added real fruit salad, about 100 Calories worth. And substituted Oreos for ďrealĒ strawberry Newton bars. I have mangos still (chili mangos), I also added 2 bananas (I eat them sometimes on other rides and often at home. 2 Powerades, one with added pink Himalayan salt. And some pure Glucose little candy things. I also have a couple of dry granola bars that Iíll eat for Lunch if I feel like I want a lunch. They suck to eat while riding and I almost choke on the crumbs. So theyíre more of a stomach tamer if it gets acidic. But I very rarely ever get stomach issues.
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Old 09-01-19, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulok View Post



My last 70 mile ride I had Oreos, mangos started to sip an energy drink 1/2 way and it lasted me til the end. Plus about 1L/hour of water. It was 103 by the time I was finished. I felt completely fine after that ride and wasnít even sore the next day.

But, I realize now that those are empty calories. So I want to make sure Iím eating healthy for the long run. I am training for the 508 and 24hr time trials as my ultimate goal. I had noticed in the past that if all I eat on my rides is junk, eventually I wouldnít go any faster despite trying to train harder.

So for tomorrow Iíve added real fruit salad, about 100 Calories worth. And substituted Oreos for ďrealĒ strawberry Newton bars. I have mangos still (chili mangos), I also added 2 bananas (I eat them sometimes on other rides and often at home. 2 Powerades, one with added pink Himalayan salt. And some pure Glucose little candy things. I also have a couple of dry granola bars that Iíll eat for Lunch if I feel like I want a lunch. They suck to eat while riding and I almost choke on the crumbs. So theyíre more of a stomach tamer if it gets acidic. But I very rarely ever get stomach issues.
I've settled on Skittles and "Bold" (i.e. extra MSG) Chex Mix as the perfect sweet and salty things to bring on brevets. One is pure sugar that goes straight into your bloodstream; the other is salty carbs that take longer to digest. Both have been chemically engineered to be delicious, which helps if you're feeling nauseous or just not hungry.
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Old 09-01-19, 07:28 AM
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It sounds like you're reasonably well sorted (although chili mango sounds like a gamble to me), hope your ride is going well. In the interest of further reading on the subject, here is a blog post you may find interesting: Kent's Bike Blog: What Long Distance Cyclists Really Eat
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Old 09-01-19, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by samkl View Post
I've settled on Skittles and "Bold" (i.e. extra MSG) Chex Mix as the perfect sweet and salty things to bring on brevets. One is pure sugar that goes straight into your bloodstream; the other is salty carbs that take longer to digest. Both have been chemically engineered to be delicious, which helps if you're feeling nauseous or just not hungry.
Interesting. I was wondering if Skittles were good for longer rides. Now, I know! Thanks.
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Old 09-01-19, 01:02 PM
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Hopefully you're halfway through the ride, and will report back soon.

According to STRAVA, I'm burning somewhere between 3000 and 5000 calories on a long ride.

I don't have any set feeding, calories per hour, etc. But, a good meal can be rejuvenating. I do like to stop every 40 or 50 miles for a short snack, refill water, etc.

I do find myself eating anything in sight. I don't pace by calories per hour, but could easily eat a good 1000 calorie+ meal. More?

I do like things like cookies... carbs, sugars, some fiber, etc.
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Old 09-01-19, 04:18 PM
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Dried mango with chili sounds like a pretty bizarre idea, but it's great. I get it at Trader Joe's. The spicyness really hits the spot, well, sometimes anyway.

I really like black licorice. That's one of those flavors that most people either love or loathe. I usually have some in my stash.

I also try to carry a small supply of salami and cheese sandwiches, preferably with mustard.

And a couple cans of V8, preferably the spicy variety.

If I have all those things in my bag, I'm usually pretty well set. But carrying it isn't enough; I also have to remember to consume it. That's especially hard to do in the first 100km of a ride, since I can easily go that far without eating anything. If I'm only planning to go 100 km or a little more, that's not a problem. On longer rides, I really need to start eating pretty early.

I'm not sure what's the best thing to eat on a long ride. I have rarely (if ever) got myself into trouble by eating the wrong thing, but I have definitely had trouble when I forgot to eat for too long. So the important thing is to have something that appeals to me at any given time.
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Old 09-01-19, 07:20 PM
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I've never tried to map out my food consumption on a brevet, but I really ought to. I have a bad habit of riding a few hours feeling good before I think to eat, and then it's a struggle to catch up.
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Old 09-01-19, 07:22 PM
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Thanks for all of the awesome replies.

Todays ride was a bust! BUT I felt absolutely great!



I got on the bike just after 5AM with a hash brown ďburgerĒ in my stomach. I went over to the Meetup point, about an hour away. By then I consumed about 1L of water (too much I had to pre at hour 2). By hour 2, I felt nothing! I felt great.

