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Am I eating/drinking enough?

Old 10-27-14, 10:07 PM
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Am I eating/drinking enough?

I'm training for my first century ride so I've been going on longer rides. Today I went on my longest yet, 70 miles.

Today I ate--

630am - oatmeal and protein shake
9am - english muffin with peanut butter
noon - 8oz fish, 2 cups black beans with a little cheese and hot sauce, salad (lettuce, olive oil, balsamic)
1pm - clif bar
2pm - began ride
3pm - stopped to eat - clif bar
345pm - stopped to eat - honey stinger waffle
430pm - stopped to eat - honey stinger waffle
515pm - stopped to eat - honey stinger gel
6pm - done with ride
From 6am-2pm I drank 64oz water and during my ride I drank just shy of 120oz water (almost five 24oz bottles).

I felt totally fine, but I'm reading lots of other suggestions online at 60g carbs per hour. I had less than half that.

My endurance is coming along pretty quickly, you really do just have to eat. Today was 70 miles, my second longest ride was 61, I have two at 57, one at 50, and besides that nothing more than 45 since I began cycling. Am I eating enough? I always have a protein shake and quick digesting carbs the second I get home and a bigger meal within half an hour but I'm not 100% sure I'm eating enough DURING the ride. If it matters, I'm 6'6" 240lbs and about 10% bodyfat.
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Old 10-27-14, 10:34 PM
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It depends on the level of effort. It's too easy to go too easy on the bike (unless you're in the middle of an unending steep climb). Personally, I can do 200 watt continuous for an hour without much discomfort, but, on a reasonably flat course with stop signs, and traffic lights, I tend to have trouble getting even to 140 average. Which means significantly lower caloric requirements (since a good chunk of the 140 comes from fat).
However, I think that most well-rested people can do 70 miles at a moderate pace without eating at all. The question is how much you have left in the tank after that. The 60 g / hour recommendation is the maximum tolerable by the digestive system and it is intended to keep your stores as full as possible.
I'd suggest not to eat any more than you have to, until you actually encounter the limits of how far you can go without eating.
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Old 10-27-14, 11:32 PM
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A general recommendation ...

On rides under 2 hours, you probably don't need to eat anything more than your normal healthy well-balanced diet. Bring something complex carb with you (i.e. granola bars etc.), just in case your 2-hour ride turns into something longer, or just in case you're up against a massive headwind or something that causes you to exert a whole lot more energy than what you're used to. Chances are you won't need to eat it on most rides. But drink water.

On rides between about 2 and 4 hours, you can probably get away with 100-200 calories per hour. Have your granola bar or whole wheat fig bar or other complex carbs ... and nibble. Ride 15 minutes, take a bit of granola bar. Ride 15 minutes, take a bit of granola bar. Drink water.

On rides over 4 hours, you may want go over 200 calories per hour, possibly as high as 300 calories per hour on occasion, but as you get fitter, you won't likely need to consume as many calories. Again, look for foods that are easy to eat and are fairly complex, not simple. Nibble on salted almonds. Have a bit of beef jerky. Eat foods with whole grains. And drink water.
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Old 10-28-14, 01:16 AM
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Don't stop to eat!
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Old 10-28-14, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by hamster
It depends on the level of effort. It's too easy to go too easy on the bike (unless you're in the middle of an unending steep climb). Personally, I can do 200 watt continuous for an hour without much discomfort, but, on a reasonably flat course with stop signs, and traffic lights, I tend to have trouble getting even to 140 average. Which means significantly lower caloric requirements (since a good chunk of the 140 comes from fat).
However, I think that most well-rested people can do 70 miles at a moderate pace without eating at all. The question is how much you have left in the tank after that. The 60 g / hour recommendation is the maximum tolerable by the digestive system and it is intended to keep your stores as full as possible.
I'd suggest not to eat any more than you have to, until you actually encounter the limits of how far you can go without eating.
I don't have a power meter so I have no idea what my wattage is beyond strava's estimate. It was mostly flat but I was holding over 20mph aside from hills and tight corners, which is a pretty decent pace for me. Driveway to driveway was over 18mph with going through neighborhoods, stop lights, hills, stopping for breaks, etc dragging the average down. I maintained my 30-40 mile ride pace for 70 miles, pretty happy about that. Again, I've only gone over 40 miles a handful of times ever.

