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How to fuel while riding?

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How to fuel while riding?

Old 11-21-22, 04:22 PM
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Branko D
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Edit: I can't think of a reason a cyclist would need to pop a gel every 20 minutes.
For the OP, reading the description of his rides? Being unfit, their fat utilization is low and drops off a cliff even at light intensity. I've read a study on people with metabolic syndrome in comparison with trained cyclists and they are running off glucose at virtually any intensity. It sounds like it's his situation, and kudos to him for starting cycling because physical exercise is one of the ways for digging yourself out of that hole.


Fat oxidation in elite athletes, active healthy individuals and people with metabolic syndrome as a function of power

For those who are fit, though, it literally is a performance boost when working at near threshold power for long periods. Which does not come up in cycling so often, admittedly - alpine climbs being the exception. In long course triathlon, where working hard without drafting is the norm, eating is the fourth discipline. Sure, if you're doing an easy century on the flat, you can get by with a coffee and a croissant half way in the ride.

Eating gels on the 15 minute mark is something I do when running marathons, too. Race day isn't the day to go on a diet. All the best runners do it now, and after 80+g of carbohydrates per hour became the norm - relatively recently - the incidence of hitting the wall due to underfueling seems to have dropped off a cliff.
​​​​​​
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Old 11-21-22, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Yeah, I'll do some gels chews once in a blue moon, but I prefer regular food, too. I just don't see the value - monetarily or in terms of performance - in sport-specific snacks (drinking some kind of electrolytes is a different story, though). That said, I usually snack - I rarely have the desire to consume anything approaching a meal-sized quantity of food mid-ride, unless it's a pretty casual ride.
One advantage of bars, chews, and gels over real food - packaging. Once upon a time, I decided to substitute peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but in the end they were messy and a PITA to deal with. And if I make something, I have to either eat it or throw it out before it goes bad, whereas I have been known to carry the same uneaten Clif bar for months at a time.
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Old 11-21-22, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
For the OP, reading the description of his rides? Being unfit, their fat utilization is low and drops off a cliff even at light intensity. I've read a study on people with metabolic syndrome in comparison with trained cyclists and they are running off glucose at virtually any intensity. It sounds like it's his situation, and kudos to him for starting cycling because physical exercise is one of the ways for digging yourself out of that hole.


Fat oxidation in elite athletes, active healthy individuals and people with metabolic syndrome as a function of power

For those who are fit, though, it literally is a performance boost when working at near threshold power for long periods. Which does not come up in cycling so often, admittedly - alpine climbs being the exception. In long course triathlon, where working hard without drafting is the norm, eating is the fourth discipline. Sure, if you're doing an easy century on the flat, you can get by with a coffee and a croissant half way in the ride.

Eating gels on the 15 minute mark is something I do when running marathons, too. Race day isn't the day to go on a diet. All the best runners do it now, and after 80+g of carbohydrates per hour became the norm - relatively recently - the incidence of hitting the wall due to underfueling seems to have dropped off a cliff.
​​​​​​
My brain first rendered the data group names as "Pennsylvania Fat Ox" and "Massachusetts Fat Ox", and I thought, "Geez, that's rude, calling someone a fat ox!"
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Old 11-21-22, 05:19 PM
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Re Branko D's observations above:

"Even dwarfs started small" (Werner Herzog of course). As Branko says, good on ya. I think all of us who came to riding late go through this thing of "have to have carbs." It's great that you're posting your rides on Strava because kJ roughly equals calories burned, as long as your stats which you entered into Strava are correct. It'll still vary with the wind. Any ride on a windy day will have a higher burn. Strava seems to account for elevation gain correctly. For many years I used Strava's estimates. After I got a power meter, I saw about the same numbers.

I have always eaten about half my burn. It's slower to build up fat burning ability this way, but it does steadily improve, plus you get to have fun on your bike while that's happening. I think it's fine for experienced expert riders to ride without eating. They already have an excellent fat burning ability and are simply trying to improve on it. They ride just fine on fat and glycogen, but starting out, that isn't the case.

