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Fueling for a Ride

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Fueling for a Ride

Old 03-18-17, 06:04 PM
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RichardR1015
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Fueling for a Ride

So this may be a silly question but would love the feedback. At what point do you start fueling while you ride? I normally do 20 miles at least twice a week with only water and don't usually have any issues.

Next week I have an organized ride that will require me to do my first 30 miles. I feel comfortable with the mileage but not sure if I should consider eating an energy bar, or whatever on the ride. Thoughts?
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Old 03-18-17, 06:07 PM
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My 100 Mile Breakfast

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Old 03-18-17, 06:12 PM
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Try some breakfast bars from a large grocery store.
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Old 03-18-17, 06:17 PM
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No right or wrong way to do it, at least for 30 miles. Bring along a granola bar or something. Eat it if you feel you need to. But really, it's not necessary for a sub two-hour ride.
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Old 03-18-17, 06:18 PM
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For a 30 mile organized ride maybe take two bottles and eat something light before you leave.

I usually take my solo 40 mile rides with 4 bottles and a snack for half way. I usually don't need all 4 bottles but when out by myself I figure it's better to have and not need than to need and not have.
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Old 03-18-17, 06:23 PM
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I like a high protein breakfast and a cup of coffee about an hour before I head out, but that's just how my body responds best. I haven't taken a ride over 60 miles yet but when I ran marathons a small Pepsi or mountain dew and half a power bar towards the end or immediately after an event was perfect recovery fuel.
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Old 03-18-17, 06:28 PM
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Awesome. Thanks everyone.
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Old 03-18-17, 06:51 PM
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I ate two eggs, toast, and a pancake+ i piece of bacon. I took two bottles of water+mix today. At mile 30, my right quad started to cramp. I guess I did not drink enough liquid early on during the ride...had a bottle left. It was 80 degrees. I need to eat a better breakfast too.
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Old 03-18-17, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RichardR1015 View Post
So this may be a silly question but would love the feedback. At what point do you start fueling while you ride? I normally do 20 miles at least twice a week with only water and don't usually have any issues.

Next week I have an organized ride that will require me to do my first 30 miles. I feel comfortable with the mileage but not sure if I should consider eating an energy bar, or whatever on the ride. Thoughts?
It's very different depending how hard you're gonna ride. 20 mile full push ride can take more than a 50 mile take it easy ride.

Take my weekly rides. Recovery rides aside,

I'm doing either very hard intervals (~1.5 hrs) or a 1-2 hour almost full effort. For these because I'm more or less gonna get out and push after a short warm up, I want my stomach somewhat empty. I eat / drink 2.5-3 hours before and take a gel 15 mins before the ride. For these I honestly don't eat solid foods. A banana, mixed berries and other fruits smoothie does the trick. I usually drink 3-3.5 glasses of this.

Today's ride was a long one. It had 10 mile rolling hills into a 18 miles epic climb. There and back 55 miles 7000 feet. Because the first 10 miles were easy I ate 1 hour before the ride. Solids and slow release carbs mostly. Not a giant meal but my stomach was fullish. But because I had a 10 mile "warm up", it didn't bother me. This fueled me for a really good chunk of the ride. I didn't have to eat until I came back down from the mountain at which point I had some chips (for salt), banana and an orange soda (one last little jolt) and finished the remaining 10 miles.

It's just so different from person to person but general advice is always be prepped. If you're gonna be near gas stations etc, no big deal you can always stop and fuel but if you're gonna be in the nature it's always nice to have more than you need. General rule of thumb is pop a gel or two every hour you ride but at some point you'll need solid food.

30 miles is a short ride and I can go through that with no food but again, if you go slow it'll take longer so think about that.

Last edited by gurk700; 03-18-17 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 03-18-17, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by RichardR1015 View Post
At what point do you start fueling while you ride?
You mean... eating?
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Old 03-18-17, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by gurk700 View Post
It's very different depending how hard you're gonna ride. 20 mile full push ride can take more than a 50 mile take it easy ride.

Take my weekly rides. Recovery rides aside,

I'm doing either very hard intervals (~1.5 hrs) or a 1-2 hour almost full effort. For these because I'm more or less gonna get out and push after a short warm up, I want my stomach somewhat empty. I eat / drink 2.5-3 hours before and take a gel 15 mins before the ride. For these I honestly don't eat solid foods. A banana, mixed berries and other fruits smoothie does the trick. I usually drink 3-3.5 glasses of this.

Today's ride was a long one. It had 10 mile rolling hills into a 18 miles epic climb. There and back 55 miles 7000 feet. Because the first 10 miles were easy I ate 1 hour before the ride. Solids and slow release carbs mostly. Not a giant meal but my stomach was fullish. But because I had a 10 mile "warm up", it didn't bother me. This fueled me for a really good chunk of the ride. I didn't have to eat until I came back down from the mountain at which point I had some chips (for salt), banana and an orange soda (one last little jolt) and finished the remaining 10 miles.

It's just so different from person to person but general advice is always be prepped. If you're gonna be near gas stations etc, no big deal you can always stop and fuel but if you're gonna be in the nature it's always nice to have more than you need. General rule of thumb is pop a gel or two every hour you ride but at some point you'll need solid food.

30 miles is a short ride and I can go through that with no food but again, if you go slow it'll take longer so think about that.
This is excellent advice. I'd add that someone with little to no long ride experience will need to eat more during the ride than an experienced cyclist, almost certainly something every 1/2 hour. When I started out, I used Clif Bars. I'd open the packages before the ride, say 2 bars in your case. Then eat 1/2 bar every 30 minutes of riding. Maybe that's more than you need, but for this ride, as was said, better too much than too little. You can worry about getting more efficient with your fueling after a 50 mile ride is normal for you.

