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How to fuel while riding?

Old 11-19-22, 10:13 AM
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How to fuel while riding?

The thing holding me back on longer rides has been nutrition. After some experimentation, energy gels seem to be my solution. Load up on carbs ahead of the ride, first gel 45 minutes into the ride, and subsequent gels every 20 minutes. I'll need about 8 of them for a 3˝ hour ride.

My question is, how do people manage this without stopping? I've been keeping them in a handlebar bag, but maybe I need a different bag, because it's difficult to open and close with one hand. I need to extract a gel packet from wherever I'm keeping them, tear off the top, stow the torn off part somewhere without littering, consume the gel, and stow the trash. Are there handlebar bags which are better for this than the one I'm using? (If so, recommendations, please.) Jersey pockets? I haven't tried it, but eight packets seems awkward in a rear pocket, to say nothing of putting trash back there.

Also, a similar topic is water. My routes rarely have good opportunities to refill water bottles. A Camelbak-style reservoir solves the problem for me, but I understand it's some sort of roadie fashion faux pas?
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Old 11-19-22, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel
My question is, how do people manage this without stopping? I've been keeping them in a handlebar bag,
Stow them in a jersey pocket and learn to ride no-handed.


Originally Posted by UnCruel
Also, a similar topic is water. My routes rarely have good opportunities to refill water bottles. A Camelbak-style reservoir solves the problem for me, but I understand it's some sort of roadie fashion faux pas?
You're this worried about what others think of you?
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Old 11-19-22, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
You're this worried about what others think of you?
I'm not. If I was, I would have also been too worried to ask here. I'm certainly much more likely to be treated harshly here than on the road.

I was asking because I thought maybe there were other solutions I wasn't aware of.
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Old 11-19-22, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel
I'm not. If I was, I would have also been too worried to ask here. I'm certainly much more likely to be treated harshly here than on the road.

I was asking because I thought maybe there were other solutions I wasn't aware of.
You can tuck an extra water bottle in your jersey pocket, but I find that weight a bit annoying.

Added benefit of a hydration pack is that it makes drinking easier, and usually includes some pockets for your snacks, tools, etc. I often use one in hot weather for gravel and road rides.
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Old 11-19-22, 10:51 AM
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8 gels in a 3 1/2 hour ride? 8 gels is 800 Calories. That seems like a lot! That's half the Calories you're burning.

My usual 3 1/2 hour ride consumption would be one package of chews (200 Cal.), and 2 bottles of sports drink(240 Cal). I always carry more food, but only as a backup. The only time I've needed more than two bottles has been hot days in the summer - i.e. over 80 degrees - when I sweat more.

I carry gels, bars, and chews in my right side jersey pocket, and I put the trash in my left side jersey pocket. I also prefer to eat while stopped, so on my usual Sunday 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 hour ride there's a nice spot where I like to stop with a pretty view, and a garbage can.

I tried a Camelbak years ago. The problem for me was that I'd only use it on hot days, so it made me feel hotter because there was a big, insulated thing on my back, and the water was always warm when I got around to drinking it, even warmer than the bottles because it was getting warmed by the sun on one side and my waste heat from exercise on the other. I suppose you could try freezing it, which would keep you cooler, until it didn't.
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Old 11-19-22, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
You can tuck an extra water bottle in your jersey pocket, but I find that weight a bit annoying.

Added benefit of a hydration pack is that it makes drinking easier, and usually includes some pockets for your snacks, tools, etc. I often use one in hot weather for gravel and road rides.
Or get an under-saddle triathlete bottle holder.
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Old 11-19-22, 11:26 AM
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On my Tarmac I sometimes use some double sided Velcro to put a extra bottle on the underside of my top tube. And I have for extreme cases put one on the underside of the down tube. So with four bottles on the triangle and with Jersey pockets available too, you can carry a lot of water bottles.

Camel backs are fine. I'll never notice if you have one on unless I'm stuck to your wheel. For me I prefer to not have the weight up there.

I put my carbohydrate in my bottles so I don't have to fumble with wrappers often while riding. I do take some gels, power bar, Snickers bar or something on longer rides. Or sometimes a bag of raisins, dried figs or dried apricots can be a real treat.
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Old 11-19-22, 11:32 AM
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There are gel flasks that you can put multiple servings in.