I kept eating every 15 minutes, some little glucose candy, about 25 Calories of that every 15. Then around hour 2.5-3 I was getting into the mangoes etc. anyways, I maintained probably about 350Cal/hour. I also drank my powerades according to schedule with an average consumption of about 1L per hour.

At i I would estimate mile 50, my friend bonked. But he had just eaten about 15 minutes before so I suggested we slow down to a crawl until he felt better. He ate some of my candy and drank some extra water. In about 15 more minutes he was up to a pretty good speed and we maintained about 24mph along a flat nice bit of highway for 12 miles. It was a slight downhill average and occasionally a tailwind. So weíre cruising along. I felt like I was doing 30% effort. He later told me he was on the verge of blowing up any second.

We got to a nice gas station market we like and he decided to load up on all sorts of food. Gorged himself a little! Haha. We hung out for about 25 minutes and when we hit the road, the good times lasted about 45 minutes and he was DONE. It was now 102 outside, the time passed quickly due to the initial bonk and the sit down to recover.

The temps kept kept climbing up and up to 106 as we did ~8mph for the next 25 or so miles. Some nice 2-3% downhill grades at 13, some headwind uphills at 5mph. I suggested we rest under a shady tree as he was really not looking good. And after 15-20 minutes under the tree, chugging down some more water, he was perked up and we continued. For a little while.

He was very very far gone. I kept eating my food 15 mins/30/mins averaging a mixture of carb types with a little fat/protein in some of the items. And 1L of water per hour.

We decided to end the ride at mile 92.6 for me and 79 for him. Iím not sure exactly why he bonked so hard because he was still eating 1-2 hours before the bonk. But, the point here is that when we stopped, I was more than ready to knock out another 50. And here at the end of the day, Iím only in a little pain due to sunburn and just being on a bike that long, resting on the seat.

Where we rode:

Lancaster, CA to Lake Hughes, CA, to N2 (old ridge route) to Quail lake. To Neenach, CA to Antelope Acres, CA to Quartz Hill, CA.

Iím going to do a variation of the ride again but Iím going to turn around at the summit of N2, then turn around and ride back down, and take a different road to Neenach. The road we took, CA-138 was absolutely garbage for cycling. People were doing 30+ mph over the speed limit and just not paying attention. We got passed by a truck hauling a trailer at 65mph, who was being passed by an SUV. Luckily we saw the carnage coming and swerved off the shoulder. 😐

Iím glad the nutrition worked. I know we could have ended up averaging 18mph, had the bonk not happened. Iím going to copy this same formula for another long ride later this month and I believe it will work again.

Last edited by Tulok; 09-01-19 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 09-01-19, 09:32 PM
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Old 09-01-19, 10:28 PM
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Good report and pics. Sucks you didn't finish but can't really go wrong with still getting 93 miles. Experience for your next long ride for sure.

Issue with your friend sounds more like a blood sugar/over indulgence issue than a true bonk. I know from experience I can force a bonk feeling by eating too much of the wrong thing, and also make it worse by continuing to eat. It's a negative feedback loop that took me a few terrible experiences to figure out.
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Old 09-02-19, 03:00 AM
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Yeah a lot of people (at least in my circle) like to use the word bonk casually for pushing too hard and then blowing up, and not for an actual bonk.

Besides food or nutrition gone wrong, you didn't mention your friend's level of riding/conditioning, or how you two were sharing the work on the road, so perhaps he's pushing too hard, did too much work in front, or similar?
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Old 09-02-19, 07:01 AM
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Some sweet bikes you've got and awesome scenery so it still seems like a good day even if you didn't make the 100 mile mark... at least you seem to have a good idea of what works for you. I'd guess your friend gorged himself, lol. Might have hit the water too hard on top of that.
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Old 09-03-19, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulok View Post
Tomorrow morning I’m doing my 1st century and 200k in one. Unsupported. I’ve done each part of the route except for one bit (which I did by car 2 weeks ago).


The question I have is: how many calories can my body actually uptake from food per hour? I’ve read ~300 and I’ve read 1200... I’m tentatively planning on 300/hour and 1L of liquid/hour.
240 kcal of sucrose plus 120 kcal of fructose. A little fat helps satiety and a little protein alertness.

What works for you?
120 kcal of Clif Bar plus, quadruple that for breakfast before riding, and substituting 150-200 calories of real food for dinner.

You only need to replenish the 1/4 to 1/3 of your calories coming from glycogen. Conversely, with energy going elsewhere your stomach may not be happy with more than you need.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 09-03-19 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 09-04-19, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
240 kcal of sucrose plus 120 kcal of fructose. A little fat helps satiety and a little protein alertness.



