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When to eat?

Old 05-14-16, 04:38 PM
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When to eat?

I ride to work twice a week right now. 23 miles each way. And once in the morning on the weekend. Which will either be a 30 mile ride or a 46 mile ride. Depending on the amount of time I have.

The only thing I bring with me for these rides is water. 3 normal sized bottles. I usually do these rides on an empty stomach and drink some BCAA's 30 minutes before the ride. I only get hungry on the morning 46 mile ride. I only get hungry on the 30 mile ride if I ate light or trained hard the day before at the gym.

I want to start doing some loner rides. Hopefully 100+ miles. I want to do some 3-4 day 100+ mile a day tours as well. So I'm curious how much food does someone normally bring on a 100 mile ride. Or do you even bring food for a 60 mile ride? Basically, when does eating while riding become "necessary."
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Old 05-14-16, 06:22 PM
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The usual wisdom is that you can use the glycogen stored in your body for about two hours of riding. Depleting it will lead to the feared bonk, so you should start eating before that. The age-old maxims still apply for endurance rides:

Eat before you're hungry.
Drink before you're thirsty.
Rest before you're tired.

How much food you bring along will depend on availability of outside food and your personal preferences. Some are just fine with bringing along a few PB&J sandwiches; others will demand a nice restaurant meal.

Last edited by stevepusser; 05-14-16 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 05-14-16, 07:15 PM
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Most people would stop at a store or something halfway through a 100 mile ride. Racers might go straight through on 2 bananas (when i was racing) or probably a few gels or whatever now. If you eat a pile of pasta or something the night before your glycogen will last longer before you bonk.

On a tour, I like to eat some oatmeal or other carb in the morning, stop somewhere for lunch of opportunity, and then cook something at camp at night. Additional stops at fruit stands and what not should be made as the opportunity arises. Enjoy yourself, that's the point.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 05-14-16 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 05-14-16, 07:58 PM
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I try to eat about 200 to 250 calories per hour during the ride, usually stop for about a 5 minute snack every hour to hour and a half for that snack. It usually consists of half a sandwich or half a power bar or a full granola bar during that 5 minute break. And an occasional ice cream bar at a convenience store is nice too. Before I start in the morning I have some breakfast, mostly carbohydrates, often in the 40 to 50 grams of carbs range for the breakfast. I try to eat a high protein meal for supper that may also have a lot of fats. But the breakfast is best without too much fat, as fats will slow me down in the morning.

But, I have toured with friends that want to have a big breakfast, then a big lunch, then a big supper with no snacks or stops in between. I have trouble having a big lunch and going out and putting out a high output ride all afternoon, everybody is different.

I also have toured with people that will start out in the morning with literally no food or drink at all, I must at least have some coffee in the morning. And I carry a pint thermos of coffee on tours, it usually lasts until mid morning.

3 or 4 day trips are not much, you can get it badly wrong and still get home on time. Eventually you figure out what works for you. It is the week after week kinds of trips where you fall into a routine and that routine has to be one that works for you.

Bring a box of a half dozen granola bars in addition to your other foods for those 3 to 4 day trips, then if you planned badly you still have that as a fall back for some quick calories.
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Old 05-14-16, 08:05 PM
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I take a few snacks or some GORP on just about every ride in case I decide to ride further or in case i hit long strong headwinds. Headwinds can REALLY eat up your energy reserves.

i figure it's better to have a bit of food on hand and not need it than it is to need it and not have. In addition, carrying a bit of food doesn't leave you wanting if the store you plan to stop at is closed for any reason.

Cheers
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Old 05-14-16, 08:11 PM
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Everyone is different so it's best to test for yourself. Go on a long ride with a couple of bars in your back pocket but don't eat until you start to feel weak. I did a fairly hard 120km today on 4 dates and still felt good at the end.
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Old 05-14-16, 08:24 PM
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The pithy advice for would be good citizens in the days of the wild west applies equally to eating on long distance rides. Vote (eat) early and often.

Edit: but don't eat a lot at once. Your stomach requires a lot of blood to digest food. That is oxygen your legs are not seeing.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 05-14-16 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 05-14-16, 08:57 PM
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Generally speaking ...