Start with two full water bottles and drink when you're thirsty.
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Old 03-18-17, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RichardR1015 View Post
So this may be a silly question but would love the feedback. At what point do you start fueling while you ride? I normally do 20 miles at least twice a week with only water and don't usually have any issues.

Next week I have an organized ride that will require me to do my first 30 miles. I feel comfortable with the mileage but not sure if I should consider eating an energy bar, or whatever on the ride. Thoughts?
Nothing. Just eat normally and take a bar or two for backup. 30 miles is not as useful of information as time is, but I assume you mean under 2 hours.
If sweating, an electrolyte drink is good.
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Old 03-19-17, 01:31 AM
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Put a bar (or a banana or cookies or gummi bears or whatever) in your jersey and if you get hungry, pull it out and eat it. No need to overthink this.
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Old 03-20-17, 08:29 AM
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No wonder companies make so much selling energy food. Also no wonder alot of my cycling friends are no leaner than my non-cycling friends.
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Old 03-20-17, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
My 100 Mile Breakfast
What is all that?
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Old 03-20-17, 09:38 AM
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Its an individual thing but I generally figure on fueling stops every 50-60 minutes or roughly every 20 miles. I've been on organized rides with the first stop at 30miles and that is too long for a lot of people.

I agree re: sub-2hr rides you generally don't need food so long as you've eaten a meal within a reasonable time before riding. However, from experience I ALWAYS stick something in my pocket for any ride over 1hr. Definitely take something to eat on any ride over 90 minutes because on any given day, you just don't know whats going to happen.....

Before a long ride I really like oatmeal. Throw in some raisins thrown a few nuts, and top with a little honey and milk.

I generally figure 1 bar per hour of riding. I usually take along 3-4 gels. I like Payday candy bars, Larabars, Fig newtons, and usually take a bag of raisins and nuts.

BTW on a long ride a couple week ago we stopped at Hardees for lunch. Rice & been burrito ++.
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Old 03-20-17, 09:19 PM
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On rides under about 2 hours, you don't need anything in addition to what you'd normally eat in a day. Bring a granola bar or something just in case, but you probably won't need it.


On rides over 2 hours, you might want to make a point of eating something before you go out, but it doesn't have to be large. At most, I'll eat about 500 calories worth.

  • On rides between about 2 and 4 hours, you might want to think about consuming roughly 100 cal/hour.
  • On rides over 4 hours, you might think about consuming roughly 200 cal/hour.
  • On rides over about 8 hours, you might also want to think about having lunch in the middle of the ride, in addition to the 200 cal/hour.


What you eat is up to you and you might need to do some experimentation to see what works.
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Old 03-21-17, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
No right or wrong way to do it, at least for 30 miles. Bring along a granola bar or something. Eat it if you feel you need to. But really, it's not necessary for a sub two-hour ride.
I'd concur with this, although if I'll be out longer than 2 hours, I'll start fueling around the 1 or 1.5 hour mark, usually with a granola bar or packet of Gu. You don't want to get 2.5 or 3 hours in and not had anything. By then, it's too late.

What I won't do: Eat a huge meal before taking off. That, my friends, is a recipe for failure, disaster, or both. I'll leave home after a very small snack and fairly well hydrated.
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Old 03-22-17, 06:40 AM
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You can't compare what you need to eat with what other people eat. We are all different.


There are medical studies showing that some people get most of their energy from carbs, yet their bodies are reluctant to burn fat for energy. Others can fuel themselves off their own fat with little need for sugars or carbs. Other people are somewhere in between.


People who rely on sugars produce excess insulin in response, which blocks leptin, so they always feel hungry, even when they don't need additional fuel. They crave carbs and sugars so much, their bodies never burn fat, and they become obese.


Luckily for us, we have a "gut feeling" that tells us when to eat. Listen to it.
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Old 03-22-17, 06:47 AM
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I used to only drink a Shakeology shake before rides and eat a bar or a Gu sometime into the ride, but I'd find myself short of energy fairly quickly. So, I'm going to change things up a bit and have a good, low-fat breakfast for my next few rides that are high in carbs.. probably granola and fruit or something like that. See how that goes.. still bring 'snacks' with me though.
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Old 03-22-17, 07:12 AM
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Good post. I am trying to reduce my sugar intake. My energy level is much better and more balanced on days/weeks where I can do this effectively.

Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
You can't compare what you need to eat with what other people eat. We are all different.


There are medical studies showing that some people get most of their energy from carbs, yet their bodies are reluctant to burn fat for energy. Others can fuel themselves off their own fat with little need for sugars or carbs. Other people are somewhere in between.


People who rely on sugars produce excess insulin in response, which blocks leptin, so they always feel hungry, even when they don't need additional fuel. They crave carbs and sugars so much, their bodies never burn fat, and they become obese.


Luckily for us, we have a "gut feeling" that tells us when to eat. Listen to it.
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Old 03-22-17, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
My 100 Mile Breakfast

Looks like a great breakfast. Refried beans, not something I'd think about off the top of my head for breakfast, but there's plenty there to like about them for a breakfast food. What are the yellow-ish items next to them?
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Old 03-22-17, 08:54 AM
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small top tube bag, handy even if you stop for snacks



for mid ride snacks I like chocolate or yogurt covered raisins, granola bar, chocolate milk, muscle milk & if I ride to REI I'll buy some shot bloks
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Old 03-22-17, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
My 100 Mile Breakfast

But, there is not a jalapeño to be found . . . .
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Old 03-22-17, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by RichardR1015 View Post
an organized ride
think it's reasonable to ask the organizer (s) (any stops? pee breaks? or just riding straight thru)
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