I seriously doubt I could do 70 miles without eating at all unless I slowed way down. I started to feel woozy about halfway through so I stopped to eat and felt fine thereafter.
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Old 10-28-14, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
A general recommendation ...

On rides under 2 hours, you probably don't need to eat anything more than your normal healthy well-balanced diet. Bring something complex carb with you (i.e. granola bars etc.), just in case your 2-hour ride turns into something longer, or just in case you're up against a massive headwind or something that causes you to exert a whole lot more energy than what you're used to. Chances are you won't need to eat it on most rides. But drink water.

On rides between about 2 and 4 hours, you can probably get away with 100-200 calories per hour. Have your granola bar or whole wheat fig bar or other complex carbs ... and nibble. Ride 15 minutes, take a bit of granola bar. Ride 15 minutes, take a bit of granola bar. Drink water.

On rides over 4 hours, you may want go over 200 calories per hour, possibly as high as 300 calories per hour on occasion, but as you get fitter, you won't likely need to consume as many calories. Again, look for foods that are easy to eat and are fairly complex, not simple. Nibble on salted almonds. Have a bit of beef jerky. Eat foods with whole grains. And drink water.
Yeah I can go 2 hours without eating no problem if that's going to be my whole ride, but if I am going for 3-4 hours, I have found that I need to start eating sooner than the 2 hour mark or it bites me in the ass.
Originally Posted by znomit
Don't stop to eat!
I kind of like stopping to rest for a few minutes. I don't know about overall time spent on the ride but I can maintain higher speeds when I'm actually moving if I stop every 45 mins or so.
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Old 10-28-14, 10:02 AM
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How much time are you guys moving out of a 3-4 hour ride? I use "moving time" vs "elapsed time" on Strava to figure this out. I had about 15 mins of "not moving" time on this ride yesterday. At least 5-6 of this was stop lights.
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Old 10-28-14, 11:37 AM
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Normally, on randonneuring rides, we have a 20-30 minute stop every 30 miles, average about 15 mph. So a 125 mile ride will have 3 intermediate stops, take about 9-10 hours depending on the circumstances.

My approach is: Eat when you're hungry, drink when you're thirsty. If I'm hungry, I'm not going to stay hungry because some stranger on a website said it was too many calories. And I'm not going to force junk down because someone else said it was too few. And, eat what sounds good at the time. That may be Twinkies or potato chips or Beanie Wienie or corn dogs or who knows what. What sounds good at the start of a ride doesn't always sound good at the end of the ride. I'll usually eat something and drink some soda pop at each of those stops.

(Edited)
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Old 10-28-14, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH
Normally, on randonneuring rides, we have a 20-30 minute stop every 30 miles, average about 15 mph. So a 125 mile ride will have 3 intermediate stops, take about 9-10 hours depending on the circumstances.

My approach is: Eat when you're hungry, drink when you're thirsty. If I'm hungry, I'm not going to stay hungry because some stranger on a website said it was too many calories. And I'm not going to force junk down because someone else said it was too few. And, eat what sounds good at the time. That may be Twinkies or potato chips or Beanie Wienie or corn dogs or who knows what. What sounds good at the start of a ride doesn't always sound good at the end of the ride. I'll usually eat something and drink some soda pop at each of those stops.

11-1/2 hours is an awfully long time to ride 70 miles (that's 6.2 mph rolling average?), unless you have terrible wind or hills or something. You might do better to concentrate on increasing speed rather than distance.

Think OP rode 4hrs (2pm - 6pm).

Beenie Weenies...Really??? Hope my pilot has an empty jersey pocket.
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Old 10-28-14, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by LastKraftWagen
Think OP rode 4hrs (2pm - 6pm).
Sorry, I thought that was what was eaten during the ride, and didn't see that "started the ride" was at 2:00 PM.
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Old 10-28-14, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by LastKraftWagen
Think OP rode 4hrs (2pm - 6pm).

Beenie Weenies...Really??? Hope my pilot has an empty jersey pocket.
Yeah, about 4 hours.

