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How the pros fuel for a long race

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How the pros fuel for a long race

Old 04-06-22, 08:11 AM
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How the pros fuel for a long race

Mathieu van der Poel's fueling plan for the Tour of Flanders last weekend.
(Oh, btw, spoiler alert: he won)


Steady intake, all day long. For details, see
https://cyclingtips.com/2022/04/100-...ition-sticker/

I can never understand the rice cakes, though. Too dry to be appealing on the bike.
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Old 04-06-22, 08:23 AM
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Key: Circles are rice cakes, rectangles are energy bars, gels are on the right, and of course, bottles of energy drink. The smiley face is apparently a caffeine gel.

Note that most of the "food" is early in the race.
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Old 04-06-22, 09:58 AM
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I need to start doing this for brevets. I always put off the calorie intake until later, when it's hard or impossible to catch up.
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Old 04-06-22, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I need to start doing this for brevets. I always put off the calorie intake until later, when it's hard or impossible to catch up.
IME the first 3 hours are critical. I'm rigid about that period both for food and hydration, and that period establishes my rhythm for the ride. Later in the ride, my body will tell me what I need, though that doesn't work for every one. I carry a 3-hour food bottle and I want it to be about empty after 3 hours or at controls. If it isn't, I suck it down. Everyone should have some way to check on their intake, as above!

I have a 15' timer on my Garmin. Van der Poel started with every 20k, then every 15k, then every 10k. That's interesting. He was averaging about 40km/hr, so my 15' fueling intervals are about the same as his after 150k, I just take in a lot less!
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Old 04-06-22, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
IME the first 3 hours are critical. I'm rigid about that period both for food and hydration, and that period establishes my rhythm for the ride. Later in the ride, my body will tell me what I need, though that doesn't work for every one. I carry a 3-hour food bottle and I want it to be about empty after 3 hours or at controls. If it isn't, I suck it down. Everyone should have some way to check on their intake, as above!

I have a 15' timer on my Garmin. Van der Poel started with every 20k, then every 15k, then every 10k. That's interesting. He was averaging about 40km/hr, so my 15' fueling intervals are about the same as his after 150k, I just take in a lot less!
Yeah, as it says in the article, normal people shouldn't consume the actual quantity/time that van der Poel eats during a race. The timing might translate better.
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Old 04-06-22, 05:44 PM
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Old 04-06-22, 05:52 PM
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There is an ultra endurance software expert type down in Orlando Florida area who wrote an APP for the Garmin to beep and tell you what and when to eat and drink. You enter this info prior to the start. I am not sure if it is allowed to say his real name? I understand he made it freely available. It can be hard to keep up with hydration and eating.....
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Old 04-08-22, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Yeah, as it says in the article, normal people shouldn't consume the actual quantity/time that van der Poel eats during a race. The timing might translate better.
Why not?

120g carbs = 480 calories using the normal convention, one burns even 500 calories on an easy hour. Granted not all are carbs, some will be burnt as fat, but if you aren't interested in weight loss, I see no issue going up to 480 calories consumed per hour. The more I consume during a ride, the less hungry I feel after.

Of course you may not tolerate that, but that is a separate issue.
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Old 04-10-22, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I can never understand the rice cakes, though. Too dry to be appealing on the bike.
They're not like the rice cakes you buy at a supermarket -- not dry at all.
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Old 04-10-22, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
They're not like the rice cakes you buy at a supermarket -- not dry at all.
That's what they're not. So what are they? Recipe? Brand?
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Old 04-10-22, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
That's what they're not. So what are they? Recipe? Brand?
I donít know if you can buy them off the shelf, but there are a lot of recipes floating around out there. Try googling Allen Lim - Iím sure he has posted his recipe. (I always got mine from a support vehicle.)
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Old 04-10-22, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Why not?

120g carbs = 480 calories using the normal convention, one burns even 500 calories on an easy hour. Granted not all are carbs, some will be burnt as fat, but if you aren't interested in weight loss, I see no issue going up to 480 calories consumed per hour. The more I consume during a ride, the less hungry I feel after.

Of course you may not tolerate that, but that is a separate issue.
Yes, that's totally the issue. I figure half my burn is just right, and that works for me because it's such a small amount that my stomach can handle it. As the watts go up, stomach training becomes just another part of one's training.
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Old 04-10-22, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
I donít know if you can buy them off the shelf, but there are a lot of recipes floating around out there. Try googling Allen Lim - Iím sure he has posted his recipe. (I always got mine from a support vehicle.)
https://www.skratchlabs.com/blogs/re...rice-cake-prep
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Old 04-10-22, 08:55 AM
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I don't care how the professionals fuel during a race, because that's only a very small portion of what they do to be able to perform at that level. How they fuel during a race is an extension of how they fuel during their entire career. And not all of them fuel in the same manner, because we're all different, so which professional do you pick to copy?

Furthermore, I don't see professional athletes as a model of health that I want to emulate; don't get me wrong, I love watching the elites just as much as the next guy, but it ends there. These people do not live real lives, they are not as healthy as one might think, based on their performance. I'm sure many of us that are concerned with health are healthier than many professionals, but that's not to say we won't get our ass kicked in a race with them.

This retired professional runner explains it best in this quick 10-minute video. He was one of the fastest 800-meter runners in the world, but he suffered from a lot of health issues. Very interesting look into the world of professional athletes. I'm sure this applies to professional cyclists. How many times have we heard about a rider contracting an illness and having to drop from the Tour?

