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Problems eating during a century

Old 09-27-09, 03:41 PM
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Dominae
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Problems eating during a century

I know this subject has been addressed ad nausem on this site, but I tried the search function and can't find what I'm looking for. I just completed a century and had a good ride, but I fell apart in the last 7 miles. I cannot eat solid food during the ride. The thought of eating during the ride makes me want to throw up. Its OK for the first part of the ride, because I ate a big pre-ride breakfast, but at the end of the ride it starts catching up with you. I drank Gatoraide during the ride, and even that gave me a upset stomach. Would taking in calories by eating gels be less likely to cause stomach upset than solid food? Is this something you can "train" your body to get used to? I am at a loss as to what to do here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-27-09, 03:44 PM
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What was your longest ride before the century?
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Old 09-27-09, 03:55 PM
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This season my longest ride has been 60 miles. I had no troubles getting through that one.
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Old 09-27-09, 03:56 PM
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I never eat solid food during rides, (unless the occasional ice-cream bar counts).
Have you tried a maltodextrin-based drink mix? e.g.
- Powerbar Endurance
- Hammer HEED
- Hammer Perpetuem
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Old 09-27-09, 04:02 PM
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You may have pushed yourself to hard.
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Old 09-27-09, 04:08 PM
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You will need to experiment with different forms of food to find what works for you. If I'm doing a marathon I can't eat solid food, I have to stick to gels and stuff like Sport Beans. It's the exact oposite if I'm on my bike; I have to eat solid food because I can't stand the gels when I'm riding.
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Old 09-27-09, 04:18 PM
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Try Dates, easy to carry and they taste great
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Old 09-27-09, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jvinch View Post
I know this subject has been addressed ad nausem on this site, but I tried the search function and can't find what I'm looking for. I just completed a century and had a good ride, but I fell apart in the last 7 miles. I cannot eat solid food during the ride. The thought of eating during the ride makes me want to throw up. Its OK for the first part of the ride, because I ate a big pre-ride breakfast, but at the end of the ride it starts catching up with you. I drank Gatoraide during the ride, and even that gave me a upset stomach. Would taking in calories by eating gels be less likely to cause stomach upset than solid food? Is this something you can "train" your body to get used to? I am at a loss as to what to do here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
A few thoughts:

* You didn't mention what you ate for breakfast, but a big breakfast before a century can cause stomach issues laster.

* You have a given amount of blood supply available, and blood going to your muscles can't be used to digest food, so if you go too hard, you can easily get stomach issues.

* Gatorade - especially the premixed stuff - has HFCS in it, and that can cause stomach upset. Even if it doesn't, it's not a very good hydration drink. I suggest trying some of the different ones out there to see what works for you.

* Gels may or may not work for you. I have friends who get good results with them, but you need to drink the right amount of water to get the sugar concentration into a range where your stomach can tolerate it. Gels don't work well for me, so I avoid them.
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Old 09-27-09, 04:36 PM
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Some calories are better than none.

You can try getting solid food down by eating a bite at a time. That works well with small food that you can eat while riding (i.e. bars). If you practice at it you can learn to get food down while working pretty hard. Learning to eat while going up a climb is conveinent since it is often unsafe to eat while descending.

Or, you may find gels to work better. Try getting a flask and a bottle of gel (Hammer sells their gels in bottles) instead of using the packets. That way you can take small amounts at a time rather than having to down an entire packet. The last option is liquid food. You can mix your drink mix to a more concentrated level and carry a bottle of that and a bottle of plain water. Some ultra endurance cyclists do that with Hammer Perpetuem (look up "multi-hour bottle") or Spizerinctum (which I have avoided trying simply due to the name and because its chocolate). You'll have to experiment on training rides and see what works for you.

Gatorade would give me an upset stomach just because it's Gatorade. My stomach doesn't like that much HFCS and it's way too sweet. Yuck. HEED works well for me, but you have to try the various drinks and see what works for you.

If this was an organized century, what do you do about the food stops? Just ride by? They're half the reason to do a century!
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Old 09-27-09, 05:44 PM
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I stopped at all the rest stops for 5-10 mins each. I refilled my bottles with Gatoraide (this stuff was made from the powder and it was extremely dilute so I'm not sure I was getting many calories that way, either). There is no way I can eat solid food at all (not even small bites). I was riding with several guys who were better than me, and we finished 100 miles in 5:30 (on bike time), but like I said, I nearly toppled off my bike the last 7 miles. I guess I'm just going to have to experiment.