Some people find that too many gels will sour their stomach. For me, gels are a last resort fuel after taking solid nutrition first. Then again, 3 1/2 hours isn't that long, so maybe you'll be fine.
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Old 11-19-22, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
8 gels in a 3 1/2 hour ride? 8 gels is 800 Calories. That seems like a lot! That's half the Calories you're burning.
Yeah, that's the point. Calories I'm burning are calories I need to complete the ride. If I don't eat it, then it has to come from somewhere else. Maybe my metabolism is unusual, but my body just doesn't have the energy reserves to get me through a ride that long without taking in some carbs, and/or it can't convert fat to energy fast enough to keep me going. I have really struggled on longer rides, and it's clearly because I have failed to supply myself with enough or the right kind of energy sources along the way. However, I don't think I'm that unusual in this regard. Everything I've been reading about it suggests that 60g per hour is what a rider my weight should be taking in for the kind of riding I'm doing (not racing, which requires even more).
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Old 11-19-22, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
8 gels in a 3 1/2 hour ride? 8 gels is 800 Calories. That seems like a lot! That's half the Calories you're burning..
Originally Posted by UnCruel
Everything I've been reading about it suggests that 60g per hour is what a rider my weight should be taking in for the kind of riding I'm doing (not racing, which requires even more).
Just a minute, let me get my calculator out.
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Old 11-19-22, 01:12 PM
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I’ll sometimes put a gel or pack of gummies on my thigh under my bib shorts during an aquabike/triathlon event so I have easy access to it early in the ride. I put it there during the transition from swim to bike. I can also put the finished gel/wrapper in the same place so I don’t litter.
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Old 11-19-22, 02:00 PM
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I too put the gels, bars and chews in my jersey pockets. Reaching around is easy and if you learn to rip most of the top of the gel top off, but not all of it, it makes it easier to stow when done.

I also carry in my jersey pockets, wallet, car keys, cell phone.
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Old 11-19-22, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel
Yeah, that's the point. Calories I'm burning are calories I need to complete the ride. If I don't eat it, then it has to come from somewhere else. Maybe my metabolism is unusual, but my body just doesn't have the energy reserves to get me through a ride that long without taking in some carbs, and/or it can't convert fat to energy fast enough to keep me going. I have really struggled on longer rides, and it's clearly because I have failed to supply myself with enough or the right kind of energy sources along the way. However, I don't think I'm that unusual in this regard. Everything I've been reading about it suggests that 60g per hour is what a rider my weight should be taking in for the kind of riding I'm doing (not racing, which requires even more).
\Well, you know your body/metabolism/performance better than anyone else! I'm different - a good, but not huge breakfast and coffee and I can go 4 1/2 hours with just what I described, without any feeling of low blood sugar.

Personally, if I had to ingest 800 Cal on a ride, I'd want at least some of it to be more solid. Bars, or at least chews. I find both easier to deal with than gels, because neither one leaves a sticky mess on my hands. You'll want to experiment with different bars, see which is easiest to open on the fly, but also which agrees with you.
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Old 11-19-22, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel
Yeah, that's the point. Calories I'm burning are calories I need to complete the ride. If I don't eat it, then it has to come from somewhere else. Maybe my metabolism is unusual, but my body just doesn't have the energy reserves to get me through a ride that long without taking in some carbs, and/or it can't convert fat to energy fast enough to keep me going. I have really struggled on longer rides, and it's clearly because I have failed to supply myself with enough or the right kind of energy sources along the way. However, I don't think I'm that unusual in this regard. Everything I've been reading about it suggests that 60g per hour is what a rider my weight should be taking in for the kind of riding I'm doing (not racing, which requires even more).
Unless you've got some kind of medical condition, I don't think that you should really *need* constant fueling at ~3hrs of low or even moderate intensity; your body should have a couple thousand calories on tap via glycogen stores. If you can, start doing your shorter rides in the morning while fasted, and at low-ish intensity (Zone 2) to get your body (and mind) used to the load, while working off of reserves. I can wake up and hammer out 62miles/100km with nothing but water (beyond that, my output starts to droop unless I have some snackies).

Oh, and pay attention to your water intake. I think that a lot of people that "bonk" on the bike are dehydrated, rather than running out of fuel.
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Old 11-19-22, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel
I'm not. If I was, I would have also been too worried to ask here. I'm certainly much more likely to be treated harshly here than on the road.

