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Pre-ride fueling...lesson learned

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Pre-ride fueling...lesson learned

Old 06-11-18, 07:19 PM
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Pre-ride fueling...lesson learned

I'm offering this in hopes that it may be instructive. On Saturday I decided to do a solo 31 mi. ride. This ride has about 1700 ft. of elevation. It also has five Strava segments. The last of these is a hill that is about 2.5 mi. long. Since I'm "elevation challenged", I decided to save my energy for that segment rather than try to hit all the segments hard. As I started out I hadn't really eaten much so I took some Hammer Gel and made sure I had a large bottle of water with me. I rode easily, spinning effortlessly until I got about 20 mi. in and hit segments 3 (3.9 mi.) & 4 (1.6 mi.) that are both pretty flat and fast (at least, for some). I was still feeling good so I picked up the pace and averaged about 20 mph for both segments. As I approached the 2.5 mi. hill my intention was to try to crush it. I didn't exactly blow up but I was pathetic. Legs had nothing. Struggled the entire way. When I got home I had averaged 13.7 mph for the ride. I was bummed. I had eaten all my gel and finished my water and at no time did I feel like I was bonking but I sucked. I was exhausted. When I ran this by a friend who used to race he basically said, "You didn't fuel. That's what happens." I was thinking "But, I didn't feel that bad." I rested on Sunday. Today my gf wanted to do that exact ride. This time I ate before the ride and brought my gel and a banana with me. Finished both during the ride. I did about as well on the fast bits and rode that hill a full minute faster and felt strong doing it. Nasty headwinds slowed me on the hill this time. Best of all, on the final 3 mi. flat run home I felt like a beast. Probably did that stretch faster than I have all year. And, at ride's end, I actually felt energized. We did the ride at 14.7 mph. A lesson learned that I thought I'd share. FWIW, I will be 72 next week. There's always something to learn on the bike. Hope this helps someone.
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Old 06-12-18, 10:21 AM
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I've heard that exercising in a fasted condition can be good to shock the body or some such thing. I've also read of people who do this regularly. I've tried it, and like you, it sucks for me.
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Old 06-12-18, 04:58 PM
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Fasted riding may help kickstart your metabolism. Check the GCN video tutorials and take it very easy. If you have an indoor trainer you might start on that.

I did some fasting rides of 20-30 miles back in late April-early May, before being injured by a car hitting me. Those routes typically include 1,000-1,500 elevation gain over roller coasters. My goal was to pare down the last 3-5 lbs of fluff around my midsection by summer. Won't happen now as I'm still recovering from the injury.

I fully expected to bonk but it didn't happen. Felt pretty good, surprisingly. Having bonked a few times over the decades, especially in early morning workouts, I was fully on board with a good breakfast -- usually oatmeal with yogurt and bananas, coffee with cream and sugar. That always fueled me well for 20-40 miles before I even thought about eating, and sometimes I'd go 50.

I watched some videos on fasted riding, notably on GCN, and followed their suggestions to ease up, moderate steady effort, no sprints or charging up climbs, no attempts at new PRs or KOMs. I started early when it was still cool and it had been 8-12 hours since my last meal. I chose only mornings when I felt well rested after a good night's sleep and had no unusual life stresses on my mind that day. I drank plenty of water with electrolytes. I took one or two gels but didn't use them.

My average speeds were only slightly slower than my usual, around 15-16 mph rather than 17-18 mph. Felt like I was going much easier. It only takes a little less effort to feel much easier.

Felt great afterward. Ravenous appetite but didn't bother me during the rides. My weight drifted down a bit from 160 to 158.

I haven't been able to ride in a month since my shoulder was borked by a car. I just got a trainer from a friend and after a month of very moderate physical therapy I think I can support my weight well enough to stay upright on indoor trainer. For the next week I'll just do very easy rides, but I plan to resume the fasted riding thing on the indoor trainer once or twice a week in the morning.

BTW, I'd be wary of combining HIIT or any strenuous interval training too soon in the week with fasted riding. I benefited from HIIT last summer, which got me past a plateau in conditioning. But I overdid it and was regressing by autumn. I don't plan to resume a once-weekly interval training schedule for at least two-three months, possibly longer -- might even be more sensible if I waited until cooler weather in the autumn (I no longer like to call any season "fall" in relation to cycling!). For now I just want to get on the indoor trainer and move my legs again.

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Old 06-13-18, 10:05 AM
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This is why it's good to keep not just a training log but also a food log. Over time you'll accumulate lots of data points that will help you determine what to eat during a ride, before a ride, the day before, etc.

In your situation it sounds like your body was limiting your performance so that you didn't bonk.
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Old 06-13-18, 10:54 PM
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My long hard ride recipe is pretty simple: 300-400 calorie breakfast, just carbs and protein, no fat. Then 14 oz. of my maltodextrin/whey protein powder mix per 100 miles, a little every 15 minutes or more at the tops of passes. This has never failed me. I can manage a very respectable hill sprint at the end of a double. Legs forever, that's the thing. Diet and training. The solid info on how to do anything you want is all out there. The problem is that the internet has diluted reality with a lot of BS, very evident here on BF. I'm signed up again this year for my annual 150+ mile 10,000' event ride. That's what I use on it, no food from the tables except for 1 sandwich at about 120 miles.
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Old 06-14-18, 05:20 PM
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Of course itís fine to eat during and before a ride, no big deal if you want to do that.

But absolutely you can train to work hard in a fasted state. It doesnít take me long to look back at my data to find a ride thatís 31 miles long with 1200 ft of climbing that I did in the morning on just a cup of black coffee. Nothing else before or during the ride. Total workout intensity was 85% but that includes warm up/cool down/rest between intervals that accounted for 40 min of the 1:50 ride. Two twenty minute threshold intervals plus 30 min of tempo riding.

Now just because I can do it, doesnít mean you can do it. Itís something that improves with training, like speed and fitness. The conclusion perhaps that OP should reach is: ďright now, for the place I am with my cycling and the way I train/ride, eating before and during a 30 mile ride helpsĒ. Itís not really that everybody universally should eat before a 30 mile ride.

Or honestly you might just have had an inexplicably bad day. Happens to me regularly, and Iíve learned not to read too much into it.
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Old 06-15-18, 05:39 AM
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As I look back on it, I think part of the problem was that I had cut my calories severely for at least a week before that ride. (part of a calorie reduction regime in which I lost 10 lbs in 4 months) In the past a 31 mi. ride would not have affected me badly. Or, as you say, just a bad day.
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Old 06-15-18, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
As I look back on it, I think part of the problem was that I had cut my calories severely for at least a week before that ride. (part of a calorie reduction regime in which I lost 10 lbs in 4 months) In the past a 31 mi. ride would not have affected me badly. Or, as you say, just a bad day.
What you eat the day before plays a significant role in how you feel on a morning ride. If youíve been eating normally, even in a fasted state, the average rider will have 1500-2000 Cals of glycogen stored in their body after a nights sleep, which is plenty for a 2-3 hr ride even at high intensity.

Training in a glycogen depleted state usually requires two a day workouts with the second one coming after inadequate refueling. I sometimes commute home in a depleted state and find it unpleasant so I canít imagine doing it on a regular basis.
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