3:50 moving time, 4:05 elapsed I think
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Old 10-28-14, 12:58 PM
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Here's a topic with 1001 different answers... I think for anyone it takes experimentation and trial and error...First time you bonk a ride you'll know food/fluids wasn't sufficient.

As a diabetic I start nibbling as soon as my sitbones hit the saddle (think it also distracts from the sceenary I don't get to enjoy), because a bonked ride for me ends up in the ER. I also always carry an "emergency" bottle of double-mixed Gatorade (aprox 12% glucose solution). I personally try to avoid proteins and fats on a ride because they generally take longer to digest and they slow the digestion of carbs, and excess proteins during a ride give me stomach issues. Then again I rarely get the opportunity to ride 200km+ so my diet may not be long-term sufficient.

Try riding and adjusting your fluid intake so that you weigh about the same after the ride as when you started. Say you went on a 2hr ride, and your body weight afterwrrds was -4lbs, you probably didn't take in enough fluids because it's highly unlikely you burned through 14,000 calories on the ride. That's the real reason there's a scale in your gym lockerroom...fluid control, not to tell your friends you lost 6lbs "of body fat" during a 50min spinning workout.

As fluid loss/replenishment increases, consider salty foods to replace lost sodium (extremely low sodium is coma-dangerous). Especially if you come home with dark shirts stained white or salt crust on your eyebrows. .

Again, its trial and error, and anything you read on the internet should be [taken with a grain of salt if you're sweating a lot] used as a very general recommendation. If you felt good after your 70mi ride, you probably got it right for you.
Good luck on your century.
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Old 10-28-14, 04:01 PM
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I read a lot of different opinion on what to eat whilst training and what to eat during rides etc, but really only you can know how much energy your body exerts during exercise and how much you need consume to fuel your efforts. Everyone has a different metabolism, digestive system, level of fitness etc, so you really need to experiment.

For example, I rode a century a few weeks back and due to stomach problems I barely ate the day before and ate very little on the day of the ride. My energy level was fine. I must have enough in reserve for my system to be able to dip in and keep going! Whereas I'm sure others would have bonked with the same low calorie intake.

What I have found since I started biking is that I eat a LOT more than I used to eat. In fact I'm fighting at the moment not to lose any more weight. I think part of my issue is that I've never been fit in any aerobic sense, so when I do exercise I'm probably burning a lot more fuel than someone who is more conditioned doing the same exercise. So I've been burning through fat and I'm now down to where I don't want to drop any more weight. Which is the first time in 40+ years that I've been able to say that.

We're all different and it seems to me that even looking for some general rule of thumb when it comes to diet, is pretty much pointless. Other than eating real food, maintaining a balanced diet, and consuming enough food to fuel your efforts (which only you can ascertain), there really isn't a whole let else that anyone can tell you.

It's just what I've found, and it may not be valid.
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Old 10-28-14, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Alias530
Today I went on my longest yet, 70 miles.

Today I ate . . .

I drank . . .

I felt totally fine
So the answer is "YES" you are eating and drinking enough.

Every rider and every ride is different. The key is to know how your body reacts under different conditions and how it responds to different foods and glycemic loads (the number of grams of carb considering the source of those carbs ie. sugar vs. starch). If you felt "totally fine" with no weakness, shakiness, loss of focus, and consistent effort throughout, you did it right. If you change the distance, intensity, terrain, weather conditions (cold or wind) you might need to make adjustments, but you seem to be on the right track for you. Try to pay attention to the very first changes in performance that indicate you may need more fuel. A slight increase in perceived exertion or a slight decrease in mental focus can be early warnings of a bonk coming down the road if you don't top off the tank. Take note of guidelines and what others are eating in similar circumstances, but the only thing that matters is what works best for you. Everyone knows I'm a big oatmeal raisin cookie fan when I do longer distances, but that's just me, try it if you like.

