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What's needed for a century ride (as far as drinks/supplements are concerned)

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

What's needed for a century ride (as far as drinks/supplements are concerned)

Old 06-16-09, 05:36 PM
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calbrner
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What's needed for a century ride (as far as drinks/supplements are concerned)

Do I need energy packs? how many bottles of water would you bring, etc. etc.

Thanks!
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Old 06-16-09, 05:44 PM
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Depends. Everyone is different. General guidelines in the absence of any experience is somewhere around a bottle of water and 250 cal per hour.
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Old 06-16-09, 05:52 PM
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About 1000 calories and 80 oz of fluids does it for me, but as umd said, everyone is different. Probably time on the road is more of a factor than distance, and what I bring takes me through about 6 hours of riding on a moderate day.

Try doing 50 miles and see what you use, and practice eating a little every 10 miles or so.
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Old 06-16-09, 05:55 PM
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On my first century we had breakfast, a snack, and lunch. If you can plan your route to be able to get water and food along the ride. It is difficult to try and take everything you would need with you. Just remember to take it easy at the start, it is easy to go out to hard and then have nothing in the tank near the end. It is that last 20 or so miles where you will start to feel all the miles that you have put in. Good Luck
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Old 06-16-09, 05:58 PM
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It also depends on the temperature that day, etc. If you plan on riding within easy access to convenience stores or gas stations the penalty on underestimating your needs is not as bad as when you ride in rural surrounding.

edit: also, it is important to drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry.
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Old 06-16-09, 05:59 PM
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It will depend, with low temps, I might only drink 2.5 bottles, quite a few more when its hot out. I generally start out with a clif bar, pack of block shots and buy a candy bar when I refill my bottles around the halfway point. I probably average around 1100 calories for a ~5.75 hour century
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Old 06-16-09, 06:06 PM
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Whatever you use, practice with it on shorter rides.
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Old 06-16-09, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DScott View Post
Whatever you use, practice with it on shorter rides.
+1
Even after doing this for a few years I forgot this simple fact and tried a honey stinger bar on a century a couple months ago.
The results were not pretty. Several trips to a port-a-potty at an aid station and quite a bit of pain.
I have a terribly sensitive stomach.
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Old 06-16-09, 07:06 PM
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I certainly have a preference for regular food (granola bars, peanut butter crackers, even Little Debbie fruit pies) as opposed to gels, clif bloks, shots, etc.

I typically just stop at a gas station once or twice.

--Steve
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Old 06-16-09, 07:18 PM
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In Summer, I start out with one Bottle of HEED and one bottle of plain water, a flask of Hammer Gel, three Cliff Bars, a package of Shot Blox, and two baggies of HEED (each pre-measured to mix up one bottle). Also enough Endurolyte caps for the planned time on the road. I stop at gas stations for bananas, more water, and maybe sandwiches if I'm really hungry.
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Old 06-16-09, 07:25 PM
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Is it a supported ride? If so, you may only need enough water to get from rest stop to rest stop.

Here's what I do:

I use Nuun tablets in water. That way I'm not counting on somebody's sketchy gatorade mixing skills to get my electolytes. Drop a tab and a half in a bottle of water, and you've got a nice electrolyte mix.

I used a combo of GU packs, Clif shot blocks, and Clif bars on my century on Sunday. I try to drink one bottle every hour, and have my computer to "auto-lap" every 10 miles. So each time the auto-lap happens, I use it as an alarm, and I reach into my jersey pocket and eat SOMETHING (one of the three options I mentioned). If I pull out a bar, I'll probably just have a bite or two rather than eat the whole thing. If I nibble every 10 miles (every 30-40 minutes) I'm ok.

Finally take some money with you (supported ride or not). I've been on "supported" rides where all they've had is banannas and water. If you don't carry your own food and the rest stops don't have good options, having some cash to buy a snickers bar or a bottle of gatorade at a gas station can be a life saver.
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Old 06-16-09, 07:35 PM
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Like NYJayhawk I'm a fan of Nuun tablets and Shot Blox, though you can get away with just water and a few bananas if you really wanted to.

