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10-20-30 miles/where do you start sugar intake?

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10-20-30 miles/where do you start sugar intake?

Old 08-16-08, 09:37 AM
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HarryMan
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10-20-30 miles/where do you start sugar intake?

I had my first 20 mile ride today. Averaged 15.2mph. I consistently ride 8-10 miles 4 days a week and a longer ride on the weekend. I plan on riding 30 miles in a few weeks and a half century by November.

My question is this. In my training and riding, at which mileage should I start to consider taking nutrition gels/extra sugar/light snacks to keep from bottoming out? It has not been necessary as of yet. At what point does it become a necessity?
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Old 08-16-08, 05:43 PM
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I do it by time not mileage. If I'm riding more than 2 hours I use something besides just water from the beginning of the ride. When I ride less than 2 hours all I take is water. It would be pretty hard to bonk in less than 2 hours.
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Old 08-16-08, 05:49 PM
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Unless you are diabetic, or maybe you have been starving yourself, you can probably handle a 20-30 mile ride without eating. Not that there's anything wrong with eating something halfway through, but it's not absolutely necessary. I sometimes bring a few cookies along, but I end up eating them afterwards once I'm back home.
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Old 08-16-08, 08:05 PM
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Im not diabetic, yet I sometimes bonk in less than 2 hours. Sure, I can keep going, but why torture myself.

I use cytomax or perpetuem as my sugary drink. They both work quite well for me. In fact, I think they reduce lactic acid buildup.
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Old 08-16-08, 08:23 PM
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I carry a gel flask filled with honey; this is a trick I learned from a more experienced rider. During a lomg ride 4 or more hours I will take a couple of big mouth fulls of honey every hour. The honey is easily digested and gives plenty of sugar replacement. Main thing is alot less expensive than gels. I eat a clif bar half way through my ride.

I think pre-ride eating is very inportant. I ride 30 miles every thursday night after work. Around 3 or 4 at work or on the way to the trail I will eat something like a banana and yogurt or something similar.
I drink gatoride watered down when I ride under 2 hours.
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Old 08-16-08, 10:52 PM
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If you're riding less than 2 hours you won't likely need to eat anything during the ride.
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Old 08-17-08, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by HarryMan View Post
I had my first 20 mile ride today. Averaged 15.2mph. I consistently ride 8-10 miles 4 days a week and a longer ride on the weekend. I plan on riding 30 miles in a few weeks and a half century by November.

My question is this. In my training and riding, at which mileage should I start to consider taking nutrition gels/extra sugar/light snacks to keep from bottoming out? It has not been necessary as of yet. At what point does it become a necessity?
I did 10 miles to the ride, 50 on the ride and 10 home on a 5L of water and powdered Gatorade (<50% mix). I had breakfast before and lunch afterwards. On the ride I didn't need to eat. On a Century I'll start eating at 50 and every stop after that, whatever I'm hungry for. Same pre/post meals but Gatorade jumps to about 65% after 60 miles. On rides up to 40 miles I just normal meals (small meals every few hours). This may not work well for you.
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Old 08-17-08, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
If you're riding less than 2 hours you won't likely need to eat anything during the ride.
+1

Generally, I wont bring anything but tap water for less than 30 miles. More than that, I'll bring a bottle of Accelerade or Gatorade. Over 60, I start looking at bringing PB&J or a couple of Cliff bars.
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Old 08-18-08, 01:02 PM
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On most rides that are any longer than about 1 hour of hard riding I get real hungry. I now use gels if I ride any longer than an hour, consume one every 30 minutes from the start of the ride. I have a lot more energy when I do this. I just can't make it 2 hours unless it is an easy ride.
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Old 08-18-08, 11:40 PM
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Definitely by time. If i'm riding less than 2 hours I take one gel with me and if i need it I'll eat it. Anything over 2 hours I start eatting in the first hour, starting with solid foods cliff bars, granola bars, nutrigrain bars. I'll usually do a cliff bar at 1.5 hours and then gels every 45 minutes after as needed. For really long rides such as organized centuries were I'll be spending greater than 5 hours in the saddle i will do solid foods for the first 3 hours of a ride.

As far as water. It depends on the weather. Can't ever go wrong with 1 bottle water and 1 bottle of Electrolyte drink. I also will stop and mix half water half gatorade
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Old 08-19-08, 01:04 PM
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you don't need sugar, most riders can ride 45 minutes with our crashing, if you feel you need fuel I would suggest energy bars or juice and a sandwich of pb&j or turkey and cheese. you need real food, not sugar, who wants to crash when you get done riding. you ride to feel better. Gels are made for quick fuel for criteriums and century rides. Watch the electrolyte drinks as they can contain excess sugars and sodiums and are made for recovery from riding.
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Old 08-19-08, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
If you're riding less than 2 hours you won't likely need to eat anything during the ride.
Another +1. Under 2 hours and I'm usually ok with just water - never needed to eat. I might grab a bottle of sports drink from a vending machine (on top of the 3 bottles of water I bring) depending on how hot it is. Over 2 hours and I'll have a Soyjoy bar or gel and a bottle of sports drink every hour (or slightly more often if I feel hungry/fatigued) starting at 1:30.
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Old 08-20-08, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by HarryMan View Post
I had my first 20 mile ride today. Averaged 15.2mph. I consistently ride 8-10 miles 4 days a week and a longer ride on the weekend. I plan on riding 30 miles in a few weeks and a half century by November.