Last edited by GravelMN; 10-28-14 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 10-28-14, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by znomit
Don't stop to eat!
Why not? It doesn't sound like the OP is racing.
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Old 10-28-14, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Alias530
Yeah I can go 2 hours without eating no problem if that's going to be my whole ride, but if I am going for 3-4 hours, I have found that I need to start eating sooner than the 2 hour mark or it bites me in the ass.
Yes ... what I'm saying is that if you're only out for a 2-hour ride, you probably don't need to eat.
Whereas, if you're out for a 4 hour ride, you'll probably want to start consuming 200 calories per hour each hour right from the beginning over those 4 hours.
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Old 10-28-14, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by GravelMN
Why not? It doesn't sound like the OP is racing.
Well, IMO it's a lot more fun to ride as continuously as possible. Most randos and faster riders like the OP will ride continuously between controles or rest stops. On a supported ride, many riders will ride right by some rest stops. I like to stop only when I need a pee break, which should be about every 3 hours or 50 miles, or somewhere around there. That way I keep rocking right along, legs don't get cold, and I usually have impromptu companions. If it's a hilly ride, I'll stop more frequently than 50 miles because I'll be slower. On the 154 mile RAMRODs I've done, I stopped 3 times for a break, and sometimes once more for water. "Let's get 'er done!"

On the bike, I eat the fastest digesting, highest GI stuff I can find. I've settled on making my own liquid food from maltodextrin and whey protein, about 750 calories per bottle, which lasts as long as it lasts, 3 hours or so per bottle, as I also eat when hungry. I buy the malto in 50# bags so it's pretty cheap. I go through about a bag/year. On really long rides, I'll get about 1/2 my calories from this liquid food and the rest from whatever appeals in convenience stores. Those junky fruit pies are a fave.
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Old 10-28-14, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by GravelMN
So the answer is "YES" you are eating and drinking enough.

Every rider and every ride is different. The key is to know how your body reacts under different conditions and how it responds to different foods and glycemic loads (the number of grams of carb considering the source of those carbs ie. sugar vs. starch). If you felt "totally fine" with no weakness, shakiness, loss of focus, and consistent effort throughout, you did it right. If you change the distance, intensity, terrain, weather conditions (cold or wind) you might need to make adjustments, but you seem to be on the right track for you. Try to pay attention to the very first changes in performance that indicate you may need more fuel. A slight increase in perceived exertion or a slight decrease in mental focus can be early warnings of a bonk coming down the road if you don't top off the tank. Take note of guidelines and what others are eating in similar circumstances, but the only thing that matters is what works best for you. Everyone knows I'm a big oatmeal raisin cookie fan when I do longer distances, but that's just me, try it if you like.
Today I went out for another ride and it was pure junk miles. Only got 9 miles away from home before I knew I should turn around. I was on my lunch break so I'd probably have only done 25 anyway, but still.

I'm concerned with eating enough to not screw up recovery time too. I had well over 2,000 calories for dinner last night and I'm thinking it still wasn't enough.
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Old 10-28-14, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Well, IMO it's a lot more fun to ride as continuously as possible. Most randos and faster riders like the OP will ride continuously between controles or rest stops. On a supported ride, many riders will ride right by some rest stops. I like to stop only when I need a pee break, which should be about every 3 hours or 50 miles, or somewhere around there. That way I keep rocking right along, legs don't get cold, and I usually have impromptu companions. If it's a hilly ride, I'll stop more frequently than 50 miles because I'll be slower. On the 154 mile RAMRODs I've done, I stopped 3 times for a break, and sometimes once more for water. "Let's get 'er done!"

On the bike, I eat the fastest digesting, highest GI stuff I can find. I've settled on making my own liquid food from maltodextrin and whey protein, about 750 calories per bottle, which lasts as long as it lasts, 3 hours or so per bottle, as I also eat when hungry. I buy the malto in 50# bags so it's pretty cheap. I go through about a bag/year. On really long rides, I'll get about 1/2 my calories from this liquid food and the rest from whatever appeals in convenience stores. Those junky fruit pies are a fave.
Either my fit isn't 100% dialed or my core isn't as strong as it should be, but I need to stop every so often to give my back a break.

