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Low blood sugar help

Old 05-21-04, 06:39 AM
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I went on a ride this week with some friends and one of the folks in our group ran out of gas, completely.
Anybody have any recommendations on what food / bar / gel / sugar cubes that I could pack with me for situations like this?
It completely killed our trip. This poor person pretty much dropped his bike, and passed out on someones lawn for 45 minutes, and was wiped out for the rest of the day. Trip canceled.
Looking for something small, that packs well (preferably saddle bag) and lasts forever for emergency use only.

I'm one of those people that carrys a spare meal (tire?) everywhere and always has energy, but I find that people with low sugar tend to forget to pack sugar...

Any help at all would be appreciated.

Joat
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Old 05-21-04, 06:46 AM
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How many miles did he go before he bonked? When was his last meal? How often had he been drinking? Sounds like he didn't fuel up at all before the ride, and maybe dehydration. Did anybody give him a Power Gel or a banana? I've found that a bowl of cereal is a good pre-ride meal, as well as fruits like bananas and oranges. During a ride I'll only eat something easily digestable like a Power Gel, or maybe an energy bar if we're going to rest for a while.
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Old 05-21-04, 06:51 AM
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He definately did NOT eat enough before we left. We had only gone about 25 miles when he started slowing down, and 35 was about when he crapped out. We had plenty of water, so I'm pretty sure that was not it. In fact, he drank his bottle and mine.

Power Gel sounds like an idea. I will look for those. I'm looking for maximum carb / calorie products that taste better than an MRE...
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Old 05-21-04, 06:58 AM
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get some honey packets from Hardee's or something. its free and stays indefinitely in all types of weather.
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Old 05-21-04, 07:58 AM
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25 or 35 miles and out cold? Sounds like the distance was just too much for this person. Generally, you have 90-120 minutes of hard riding in you before you run out of glycogen stores (i.e., readily available energy).

Was this distance new to the rider?

Another possibility is a medical condition. Has the person seen a doc lately?

Last edited by stevetone; 05-21-04 at 07:59 AM. Reason: More information
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Old 05-21-04, 08:03 AM
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Nah, he's done that and more before. He's also on his schools cross country team and the track team. He's in great shape. It's just that if he forgets to stoke up before a trip his sugar won't last.
My wife is the same way. Different body types have different levels of readily available sugar / energy.
I can skip meals for two days and keep on going with nothing more than a rumble in my belly. Other people get tired if they eat lunch late.

Different metabolisms.
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Old 05-21-04, 08:41 AM
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That's a classic bonk. Have him do a websearch on carbo loading. Here's a site to get started carbo loading
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Old 05-21-04, 09:49 AM
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You need to get a good breakfast and eat during the ride. No secret packet you can take to ride without eating and last all day.

Eat before and during.
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Old 05-21-04, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Xavier
You need to get a good breakfast and eat during the ride. No secret packet you can take to ride without eating and last all day.

Eat before and during.
All of that is understood. Unfortunately, he didn't eat before we left. And we didn't pack food because it wasn't really that long of a trip. Poor planning on his part all the way. I'm not looking for a secret pill to cure the lunch time blues I'm just looking for some suggestions on a good high carb high calorie low weight / package emergency ration that I can hand off to someone who failed to eat properly.

Doug
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Old 05-21-04, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Joat
All of that is understood. Unfortunately, he didn't eat before we left. And we didn't pack food because it wasn't really that long of a trip. Poor planning on his part all the way. I'm not looking for a secret pill to cure the lunch time blues I'm just looking for some suggestions on a good high carb high calorie low weight / package emergency ration that I can hand off to someone who failed to eat properly.

