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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 03-22-06, 08:27 PM   #1
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Guidelines for eating during a ride?

I was wondering if you people had guidelines for eating while on a ride. I want to start increasing my distances during my rides. Right now I don't feel the distances warrant eating or drinking, except water. At what point do you people say to yourself "Ok I am doing X miles so I need to bring some food" or "I am going to be out for X amount of time" and does the type of food vary on the terrain or weather.

Last year on some of my longer rides I took dilute Gatorade, power bars, and goo, I found it did not help the ride much but recovery was much quicker.
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Old 03-22-06, 08:37 PM   #2
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On rides less than 50-miles, I drink just water and a 2nd bottle of Cytomax. Although on really intense 50-mile workouts, I've bonked before. Longer rides will have me stocking up with a meal beforehand and eating 250 cal/hour right off the bat.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:17 PM   #3
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you are better off focusing on carb'ing and watering up during the immediate 24-36 hrs preceding your bigger rides. This can prevent you having to load up and risk stomach upset or cramping during your rides.

A power bar plus 2 water bottles should be plenty under those circumstances.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:36 PM   #4
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You don't have to worry as much about eating BEFORE (especially during the days before) long rides, as you have to worry about eating DURING the ride. Eat normally in the days leading up to the ride, and on the morning of the ride, eat breakfast (about 500 calories or so).

Then, during the ride, (and, in fact, on any ride over about 2 hours), consume approx. 250 calories per hour starting right away, even within the first 15 minutes or so. I use a bento bag so that I can nibble energy bars every 10 or 15 minute throughout the whole ride.

As for drinking, try to drink approx. one 750 ml bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours. That could be sports drinks, or water, or both.

It is a good idea to start experimenting with energy bars and sports drinks soon, so that when you get to your centuries, you know what you like and what you can tolerate on the bicycle. There are several types of energy bars and sports drinks which are fine for me ... and there are some I just cannot stand! It's good to know that before you are in a position where you really need to count on them for calories!
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Old 03-23-06, 01:42 AM   #5
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+1 what Machka said. She couldn't finish a long ride without getting her fueling right.

I can get away without eating on a 3-hour ride, if I have a sports drink (100-150 kcal).

On longer rides, I average 50 grams of carbs (200 kcal) per hour in food and sports drink.

I drink about 500-600 ml of fluid per hour.
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Old 03-23-06, 04:44 PM   #6
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Another +1 on Machka.

If you run out of carbs during a ride, you're going to bonk.

I've seen anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes quoted as the amount of time before you need supplemental carbs, but that depends wholly on the level of your carb reserves that day, how hard you work out and probably on your particular genetics.

I both gotten lucky (ridden a long time without enough calories), and bonked early (when I brought food, but just not enough), so for me I don't like to push it. If I'm only going to be out for an hour, I might do it with just water (though I always have gel on the bike if I need it), but anything longer (which really covers most of my rides), I have a bottle of sports drink, and generally something solid like a clif bar or a few newtons.

I'm generally drinking every fifteen minutes or so, simply because I don't see the point of going into "carb debt" if I'm planning on replacing all of them at the end anyway. I can always cut down what I drink later on, but after you bonk, all the sugar in the world isn't going to make you happy again (it *will* get you home...)

I started with diluted gatorade, and it was a non-starter for me. I tried on a couple of rides, and couldn't force myself to get enough down, and anything more than a little solid food makes my stomach upset. Not a recipe for a nice ride.

Last year I switched to accelerade (blue raspberry!), and that's something I can drink a lot of on an ongoing basis. The real sports drinks are pricey, but the difference was pretty astounding.

I'll use a gel if I'm feeling close to out of energy, but I don't tolerate them that well, so I stick to the sports drink.

I'm probably pretty close to 250 cal/hour, which includes 22 oz of sports drink and additional water. I've gotten so I can generally come pretty close to replacing sweat,
but it's a good idea to weigh yourself before and after a ride so you can see how much you need to replace and whether you're drinking enough.

Oh, one other thought - sports drinks are generally absorbed better than water.

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Old 03-23-06, 06:02 PM   #7
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Well I decided to do my first 100k ride today an out and back. Brought 3 bananas, 3 water bottles, and on the way I bought a small bag of chips, more water and some beef jerky. My stomach was upset almost the whole time, I ate a tuna sandwich and vitamins shortly before going. The upset was not too bad it did not slow me down. I finnished all right, it took me just over 4 hours.

For me that is pretty good considering that this is the third time out since October. I think I should have eaten more on the ride maybe some goo and a power bar, maybe a bit of gatoraide. All in all it went not too bad. It was starting to get cold near the end though. Now to see if I can do another 100K tommorow.

Thank you all for the advice.
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Old 03-23-06, 06:26 PM   #8
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Good responses here. I try to take in 250/300 cal (mostly carbs) and a bottle of water each hour I ride when riding more than 3 hours. There is very good article that discusses what to eat when riding a century here:

Energy bars can get expensive, so you can also look into pop-tarts, panckakes and other foods high in carbs.
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