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Old 04-10-22, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I don't care how the professionals fuel during a race, because that's only a very small portion of what they do to be able to perform at that level.
Proper fueling can help any rider.
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Old 04-10-22, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Proper fueling can help any rider.
No doubt....
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Old 04-10-22, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I don't care how the professionals fuel during a race, because that's only a very small portion of what they do to be able to perform at that level. How they fuel during a race is an extension of how they fuel during their entire career. And not all of them fuel in the same manner, because we're all different, so which professional do you pick to copy?

Furthermore, I don't see professional athletes as a model of health that I want to emulate; don't get me wrong, I love watching the elites just as much as the next guy, but it ends there. These people do not live real lives, they are not as healthy as one might think, based on their performance. I'm sure many of us that are concerned with health are healthier than many professionals, but that's not to say we won't get our ass kicked in a race with them.

This retired professional runner explains it best in this quick 10-minute video. He was one of the fastest 800-meter runners in the world, but he suffered from a lot of health issues. Very interesting look into the world of professional athletes. I'm sure this applies to professional cyclists. How many times have we heard about a rider contracting an illness and having to drop from the Tour?

https://youtu.be/UDArPISBFqM
Strikes me as a complete non-sequitur. How one might fuel for a ride and what one might take as insight from how the pros fuel for a ride, has almost no effect at all on one's overall nutrition and health plans and goals.
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Old 04-10-22, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
That seems like a lot of effort for something you can easily just buy.

I sometimes buy corn cakes, 110g for 0.95 (which here is super cheap) and I get 84g of carbs in 100g so 92g of carbs for less than a franc. And the pacakge fits into my jersey even. And it comes with a little salt as well, which is perfect. I use that at the beginning on long rides, if the climb isn't right at the beginning.
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Old 04-10-22, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I don't care how the professionals fuel during a race, because that's only a very small portion of what they do to be able to perform at that level. How they fuel during a race is an extension of how they fuel during their entire career. And not all of them fuel in the same manner, because we're all different, so which professional do you pick to copy?
The one that works for you. If you have 3 fuelling strategies from professionals you can try all see. Maybe one works. Pick that one. None work, well, you tried, no big deal, try something else.
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Old 04-10-22, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Strikes me as a complete non-sequitur...
I guess my post went a little off track. However, it just reminded me of so many others I've rode with that are always referencing what the pros do, everything from fueling to the butt lube they use. And all the comments on how healthy these guys are, which they are not. They definitely are the fastest cyclists in the world, but that dedication comes with a price. But yeah, I went off topic...I'll shut up now
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Old 04-10-22, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I guess my post went a little off track. However, it just reminded me of so many others I've rode with that are always referencing what the pros do, everything from fueling to the butt lube they use. And all the comments on how healthy these guys are, which they are not. They definitely are the fastest cyclists in the world, but that dedication comes with a price. But yeah, I went off topic...I'll shut up now
The way one figures this stuff out, accepting that everyone's different, is by experimentation. But experiment with what? Yeah, I want to know everything that elites do. They've already experimented on themselves and thus have done the first filter for me. Narrows it down to stuff that at least probably works, whatever it is. Unfortunately, the stuff the pros do is mostly a trade secret, hard to find out. Thus the popularity of this thread. Good information.
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Old 04-10-22, 03:51 PM
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I think everybody here is already on the same page on this one, but a common mistake made by us amateurs doing longish rides is to wait until rest stops to eat and then to eat a whole bunch. Well, maybe I shouldn't say it's a mistake, because I know a bunch of people who do it and perhaps it works for them. Randonneurs who stop to eat a full meal, like a burger or a sandwich.

Eating small amounts consistently and repeatedly, while on the road, seems like a much better way to fuel.

Also, it's notable that in the second half of his race, MvdP was taking in mostly gels - easily digestible simple carbs. Making no claims to any kind of wisdom, this is also what works for me, though not necessarily with the discipline of specific intervals. Once I pass a certain point, I'm consuming either gels or energy chews at regular small intervals.
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Old 04-11-22, 02:43 PM
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I use a complex carb in my bottles and for gels or power bars. Maltodextrin.

To me it seems to give me a more sustained power between sips. And it is a notably better effect than the fructose, sucrose or simple sugars I use to use.

One member here at BF described it as "rocket fuel" several years ago and I certainly can't disagree with that.
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Old 04-11-22, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I think everybody here is already on the same page on this one, but a common mistake made by us amateurs doing longish rides is to wait until rest stops to eat and then to eat a whole bunch. Well, maybe I shouldn't say it's a mistake, because I know a bunch of people who do it and perhaps it works for them. Randonneurs who stop to eat a full meal, like a burger or a sandwich.

Eating small amounts consistently and repeatedly, while on the road, seems like a much better way to fuel.

Also, it's notable that in the second half of his race, MvdP was taking in mostly gels - easily digestible simple carbs. Making no claims to any kind of wisdom, this is also what works for me, though not necessarily with the discipline of specific intervals. Once I pass a certain point, I'm consuming either gels or energy chews at regular small intervals.
And this combined with the lower price is why I have moved on to making my own drink mix (malto + fructose). Drink 1 bottle per hour as a target and you hit your fluid and carb target automatically. And since you drink much more often than you would want to eat something solid so you cover also the continuous fuelling part.
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Old 04-13-22, 01:08 PM
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I'm no van der Poel but I totally get eating solid food early and gels late. The few times I've ridden hard centuries I didn't feel like chewing for the last two hours of riding. Just squeezed gels down my throat.
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