Doug
Doug, I'm been dealing with low blood sugar for 30 years. Avoid sugar! It burns quickly, and then you drop even lower than you were before. The best source of fuel for someone with low blood sugar is a Balance Energy Bar, available at W-M and grocery stores, and bike shops. It is designed with 40-30-30 nutrition (40% of calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, 30% from fat), which is perfect for anyone with a low-blood sugar problem. They are small. I always carry them in my bike bag for in-between meals and quick pick-me-ups whenever. Good luck to your friend.
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Old 05-21-04, 11:09 AM
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Awesome Twinrox!
Thats a huge help and it sounds like you know what he is dealing with perfectly.
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Old 05-21-04, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Joat
I'm just looking for some suggestions on a good high carb high calorie low weight / package emergency ration that I can hand off to someone who failed to eat properly.
That's mighty nice of you, Doug. I like to carry Enervit carbo tablets and Extran juice paks for what you describe. But, if you had given your friend the emergency packet say 15-20 miles into the ride it wouldn't of saved him. He hit the wall at 25 miles and limped for another 10. My guess ...and it's just a guess, is that he had very few glycogen stores at mile 1. You guys took off at a brisk pace from the start, which isn't unusual, and he hit his stores hard immediately. We know he didn't have goop to eat on the bike and the rest is history. In other words, he was sunk from the start. Your best bet is to be proactive and not responsive to nutritional needs. That's why pasta parties are common the night before a biggie.

I could pontificate on what I do but who cares. Here's another site that has a lot of sport nutrition info for high endurance sports delivered by nutritional scientists. another site
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Old 05-21-04, 11:18 AM
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Man, all I can say is, I'm glad this is not a problem for me personally. I like to just hop on my bike and go.

I really appreciate all the good feedback and suggestions.

On a side note, what is considered a "long" ride? When I was biking more regularly, it was not uncommon to do 50 to 70 miles on a casual trip basis, and 90 to 110 when we had places to go which was really pushing it. Where is the line for most bikers in terms of a serious trip? I mostly bike with people around 20 years younger than myself, and they seem to be in pretty good shape. I typically average between 15 and 18 mph, and sustain that for 8 or more hours with no real hardship. Is that a reasonable goal for folks in their early 20's?

Just curious. I seem to end up being the "den leader" and I want to make sure that they all have an enjoyable time.
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Old 05-21-04, 11:20 AM
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GU. This gel works well, easy on the stomach (for me), and tastes OK. If he has a tendancy to bonk, he should have one 30 - 45 minutes before the ride, and then one every 30 minutes of hard riding.
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Old 05-21-04, 11:21 AM
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I've always found that staying very well hydrated before a hard athletic event (be it a ride or a race) does wonders. Before I run a 5K, I'll start drinking a few liters of Gatorade about 4 hours before the race, tapering it off so I'm just sipping before the start and don't have to go to the bathroom, either. Staying hydrated during a long event is critical, of course, but being well hydrated to start with can do wonders.
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Old 05-21-04, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Joat
I went on a ride this week with some friends and one of the folks in our group ran out of gas, completely.
Anybody have any recommendations on what food / bar / gel / sugar cubes that I could pack with me for situations like this?
It completely killed our trip. This poor person pretty much dropped his bike, and passed out on someones lawn for 45 minutes, and was wiped out for the rest of the day. Trip canceled.
Looking for something small, that packs well (preferably saddle bag) and lasts forever for emergency use only.

I'm one of those people that carrys a spare meal (tire?) everywhere and always has energy, but I find that people with low sugar tend to forget to pack sugar...

Any help at all would be appreciated.

Joat
All of these recommendations are great and are good ideas. Each ones body is different (as far as conditioning) but we all burn energy the same. When you are spent, you are spent and don't want to continue. When that happens to me (lifting, riding, etc.) to the point of puking, it will almost always work to sip a little OJ (Not From Concentrate) to get your brain back on track. Gatorade also works but will tend to make you still want to puke. Your body naturally wants something fresh. Keep a little 8oz container of OJ with you.
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Old 05-21-04, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by telenick
I could pontificate on what I do but who cares. Here's another site that has a lot of sport nutrition info for high endurance sports delivered by nutritional scientists. another site
rippin link, thanks
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Old 05-22-04, 04:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Joat
Man, all I can say is, I'm glad this is not a problem for me personally. I like to just hop on my bike and go.

I really appreciate all the good feedback and suggestions.

On a side note, what is considered a "long" ride? When I was biking more regularly, it was not uncommon to do 50 to 70 miles on a casual trip basis, and 90 to 110 when we had places to go which was really pushing it. Where is the line for most bikers in terms of a serious trip? I mostly bike with people around 20 years younger than myself, and they seem to be in pretty good shape. I typically average between 15 and 18 mph, and sustain that for 8 or more hours with no real hardship. Is that a reasonable goal for folks in their early 20's?