I remember my first 50 mile ride, where after 30 miles I found myself sitting in a ditch watching the world go 'round. I'd bonked because I didn't eat. I ate a Clif bar and 10' later was good to go, no further problems. Then there was the time I was trying to ride my first century, solo. At about 75 miles, I was again sitting in a ditch, a grown man crying. I ate. One gets experience by screwing up. The longer you ride, the more times you'll screw up, and the more experience you acquire. Randonneurs say that when anything goes wrong, the first thing you do is eat, and no one burns fat as well as a randonneur.

My method was continually trying to ride further on one ride/week. At first I was also a prisoner of the flat. Hill intimidated me. But after I could ride a century of mostly flat, I started hitting the hills and discovered I could ride hills after all. Hills are what bike riding is really all about. Sounds crazy, but that's how it is. At some point, nothing else works you hard enough to generate improvement. I don't think you'd be posting here if you didn't want improvement.
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Old 11-21-22, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
For the OP, reading the description of his rides? Being unfit, their fat utilization is low and drops off a cliff even at light intensity. I've read a study on people with metabolic syndrome in comparison with trained cyclists and they are running off glucose at virtually any intensity. It sounds like it's his situation, and kudos to him for starting cycling because physical exercise is one of the ways for digging yourself out of that hole.


Fat oxidation in elite athletes, active healthy individuals and people with metabolic syndrome as a function of power

For those who are fit, though, it literally is a performance boost when working at near threshold power for long periods. Which does not come up in cycling so often, admittedly - alpine climbs being the exception. In long course triathlon, where working hard without drafting is the norm, eating is the fourth discipline. Sure, if you're doing an easy century on the flat, you can get by with a coffee and a croissant half way in the ride.

Eating gels on the 15 minute mark is something I do when running marathons, too. Race day isn't the day to go on a diet. All the best runners do it now, and after 80+g of carbohydrates per hour became the norm - relatively recently - the incidence of hitting the wall due to underfueling seems to have dropped off a cliff.
​​​​​​
I get gut rot if I take at less than 45 minute intervals. I seem to remember Bob Roll and C Van De Veld? on one of the GT broadcasts this year talking about fuel intake. The science/nutrition has gotten so good that the elite riders are consuming 5k? calories per hour now.
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Old 11-21-22, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I wonder if I could even keep down 8 gels, if Iím riding with any intensity at all.
I'd be calling Ralph if I tried it.
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Old 11-21-22, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
One advantage of bars, chews, and gels over real food - packaging. .
But the flip side is you have to get that stuff beforehand unless you happen to luck upon a store that has it on your ride. Maybe not a problem for some to stock up at home but for me it would be an issue.

I have carried peanut butter or p,b, and honey and it works for me. Also, tuna sandwiches work but you don't want to save them. I have bought tuna in those foil pouches and assembled the sandwich way back in the mountains. Vertical Bob taught me that one.
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Old 11-21-22, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
But the flip side is you have to get that stuff beforehand unless you happen to luck upon a store that has it on your ride. Maybe not a problem for some to stock up at home but for me it would be an issue.