I was asking because I thought maybe there were other solutions I wasn't aware of.
Carry Two behind the Saddle.
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Old 11-19-22, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
Unless you've got some kind of medical condition, I don't think that you should really *need* constant fueling at ~3hrs of low or even moderate intensity; your body should have a couple thousand calories on tap via glycogen stores. If you can, start doing your shorter rides in the morning while fasted, and at low-ish intensity (Zone 2) to get your body (and mind) used to the load, while working off of reserves. I can wake up and hammer out 62miles/100km with nothing but water (beyond that, my output starts to droop unless I have some snackies).

Oh, and pay attention to your water intake. I think that a lot of people that "bonk" on the bike are dehydrated, rather than running out of fuel.
100

100 Mile Breakfast Good for Four Hours.
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Old 11-19-22, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
100

100 Mile Breakfast Good for Four Hours.
You can do 100 miles in four hours on that breakfast? Good for you! I don't know that I could choke that down with anything short of the promise of magical on-bike performance - it looks like dreck.
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Old 11-19-22, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
You can do 100 miles in four hours on that breakfast? Good for you! I don't know that I could choke that down with anything short of the promise of magical on-bike performance - it looks like dreck.
Lunch TWO Peanutbutter w Jam Sandwiches and a Coke.
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Old 11-19-22, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Lunch TWO Peanutbutter w Jam Sandwiches and a Coke.
So you're trying to gain weight on the ride?
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Old 11-19-22, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel
Yeah, that's the point. Calories I'm burning are calories I need to complete the ride. If I don't eat it, then it has to come from somewhere else. Maybe my metabolism is unusual, but my body just doesn't have the energy reserves to get me through a ride that long without taking in some carbs, and/or it can't convert fat to energy fast enough to keep me going. I have really struggled on longer rides, and it's clearly because I have failed to supply myself with enough or the right kind of energy sources along the way. However, I don't think I'm that unusual in this regard. Everything I've been reading about it suggests that 60g per hour is what a rider my weight should be taking in for the kind of riding I'm doing (not racing, which requires even more).
Originally Posted by WhyFi
Unless you've got some kind of medical condition, I don't think that you should really *need* constant fueling at ~3hrs of low or even moderate intensity; your body should have a couple thousand calories on tap via glycogen stores. If you can, start doing your shorter rides in the morning while fasted, and at low-ish intensity (Zone 2) to get your body (and mind) used to the load, while working off of reserves. I can wake up and hammer out 62miles/100km with nothing but water (beyond that, my output starts to droop unless I have some snackies).

Oh, and pay attention to your water intake. I think that a lot of people that "bonk" on the bike are dehydrated, rather than running out of fuel.
There are very fit people who lack the “metabolic flexibility” to switch efficiently to fat burning during exercise or fasting. Metabolic inflexibility is also associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and other aspects of metabolic syndrome, so it’s probably not a wonderful thing even in athletes. The good news is that metabolic flexibility is trainable to some degree in everyone, by diet, low-intensity training, fasting, etc. Elite road cyclists are probably the most metabolically flexible individuals in existence and they train specifically for it.
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Old 11-19-22, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
So you're trying to gain weight on the ride?
Nope
2000 mile month. I ride in the Texas Heat.
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Old 11-19-22, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha
There are very fit people who lack the “metabolic flexibility” to switch efficiently to fat burning during exercise or fasting. Metabolic inflexibility is also associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and other aspects of metabolic syndrome, so it’s probably not a wonderful thing even in athletes. The good news is that metabolic flexibility is trainable to some degree in everyone, by diet, low-intensity training, fasting, etc. Elite road cyclists are probably the most metabolically flexible individuals in existence and they train specifically for it.
You can say it - I'm elite.
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Old 11-19-22, 03:32 PM
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Food goes in jersey pocket. Use a drink mix if you want more calories.

Your caloric “needs” seem excessive but you gotta give your body what it needs.
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Old 11-19-22, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
You can say it - I'm elite.
I can honestly say I’ve never even seen you eat.
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Old 11-19-22, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha
I can honestly say I’ve never even seen you eat.
This reminds me, we'll be staying in Arlington for a few days during the holiday trip. Who knows if I'll be able to get any rides in - the family will have a museum itinerary, I'm sure - but I'll be around.
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