On another note, I NEVER pee when I ride. I typically drink a gallon of water on days I don't exercise and 1-1.5 bottles per hour on riding days, but I won't pee no matter how long the ride and at least an hour after.
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Old 10-28-14, 11:14 PM
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So I ate my normal food during the day, rode 69.1 miles this evening, drank a 20 oz Mountain Dew and ate a package of Snowballs at the midpoint of the ride. Total time of 4:22. Which is uncommonly good for me, and was due to favorable wind conditions.
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Old 10-29-14, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Alias530
Today I went out for another ride and it was pure junk miles. Only got 9 miles away from home before I knew I should turn around. I was on my lunch break so I'd probably have only done 25 anyway, but still.

I'm concerned with eating enough to not screw up recovery time too. I had well over 2,000 calories for dinner last night and I'm thinking it still wasn't enough.

One secret for "calories for recovery" is timing. Imagine as an example a muscle fiber has ten blood vessels going to it, when you are resting and the muscle doesn't need all that blood maybe 2-3 are "open." During and right after your ride let's say all ten are open...This is the best time to replenish the fiber (ten lanes of traffic are better than two). So, there is an optimum time (some research says an hour, others say 20-30min) to rush nutrients back into the muscle for recovery. Again, most research says a 3:1 to 4:1 carbrotein ratio, and this only needs to be a couple hundred calories. Then a more substancial and well rounded meal within a couple hours. The carb/protein ratio is supposed to help get the nutrients to the muscle faster. I personally use a commercial drink mix with these qualities for hard training or multi-day rides. Usually mixed at the last watering hole (because the stuff is nasty if left in the bottle all day) and start drinking it during the cool down or the last couple miles. From a physiology standpoint, high calorie meals after this optimal window of replenishment may lead to fat storage. Has to do with insulin spikes and troughs after hard rides and whether the body can use all those calories at that time. Think Team Novo Nordisc [sp] was doing some research related to this (perhaps back when they were Team Type I). Again, what works for you.

Wow, sounds like I carry a lot of bottles I don't really use...Well, yeah. I'm a CamelBak fan, and on the tandem reaching for the bottles often gets me kicked by the pilot, so the bottles are for "special" occasions. Without the Camel I would never drink or would geek mark my wrist or stick my fingers in the timing chain.
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Old 10-29-14, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by LastKraftWagen
One secret for "calories for recovery" is timing. Imagine as an example a muscle fiber has ten blood vessels going to it, when you are resting and the muscle doesn't need all that blood maybe 2-3 are "open." During and right after your ride let's say all ten are open...This is the best time to replenish the fiber (ten lanes of traffic are better than two). So, there is an optimum time (some research says an hour, others say 20-30min) to rush nutrients back into the muscle for recovery. Again, most research says a 3:1 to 4:1 carbrotein ratio, and this only needs to be a couple hundred calories. Then a more substancial and well rounded meal within a couple hours. The carb/protein ratio is supposed to help get the nutrients to the muscle faster. I personally use a commercial drink mix with these qualities for hard training or multi-day rides. Usually mixed at the last watering hole (because the stuff is nasty if left in the bottle all day) and start drinking it during the cool down or the last couple miles. From a physiology standpoint, high calorie meals after this optimal window of replenishment may lead to fat storage. Has to do with insulin spikes and troughs after hard rides and whether the body can use all those calories at that time. Think Team Novo Nordisc [sp] was doing some research related to this (perhaps back when they were Team Type I). Again, what works for you.

Wow, sounds like I carry a lot of bottles I don't really use...Well, yeah. I'm a CamelBak fan, and on the tandem reaching for the bottles often gets me kicked by the pilot, so the bottles are for "special" occasions. Without the Camel I would never drink or would geek mark my wrist or stick my fingers in the timing chain.
I had a whey protein shake and a bunch of dried fruit the second I got in the door, then a big steak and salad within half an hour with potatoes and ice cream for dessert. I thought I did good for quantity and timing. Maybe not the best types but from a macronutrient standpoint I think I did well.
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Old 10-29-14, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Well, IMO it's a lot more fun to ride as continuously as possible. Most randos and faster riders like the OP will ride continuously between controles or rest stops. On a supported ride, many riders will ride right by some rest stops. I like to stop only when I need a pee break, which should be about every 3 hours or 50 miles, or somewhere around there. That way I keep rocking right along, legs don't get cold, and I usually have impromptu companions. If it's a hilly ride, I'll stop more frequently than 50 miles because I'll be slower. On the 154 mile RAMRODs I've done, I stopped 3 times for a break, and sometimes once more for water. "Let's get 'er done!"