If you ride less than 2 hours, you don't need to eat anything over and above what you normally eat.

If you ride approx. 2-4 hours, you might want to consider consuming somewhere round about 100 cal/hour while you're out there.

If you ride more than 4 hours, you might want to consider consuming approx. 200 cal/hour.

All depending on conditions, of course ... and how fit you are.


On a tour, we usually have a fairly decent breakfast, then stop for lunch somewhere, and have a decent dinner. Plus some snacks in between.
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Old 05-14-16, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by sen2two
"When to eat?"

.....usually do these rides on an empty stomach......I only get hungry on the
morning 46 mile ride.
really? you need to access the collective wisdom of the intertubes
to tell you what yo mammy shoulda tolda when ya was liddle?

ohhhhh, da yutes a'taday! don't knows if theys hungry widout an app
ta tell 'em so. sheesh!


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Old 05-14-16, 09:37 PM
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Digestion Time Of Foods Is The Time Spent In The Stomach Before Emptying.

Always consider WHAT you are eating for the EFFORT you are giving. Easy riding usually means muscles are not requiring massive amounts of oxygen rich blood so foods that take longer to digest can be consumed without too much negative impact in performance. If a big climb is coming up or a hard, fast effort will be done, eat accordingly so the muscles get the oxygenated blood to perform instead of the blood being diverted to digestion.

NOTE.....look how long it takes for nuts to be digested.....HOURS!!!!!
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Old 05-14-16, 09:38 PM
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Eat a substantial breakfast before any long ride.

If it's going to be more than three hours or so, bring a granola bar or two (or something like that). And a credit card, in case that's not enough, so you can stop and get a snack somewhere.

Eat a big meal when you're done.
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Old 05-14-16, 10:07 PM
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On local rides up to ~50 mi/80 km I just take a bottle of sports drink or else just water. Fasting training is supposed to help increase fat-burning. I don't bonk, for me that only happened in the old days when doing hard race training.

On longer rides I eat lunch & snack. I don't know if it's absolutely necessary but OTOH seems like good insurance vs fatigue. In South Florida I liked the juice shops: fresh veg/fruit juice a great energy boost. On short tours one can run a bit of a calorie deficit & enjoy finishing w/leaner stronger legs.
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Old 05-15-16, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sen2two
Basically, when does eating while riding become "necessary."
It sounds like feeling hungry is normal for you. There are some states of mind that are enjoyable at the edge of ones capability or energy balance but wrt what is necessary I'd say that would be how much energy you'd like to have available when the unexpected happens or when the days ride is over and you have other things to do. Cycles of exertion and recovery can be as deep or easy as you desire while still covering the same miles each day. I found that leaving a little in the tank allowed for better recovery during the ride. Successive days of draining my reserves simply cut down peak capability and required forced rest.
When I was young and went from steady touring to race training it became clear very quickly that running the tank low and to hunger was counter productive. It's one thing to be hungry a few hours after a ride but if it's happening during the ride you're pretty much choosing to limit your power output till you get off the bike.



Stevepusser says it well.
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Old 05-15-16, 06:07 AM
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So after reading through this. What I take away from it is, listen to my body. Experiment with my needs and I will learn what I need.

I normally like to ride in a fasted cardio type situation to enhance the fat burning. I also to the same for my gym days. Over time I have noticed I train better on an empty stomach (not eating 3-4 hours before training). I feel lighter. But this might not be best for a tour.

I try to stay away from granola bars, gels, and other processed type foods. I'll bring 2 bananas and some mixed nuts and berries on my upcoming 60 miler. I'll use that to gauge my needs and adjust from there.
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Old 05-15-16, 06:12 AM
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Ps... this all came along because I just watched "Inspired to ride". Decent documentary. It's a bike race from the West Coast to East Coast. Check it out on Netflix.
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Old 05-15-16, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
really? you need to access the collective wisdom of the intertubes
to tell you what yo mammy shoulda tolda when ya was liddle?

ohhhhh, da yutes a'taday! don't knows if theys hungry widout an app
ta tell 'em so. sheesh!
I know you are just being a smartass, but I have to be honest, when I saw this fellows question, similar thoughts were in my head.