Assuming it's a supported ride, just bring two large water bottles and enough snacks for up to 30 or so miles. You can fill up at the rest stops and refuel there as well.

If it's unsupported, then plan out where you'll need to stop, maybe halfway. If there's no services along the way, bring a bunch of water obviously, and make sure you know what works for you food-wise after 70 miles or so.

The last 20 miles will probably suck worse than you can imagine, but after you're done you'll love it.

Besides food don't forget at least a tube, patch kit, pump, c02 or whatever. Even on a supported ride you might be in between rest stops and get a flat, which will most likely be the first mechanical issue you'll hit.

Have fun!
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Old 06-16-09, 08:26 PM
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last tuesday, unsuported, solo, 101 miles, 3 bottles of gator aid and a large snickers bar. and yes the last 15 miles were unbelievably cruel, I loved every second.
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Old 06-16-09, 09:55 PM
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last saturday, unsupported solo, 103 miles ~6300 ft climbing. one reg water bottle, one reg bottle gatorade, one stop for a 20 oz pepsi and a 8 oz of fig newtons. the weather was cold (for socal in june) at ~65º.

have done a shorter version (~90 miles) of this ride in 95º and i used a 70oz camelback with water and lots of ice, two water bottles of gatorade, a 32 oz soda and later a 12oz soda and probably some other water thrown in there and was still 10 lbs lighter than when i started
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Old 06-16-09, 10:06 PM
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depending on speed - water, sports drink, dried fruit, sleeping bag, flare gun, change of bib shorts, razor, fire making materials...
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Old 06-17-09, 03:33 AM
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Supplements? Energy packs?

None.

Real food?

As much as you want to eat ... just keep eating regularly and aim for about 250 calories per hour.
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Old 06-17-09, 03:37 AM
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My vice is stopping at little country stores and picking up a Diet Pepsi or a Diet Coke. I should stick to water, but I canna do it...
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Old 06-17-09, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
My vice is stopping at little country stores and picking up a Diet Pepsi or a Diet Coke. I should stick to water, but I canna do it...
this is something you would definitely want to experiment with before the big ride. drinking carbonated beverages kills my stomach on the bike.

that said, i know its frowned upon in here, but on unsupported long rides i fill a small camelback with water and bring 2 bottle fulls of gatorade. i'll stash kashi granola bars in the camelback and life is bliss.
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Old 06-17-09, 05:45 AM
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also, maybe you already thought of this, but on long rides its doubly important to remember to have some kind of ID on your person with emergency contact info and any pertinent medical info.
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Old 06-17-09, 06:45 AM
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Top advice above. In addition, you will definitely want some sort of electrolyte stuff just in case (especially if you've never done a century before). I've been really lucky and not needed to use it but I still take some after the half way point of each century ride. You don't want to be cramping with 20 miles to go. That's the truth.
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Old 06-17-09, 07:58 AM
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Just did a century last weekend.

3 bottles of Gatorade. Nothing to eat.

Probably not smart but I actually had negative splits and on a solo ride over rolling terrain with way too many turns and stop lights (followed road markings - unfamiliar with route) averaged almost 19 mph (1 stop, 2 minutes to fill a bottle). 19 mph was total time not riding time
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Old 06-17-09, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by NYJayhawk View Post
Is it a supported ride? If so, you may only need enough water to get from rest stop to rest stop.
I treat all centuries as unsupported! Seems like every organized ride I've attended, at least one of the rest stops runs out of something or the other. Plain, unflavored, uncarbonated water is usually high on the list of missing essentials...
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Old 06-17-09, 11:20 AM
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I assume you are talking about unsupported centuries. On supported centuries, I carry water and that is all I drink. I eat snacks and try to keep the indulgence from getting out of hand.

Solo, I go with water. I will stop at a convenience store a couple of times during the ride and get some small snacks. That is about it.
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Old 06-17-09, 11:24 AM
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I had a bowl of chili in the middle of an 80 mile ride the other day. No one drafted off of me on the way home.


Everyone is different. If it is a century "event" I would not carry too much. Aid stations are always well stocked with what you need. Still, I tend to carry a couple of gel packs "just in case", a cliff bar for a snack, and a bag of blocks.
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