My question is this. In my training and riding, at which mileage should I start to consider taking nutrition gels/extra sugar/light snacks to keep from bottoming out? It has not been necessary as of yet. At what point does it become a necessity?
It's hard to give exact guidelines, as it depends on how much carbohydrate you have stored and how fast you are burning it.

The amount you have stored depends on what time of day it is (early morning you have less), how well you refueled if you exercised recently, and some other factors.

The burn rate depends on how hard you are riding and how fit you are - more fit riders burn more fat and less carb at a given power.

Most riders should be able to ride a couple of hours without food, but it's possible to bonk in that time range (or even shorter) if you are riding especially hard or are down on carbs.

My advice is to start adding food for rides that are longer an hour. This will give you a good chance to not only get used to eating and riding but to find out what food works well for you. Some people like gels, some like carb drinks, some like real food. Aim for 250 cal/hour.

I also recommend having some "emergency" food with you for cases where you are more hungry or end up riding farther than expected. I keep a couple of gels (which I don't use otherwise) in my seat bag.
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Old 08-21-08, 07:00 AM
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On 30-40 mile rides (my usual distance) I'll take a bottle of HEED and a bottle of water. I take a Hammer Gel at 25-30 mile mark. Less than 30 just water. More than 40 miles 2 Gels. I carry a Clif Bar just in case.
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Old 08-21-08, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by robdac View Post
I do it by time not mileage. If I'm riding more than 2 hours I use something besides just water from the beginning of the ride. When I ride less than 2 hours all I take is water. It would be pretty hard to bonk in less than 2 hours.
same here except I use a diluted sports drink.

the preservatives keep my water bottles from going all scummy.
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Old 08-28-08, 05:51 PM
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Listen to your body. I take along water and a sports drink. Most of the time I come home with the sports drink. When I need sugar/ salt I will crave the sports drink and crack into it. Doesn't really appeal to me unless I need it (sometimes after 30 mins, sometimes not even after 2 hours). Usually I need the sugar earlier in the springtime when I'm not as fit.
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Old 08-28-08, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
If you're riding less than 2 hours you won't likely need to eat anything during the ride.
agreed. if part of riding is to drop weight then push it to 3 hours. the body has plenty in storage to get you through a three hour ride with just water. later.
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Old 08-29-08, 09:50 AM
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Well, generally it's by time (people usually say 2hrs+) but there are other factors to consider:

1. Is it insanely hot out - you will sweat alot more and lose electrolytes, so you need more than water (and you need more water)
2. Is there a lot of climbing? (If you're climbing alot, it will burn more glycogen than riding on flat ground)
3. How hard are you pushing? If you're riding at 65% max HR, you'll be fine for 2 hours without replenishing. If you're riding at 80-90%, you'll need repleneshing.
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Old 08-29-08, 10:46 AM
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A couple of things:

1. There was a published study recently that indicated that drinking a replacement drink immediately before exercise DID increase performance (albeit incrementally) or reduce RPE.

2. I'm imagining that #1 applies to folks who are more fit... The ones that are less so (that need to reduce weight) obviously need to take the caloric intake into account and may forgo a replacement drink during the ride.)

I'm probably a little bit in between. What I've found works really well is to mix up a powdered Gatorade drink (100 calories/pack) in a halfway filled bottle. Freeze overnight and top it up prior to the ride. This will administer the mix of water - glucose properly (more sugar by the end of the ride.)

The caveat is you need an insulated water bottle (I own a Polar and LURVE it) to prevent the mix from melting prematurely...

I'm not a sports physiologist or nutritionist so YMMV.
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Old 08-29-08, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by robdac View Post
I do it by time not mileage. If I'm riding more than 2 hours I use something besides just water from the beginning of the ride. When I ride less than 2 hours all I take is water. It would be pretty hard to bonk in less than 2 hours.
I calibrate it by time, too. However,2 hours of easy spinning is a lot different than 2 hours of hard effort; if I'm going to go out and hurt myself for 2 hours then I'll usually take something to eat.

With that in mind, mileage isn't such a bad reference: for example, the same 45-mile route could mean 3 hours of easy spinning, 2.5 hours of moderate effort or 2 hours of pain and suffering. In all three cases you'd probably want to ingest some carbohydrates once or twice during the ride.

By that scale, I'd say 20 miles between snacks is a decent gage. For longer rides like a century, perhaps 100-150 kCal every 10 miles.

I'll have to try this myself and see if I like it...
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Old 08-30-08, 01:23 AM
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My typical ride is about 40 miles which takes me about 2 hours. I take a bottle of Gatorade with me and most of the time I bring it home 3/4 full. And that's on a hot day. A 3 to 5 hour ride I take energy bars and drink lots. I try to to pace drinking and eating so that I have the energy to finish. On my 130 mile ride I had to use a couple of gels to get over the hills on the way home.

In reference to an earlier post, if you are interested in losing weight 3 to 4 hour rides really burn the calories especially if you eat in moderation during the ride and after. I once went from 235 lbs to 165 in one summer doing just that. I find a century ride really makes me loose weight no matter how much I eat during the ride.

In summary, on a 2 hour ride just a little water or Gatorade.
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