I have carried peanut butter or p,b, and honey and it works for me. Also, tuna sandwiches work but you don't want to save them. I have bought tuna in those foil pouches and assembled the sandwich way back in the mountains. Vertical Bob taught me that one.
I buy them in bulk when they're on sale, same as tubes.
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Old 11-21-22, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
One advantage of bars, chews, and gels over real food - packaging. Once upon a time, I decided to substitute peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but in the end they were messy and a PITA to deal with. And if I make something, I have to either eat it or throw it out before it goes bad, whereas I have been known to carry the same uneaten Clif bar for months at a time.
I'm not talking about toting BLTs in my jersey pocket. From home, I pack a banana and/or granola bar (that don't have a chocolate coating). If it's 90+ mile ride, I'll usually stop at a convenience store. I'll grab a guilty pleasure Hostess treat, a can of Coke (I don't drink soft drinks otherwise) and something like a Pearson's Nut Roll or Peanut M&Ms to stuff in a pocket.
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Old 11-21-22, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I'm not talking about toting BLTs in my jersey pocket. From home, I pack a banana and/or granola bar (that don't have a chocolate coating). If it's 90+ mile ride, I'll usually stop at a convenience store. I'll grab a guilty pleasure Hostess treat, a can of Coke (I don't drink soft drinks otherwise) and something like a Pearson's Nut Roll or Peanut M&Ms to stuff in a pocket.
Now I want a BLT.
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Old 11-21-22, 09:26 PM
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I really don't like stopping when I'm riding. Not sure why. I mean, the whole idea of a cafe stop appeals to me intellectually, but on the bike I just want to keep going. I also don't like leaving the bike outside a store, even when it's in plain sight. I wasn't always this way! I used to stop at around 40 miles - the last chance before 15 store-less miles home - and grab a drink and a candy bar. But that was a decade ago, at least. Now? I'll stop for water at one of the taps that are set up for cyclists.
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Old 11-22-22, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I get gut rot if I take at less than 45 minute intervals. I seem to remember Bob Roll and C Van De Veld? on one of the GT broadcasts this year talking about fuel intake. The science/nutrition has gotten so good that the elite riders are consuming 5k? calories per hour now.
~500 cals/hr or ~120g/hr carbs
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Old 11-22-22, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
~500 cals/hr or ~120g/hr carbs
Whatever the amount was, they said it used to be 2.5 - 3 per hour. Now it 5. On that 2.5 - 3 the riders could hold a certain wattage/effort for 20 minutes. On the 5, the riders can hold the same wattage/effort for an hour +. I think they were talking about it on a mountain stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
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Old 11-23-22, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
I really don't like stopping when I'm riding. Not sure why. I mean, the whole idea of a cafe stop appeals to me intellectually, but on the bike I just want to keep going. Ö.
this is why i donít really ride with friends. they all want to stop and be social at all the cyclist friendly cafes and restaurants multiple times, which to me just totally ruins the vibe and cuts the mileage. i make one store stop to grab another gatorade or two and a snack as far into the ride as i can manage.

the fat burning chart is interesting, i think iíve improved on that front, or just gotten better at flying close to the sun and using every bit of glycogen. i feel pretty good up to 50 miles / 2,000-2,500 calories with just a bar and gatorade. need one serious fuel stop up to 80 miles and beyond that itís a bit variable.

lately iíve been cutting off the ends of the fruit bar/strip packages before the ride to make them easier to eat on the bike. theyíre compact and not dry, easy to get around 200 cal/hr out of pockets, plus whatís in the bottles. i canít/donít ride no handed.
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Old 11-23-22, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
For the OP, reading the description of his rides? Being unfit, their fat utilization is low and drops off a cliff even at light intensity. I've read a study on people with metabolic syndrome in comparison with trained cyclists and they are running off glucose at virtually any intensity. It sounds like it's his situation, and kudos to him for starting cycling because physical exercise is one of the ways for digging yourself out of that hole.


Fat oxidation in elite athletes, active healthy individuals and people with metabolic syndrome as a function of power
​​
Thank you for this. Reading about metabolic syndrome now. It does sound like me. I struggled with low blood sugar at a young age, and I still have to be mindful about it. My family history now indicates a 90% chance of me eventually becoming diabetic. Through much of my adult life, physical labor has been limited by energy, and I have had to plan eating around working. The way you describe it really rings a bell.
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Old 11-29-22, 08:31 AM
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If I'm going long and hard (that's what 'she' said), starting at the 1.5 hour mark, I have to fuel about every hour.
But normally two gels at the most. The rest would be bars and human food.
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Old 11-29-22, 08:46 AM
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Back in the day I bought HammerGel in bulk and carried it in their flasks. Two was enough for a 200k. I also wore a Camelbak Mule for hydration. Nobody every said anything about the Camelbak.
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Old 12-01-22, 10:54 AM
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Going back to the OP's original question, have you tried cargo bibs and a top tube bag? It's more pockets in easier to handle locations if you need to carry more nutrition. However I'd advise against solely fueling with gels. I'm actually not sure how you could stomach that many, not to mention the cost of it.