On the bike, I eat the fastest digesting, highest GI stuff I can find. I've settled on making my own liquid food from maltodextrin and whey protein, about 750 calories per bottle, which lasts as long as it lasts, 3 hours or so per bottle, as I also eat when hungry. I buy the malto in 50# bags so it's pretty cheap. I go through about a bag/year. On really long rides, I'll get about 1/2 my calories from this liquid food and the rest from whatever appeals in convenience stores. Those junky fruit pies are a fave.
Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with stopping for a minute to enjoy the view while you munch down a few carbs either. It all depends on what you want out of the ride. I do some hard (for me) training rides with rare stops and nutrition on the bike, but I also enjoy less intense rides where I can enjoy the scenery, lean my bike against a tree by the lake, and partake of an oatmeal cookie while listening to the loons (Minnesota state bird, not the locals ). All the admiration and respect in the world for those who can hammer out a 4-hour century, but not every ride is the TdF.
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Old 10-29-14, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Alias530
Either my fit isn't 100% dialed or my core isn't as strong as it should be, but I need to stop every so often to give my back a break.

On another note, I NEVER pee when I ride. I typically drink a gallon of water on days I don't exercise and 1-1.5 bottles per hour on riding days, but I won't pee no matter how long the ride and at least an hour after.
Probably core or pedaling technique. I stand ~10 minutes on long rides to stretch and give my back a rest. I put it in a really big gear and pedal easy, trying for about the same speed I was making seated, though I usually accelerate a little.

It also helps to rotate the pelvis forward and thus to try to keep a straight back.

Cycling does involve a good bit of back work. Not sure quite why, but the back muscles are definitely activated. Many people associate "core" with doing ab work, but it's the opposite. We need about 5 times as much back work as we need core. Many people have found Core Advantage to be an excellent resource and core training plan.

I know a local national champion who says, "If you have to pee, you aren't pedaling hard enough." Peeing takes time. Still, it seems to me that getting rid of waste must be a good idea. For me, peeing is a sign of adequate hydration. On a recent very hot double, at 2 stops in the latter half of the ride I just hung out in the shade and drank water, maybe 2 liters each time, until I could pee, then went on. It seemed to me that my wife and I on our tandem finished before quite a few riders that we shouldn't have been in front of, so maybe we made the time back. She didn't have as much trouble.

That said, on shorter rides of 3-4 hours I don't worry about it and just ride how I feel and drink to thirst. Sometimes I don't pee for several hours after, even after drinking a couple beers, so a little dehydration isn't an issue. But on a 400k, it's going to be an issue alright.
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Old 10-30-14, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy

Cycling does involve a good bit of back work. Not sure quite why, but the back muscles are definitely activated. Many people associate "core" with doing ab work, but it's the opposite. We need about 5 times as much back work as we need core. Many people have found Core Advantage to be an excellent resource and core training plan.

I absolutely agree that there has been a lot of misguided information about the "core". Abs and Core are related but not synonymous. The rectus abdominis (your six-pack muscle) is only one of several groups of core muscles that stabilize everything from the pelvis to the rib cage. The "abs" by themselves are composed of inner and outer layers with the rectus abdominis, lateral obliques and serratus comprising the outer layer and the transverse abdominis and internal oblique being the larger muscles of the inner layer. There are also a number of smaller muscles that provide additional stabilization. The rectus abdominis provides counter tension to the spinal erectors. The inner and outer obliques and transverse abdominis have more to do with back stabilization than does the rectus abdominis. The glutes, spinal erector group, and latisimus dorsi provide multi-directional stabilization and support for the spine including helping keep your head up.

I don't know if I agree with the 5x the back work, but there definitely needs to be a balance between the front, back and lateral aspects of the core muscles. Neglecting any one of the core muscles is like cutting one guy wire on a tower, it weakens the whole structure no matter how strong the other guy wires are.
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