Just curious. I seem to end up being the "den leader" and I want to make sure that they all have an enjoyable time.
A "long" ride is really pretty subjective. I can crank out 50 miles without eating in the morning, just get up and go. Beyond that, I need a little fuel. But riding 100 miles is not really that hard, it is just a matter of spending the time to do the miles. 100 miles is really pretty easily accomplished by most people with a little work and conditioning and the proper approach. But for other people, 10 miles is a big deal. I recall doing a tour that the club I belonged to put on from Lansing to St. Ignace and which we did in 5 days with 2 centuries thrown in and the others were metrics or better. Well, we went out to Mackinaw Island. There is a path around the island and they sell T Shirts there that are emblazoned with I RODE ALL THE WAY AROUND MACKINAW ISLAND!!!! which is oh about 6 miles.

So go figure. You need to know your target audience. Also some people just do not do centuries. I know this one big gal. She is big and muscular and I mean big. She can pull at 25 mph but she always flames out after about 45 miles. As big and powerful as she is, she has never ridden a century. I knew this other gal and she looked like little Susy Bikerider. You know a sort of a newer rider and not really fast but respectable. Yeah and if you believed that..... She could ride forever and then some. She used to go and do those 24 hour bike rides and get in over 300 miles. She never rode really fast, she just did not stop or slow down. So you can never tell.
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Old 05-30-04, 09:44 PM
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On any ride over 2 hours . . .

1. Eat 250-300 calories per hour - interesting coincidence that energy bars are about that!

2. About every 5-6 hours stop for a meal - something that contains carbs, of course, but also fat and protein . . . like, say, a chicken sandwich.

3. Drink one 750 ml bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours - and you might want to alternate between water and a sports drink.

4. Especially if your rides are long and hot, make sure you eat something with salt along the way.

5. If you need to come back from a bonk, here's how (and these should be performed in fairly quick succession):
a) Drink sports drink
b) Eat a gel, or two
c) Drink some more sports drink
d) Slowly start nibbling an energy bar
In a few minutes you should be able to start riding again, but then you've GOT to keep nibbling energy bars and drinking the sports drink for a couple HOURS after. Bonks are hard to fully recover from, and the recovery process isn't fast.
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Old 05-30-04, 10:41 PM
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I'm a big fan of the gels. 1 before the ride and then every hour or so. They are easy on the stomach and give some good energy. They certainly help me.
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Old 05-31-04, 07:17 PM
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No matter what I eat I start running out of energy at about 30 mi. I'm hypoglycemic and I find that I can last if I carry an energy drink in my pack. I use Accelerade because it has some protein. I also carry a high protein bar like the Power Bar "high protein bar". If the ride is a long one and there are no sag stops I carry a peanut butter sandwich, an apple and trail mix with me. Before the ride I have oatmeal and a protein smoothie.
Gels and drinks with high sugar content cause me to feel weak and shakey and I avoid them. I also stop at every sag stop and eat something with a combination of carbs and protein. BTW, I am not on a high protein diet I just find that adding protein to my diet helps to keep the sugar level on an even keel.
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Old 05-31-04, 08:18 PM
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Fairly good advise here. It's not a 'blood sugar' issue - the guy just didn't have the glycogen stores to keep up. Everyone has a bad day, and with more than cycling going on in most of our lives, it's easy to forget to eat regular, eat the right types of food, stay hydrated, invest in good recovery etc.

Although we all love to consume, have the latest 'performance food' etc, it's really what you do before and after a ride that is the most critical. Some of the advise by some of the companies with vested interests in selling product is just ludacrous - "A 'Gel' every hour" or "half a litre of 'Performance Drink X' every hour" is just ridiculous. It doesn't make any difference if you're not eating well or have a good recovery technique.

And somedays you just feel crap, ride like crap, and would've been better off staying at home watching old footage of the TdF.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:47 AM
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I can't thank you folks enough for your input. We did 60 miles last Saturday, and with a little proper eating beforehand, and a Gel at a critical moment on the last leg, the ride went great!
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