bottom line, Sen is to go with what works best for you. There is no way in heck I could ride without a good breakfast and snacks in between a properly sized lunch and end of day supper, I suspect this is more the average, but for you it really comes down to listening to your body and seeing what makes you feel best for that given day (as how you feel that particular day, wind, hills etc etc all affect how much energy you need).

and those folks who do events like that transam thing are pretty bonkers, but hey, it keeps them out of the pool halls (translation--they are nuts but hey, good on them if that is their thing).
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Old 05-15-16, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by sen2two
Ps... this all came along because I just watched "Inspired to ride". Decent documentary. It's a bike race from the West Coast to East Coast. Check it out on Netflix.
300 miles per day!!
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Old 05-15-16, 11:31 AM
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Which is just nuts! I don't forsee myself ever reaching that level. People that Reach that level must have either no job. Or a job they can do from a lap top at home. And no other hobbies or interests way so ever...

Or maybe just extremely gifted athletes who were born with the greater abilities. But I don't really believe in that...

I would really like to be at a comfortable 100 miles a day for 7 days. If I could pull something like that off, I would be ecstatic.
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Old 05-15-16, 12:06 PM
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All I will say is that if at some point riding, all you can think of is a pizza, you've waited too long and a bonkie she be comin'
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Old 05-15-16, 01:22 PM
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A few weeks ago I saw an article on a guy that is in the Race Across America, they briefly discuss nutrition in the article.
Wisconsin cyclist gears up for test of suffering, endurance

It is a paywall site, but I think you get a few free articles before you have to pay.
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Old 05-15-16, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
A few weeks ago I saw an article on a guy that is in the Race Across America, they briefly discuss nutrition in the article.
Wisconsin cyclist gears up for test of suffering, endurance

It is a paywall site, but I think you get a few free articles before you have to pay.
Now with $20,000 corporate sponsorship for a supported ride is not as impressive, to me, as Mike Hall's ride in Inspired to Ride. Not to mention how much shorter that southern route is.
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Old 05-15-16, 05:41 PM
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When to eat?

BEFORE you feel hungry. Once you feel hungry it can easily become a losing battle. You feel hungry or like you need instant energy so you eat/consume sugary drinks or food that digest fast and enter the bloodstream quickly but also burn up quickly which results in a drop which can cause the dread 'BONK" OR HITTING THE WALL'. Better to nibble along the way than to wait until you're on the verge of bonking to eat. The same with water/hydration. Drink BEFORE you feeel thirsty. Sipping at regular intervals is better than chugging quantities once you've become thirsty.

Cheers
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Old 05-15-16, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
A few weeks ago I saw an article on a guy that is in the Race Across America, they briefly discuss nutrition in the article.
Wisconsin cyclist gears up for test of suffering, endurance

It is a paywall site, but I think you get a few free articles before you have to pay.
Interesting article, the Haase team sure does their homework. In '87 I saw Michael Secrest win the RAAM in DC, his speech was kinda funny: First, he said ~"I'm really, really tired". Then he noted that ~"It kinda sucks that McDonalds is the race sponsor", !
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Old 05-15-16, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by sen2two
I would really like to be at a comfortable 100 miles a day for 7 days. If I could pull something like that off, I would be ecstatic.
You wont be comfortable putting out that much energy being hungry.
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Old 05-15-16, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by sen2two
I normally like to ride in a fasted cardio type situation to enhance the fat burning. I also to the same for my gym days. Over time I have noticed I train better on an empty stomach (not eating 3-4 hours before training). I feel lighter. But this might not be best for a tour.

I try to stay away from granola bars, gels, and other processed type foods. I'll bring 2 bananas and some mixed nuts and berries on my upcoming 60 miler. I'll use that to gauge my needs and adjust from there.
When you say "training" do you mean anaerobic gym workout or aerobic multi hour cycling? There is really no difference between "granola bars, gels, processed type foods" and mixed nuts and berries for your energy needs. Do you have excess fat you want to burn off? That can be addressed by simply riding a lot, not riding hungry.
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