120 kcal of Clif Bar plus, quadruple that for breakfast before riding, and substituting 150-200 calories of real food for dinner.

You only need to replenish the 1/4 to 1/3 of your calories coming from glycogen. Conversely, with energy going elsewhere your stomach may not be happy with more than you need.
Thank you! So youíre saying 1/4-1/3rd of gross Calories used during a ride? If it was 3000 Calories in 5 hours, Iíd want to consume at least 150-200/hour?
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Old 09-04-19, 07:06 AM
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The total work number that shows up on strava with a power meter is what I take as calories burned. When I don't ride with a PM the estimated total work number still seems more reasonable than the one given for calories. I did a casual 2 hour ramble with friends that had a few short efforts and strava estimated the total work at 1024kJ but the calories at 1943. On a group ride where I had a power meter it said I burned 4069 calories in 4h10 but the power meter total work is only 2765kJ which seems much more realistic for me.

If I'm riding at lower intensities hopefully more of the "fuel" is coming from body fat stores and I less about eating during those periods... and on short rides I don't eat or drink any calories.
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Old 09-04-19, 08:41 AM
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I try to do some fat adapted training occasionally. Hasn't been too hard this year, because I haven't been able to eat on a couple of long rides, most spectacularly the 400k, where I didn't eat the final 200k. There was a point on that ride where I didn't think I was going to finish if there was a big hill. I did end up walking a decent sized hill. Riding seemed pointless.
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Old 09-06-19, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulok View Post
Thank you! So you’re saying 1/4-1/3rd of gross Calories used during a ride? If it was 3000 Calories in 5 hours, I’d want to consume at least 150-200/hour?
Originally Posted by Tulok View Post
Thank you! So you’re saying 1/4-1/3rd of gross Calories used during a ride?
Yes.

If it was 3000 Calories in 5 hours, I’d want to consume at least 150-200/hour?
No. It's better to eat less if you're not already at your ideal cycling weight and save room for better testing good if you are.

As a rule of thumb trained cyclists can do at least four hours on stored carbs at 4 kcal/gram.

You have 25g of blood sugar and 100g of liver glycogen for 500 kcal total getting you 1500 - 2000 kcal of range.

On top of that you have 400g / 1600 kcal of glycogen in your muscles which would be 4800 - 6400 kcal of range, but can't move it between muscles or even fast and slow twitch fibers with the former seeing limited recruitment at an endurance pace. Maybe 1/4 of that is usable?

On five hour rides I eat a 200-250 kcal energy bar after four hours of wall clock time which might be 2000 kj/kcal in good shape totaling 2500 kcal.

On 6000 Calories in 10 hours, you'd eat 150-200 an hour.

This assumes a reasonable estimate of calories off measured power output, where 1 kj = 1 kcal is the rule of thumb most people use.

More intense rides shift the energy substrate utilization to carbs, although that limits duration.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 09-06-19 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 09-07-19, 10:35 AM
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I find that if I eat much in the way of fats, that slows me down for a while as my body has to work at digesting the fats. French fries are at the highest end for fatty type foods that I can eat while cycling without teh fats slowing me down too much.

As an example, I picked McDonalds for my example here ( https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/p...nch-fries.html ), on the nutrition summary it lists fats at 11 grams, total carbs at 29 grams and protein at 3 grams. Thus roughly half of the calories are from fats, any more than that and it slows me down for an hour or two. That said, mixing french fries with something that has a higher carb content is a way to dilute the fats, sometimes I will have some ice cream with the fries.

Everybody is different, I have to avoid sugary foods for health reasons, the sugary exercise gels are especially bad for me but they might be great for some other people. I know people that carry a few gel packets in a jersey pocket.
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Old 09-09-19, 09:13 AM
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joewein
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Originally Posted by Tulok View Post
But, I realize now that those are empty calories. So I want to make sure Iím eating healthy for the long run. I am training for the 508 and 24hr time trials as my ultimate goal. I had noticed in the past that if all I eat on my rides is junk, eventually I wouldnít go any faster despite trying to train harder.
Don't overthink it; unless you're going to ride 200 km/day for the next couple of weeks, "empty" calories are quite OK. Your first priority has got to be to keep supplying easily digested calories to replace what you've burnt. Vitamins, dietary fiber, etc do matter over time, but not much in the short term.

Just don't try to eat off the bike in your civilian life (i.e. during your work week) as you would do on a long distance bike ride. The demands are quite different. I eat a lot of vegetables and minimize simple carbs when at home, but on a bike ride I'll consume primarily fruit, sandwiches and carb-heavy drinks (sweetened milk tea, smoothies, etc).
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