Nutrition and the timing is highly personal and everyone's offered their takes so far. It will take experimentation but my suggestion is to build a strategy including fluids, real food, chews and gels.

Just doing some math here. An example is a bottle with 2 scoops of Flow Formulas is 60g of carbs, Honey Stinger chews are 39g and SIS gels are 22g per package. So if you take along 2 bottles of Flow, 2 package of chews and 4 gels; that's 286g of carbs. That works out to 4.76 hrs at 60g/hr or 3.6 hrs at 80g/hr. The gels and chews fit neatly into 2 jersey pockets or all in 1 if you'd like.

Wearing a CamelBak is a road cycling is a faux pau. Most of us elitists will opt to carry the larger bottles and/or plan routes with refill stops.
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Old 12-01-22, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Why do some people hate stopping? I've never understood this, always enjoyed stopping to eat something on a longer ride.
I know, right. Stop and enjoy the day and have some real food.... enjoy. I personally think those gels are disgusting.
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Old 12-01-22, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by TomM View Post
Back in the day I bought HammerGel in bulk and carried it in their flasks. Two was enough for a 200k. I also wore a Camelbak Mule for hydration. Nobody every said anything about the Camelbak.
I wore a 70 oz Camelbak on a climbing day in the local mountains with lots of other cyclists. It was hot and the only thing anyone said was that they wished they had a Camelbak, too.
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Old 12-01-22, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
I know, right. Stop and enjoy the day and have some real food.... enjoy. I personally think those gels are disgusting.
One time we climbed Hwy 39 from Duarte and at Highway 2 we stopped to rest and eat and one friend whipped out 2 slices of pizza and the rest of us thought about stealing it from him.
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Old 12-01-22, 11:38 AM
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If I am on tour and know I will have a hard day with few or no service en route I will pack a single-serv package of Hammer Perpetuem. Calories and hydration at the same time.

I did this fully loaded on coffee and 6 fig bars (the 3" kind) for breakfast, two Gus, an apple and a bottle of Perpetuem:

Routes ∑ Ride with GPS

I was hungry at the end but never felt I needed more fuel while on the road. At the end of the ride, I treated myself to the best fried chicken and JoJos I have ever had.

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Old 12-01-22, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
One time we climbed Hwy 39 from Duarte and at Highway 2 we stopped to rest and eat and one friend whipped out 2 slices of pizza and the rest of us thought about stealing it from him.


Had someone do the same when we reached the shack on GMR. Another buddy raided his pantry on a SGRT ride and brought along muffins and a leftover baguette.
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Old 12-01-22, 02:40 PM
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Lil Debbie mini donuts are $0.003 per calorie and provide lots of sodium, fat, and carbs. Fats are really not so important for short rides but are helpful to some athletes on longer rides. Just open one end, put one or two in your mouth every 10-15 minutes. Chew well. Drink water.

Or, one can buy Scratch Superfule and stick 500-600 calories in a water bottle and drink that every 90 minutes.

Better yet, after about 150 miles stop and buy 2 quarter pounders, 2 apple pies, and a large vanilla shake. That will fuel you well into the night.

Most important. Only put into your month want you really want to eat.
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Old 12-01-22, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
If I am on tour and know I will have a hard day with few or no service en route I will pack a single-serv package of Hammer Perpetuem. Calories and hydration at the same time.

I did this fully loaded on coffee and 6 fig bars (the 3" kind) for breakfast, two Gus, an apple and a bottle of Perpetuem:

Routes ∑ Ride with GPS

I was hungry at the end but never felt I needed more fuel while on the road. At the end of the ride, I treated myself to the best fried chicken and JoJos I have ever had.
What does your rig typically weigh when loaded touring?
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