The Heed and Perpetuem sound promising, but I'm not sure how you can carry enough on-board to get you through a century. Do you just drink small amounts of it at a time?
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Old 09-27-09, 05:49 PM
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I carry all my drinks on century rides.
Four bottles on the bike and two in my jersey pockets.
You don't really know what you are getting from the rest stations.

Slip every ten minutes.
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Old 09-27-09, 06:07 PM
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I used to have problems eating on my long rides too, and I discovered the following.

-- I need to eat a smallish breakfast of maybe 500 calories.

-- I need to start eating as soon as I get on the bicycle, and continue eating regularly all the way through the ride. If I let it go for a while, I start to feel nauseated and have trouble the next time I try to eat.

-- When I eat on the bicycle, I need to eat foods I like (i.e. cookies or salted almonds, rather than energy bars)

-- And I need to nibble those foods. I cannot eat an entire cookie in one go while I'm on the bicycle. So I have a bento bag, and I take a small bite of the cookie ... and then another small bite of the cookie 10 minutes later, etc.

-- At some point in the ride, I may need to switch to liquid, so I carry a can of Ensure with me, and a couple gels.

-- If I am having some digestive problems, slowing down or even getting off the bicycle and walking a little ways sometimes helps. Let the faster people go and do their own thing.


As for drinks ... you need to be drinking about one 750 ml bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours. So if you're going to be doing up your own bottles with HEED or whatever, bring the powder in a little baggie or other container (I use the Hammergel flasks) and just make use of the water at the stops.

Also, Gatorade makes me feel ill as well if it's all I drink. If I have to use Gatorade, I have one bottle with plain water and one with Gatorade so I can alternate.


And yes, the eating thing is something you can train your body to get used to. Your longest ride before this was only 60 miles. Before you do your next century, do several rides between 60 and 90 miles in length and experiment with eating tips and different kinds of foods.
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Old 09-27-09, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
So if you're going to be doing up your own bottles with HEED or whatever, bring the powder in a little baggie or other container (I use the Hammergel flasks) and just make use of the water at the stops.
+1
I always carry a powder mix, and something I learned the hard way about carrying pre-measured baggies:
ALWAYS DOUBLE BAG IT!
i.e. I put a pre-measured amount of powder for one bottle in a small ziploc baggie,
then put 2-6 baggies (depending on planned distance) into a larger ziploc bag.
That darn powder *always* finds a way to leak out of the inner bag.
It can make a h*ll of a mess out of a saddle bag or trunk bag.
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Old 09-27-09, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
+1
I always carry a powder mix, and something I learned the hard way about carrying pre-measured baggies:
ALWAYS DOUBLE BAG IT!
i.e. I put a pre-measured amount of powder for one bottle in a small ziploc baggie,
then put 2-6 baggies (depending on planned distance) into a larger ziploc bag.
That darn powder *always* finds a way to leak out of the inner bag.
It can make a h*ll of a mess out of a saddle bag or trunk bag.
That's why I started using the Hammergel flasks.
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Old 09-27-09, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
+1
I always carry a powder mix, and something I learned the hard way about carrying pre-measured baggies:
ALWAYS DOUBLE BAG IT!
i.e. I put a pre-measured amount of powder for one bottle in a small ziploc baggie,
then put 2-6 baggies (depending on planned distance) into a larger ziploc bag.
That darn powder *always* finds a way to leak out of the inner bag.
It can make a h*ll of a mess out of a saddle bag or trunk bag.
These are good.

http://www.professionalequipment.com...tion-products/
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Old 09-27-09, 07:11 PM
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I don't eat solid food until the ride length gets over 300k. I use a maltodextrin/protein mix that I put together from bulk ingredients. It's cheap.

You don't mention hydration, but frequently drinking more plain water and taking Endurolytes at a rate of 1-3 per hour will fix up stomach problems, particularly "sloshy stomach." I'd guess that Gatorade didn't set well with you after so much time, as is the case with many people.
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Old 09-28-09, 07:14 AM
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I have to force myself to eat cause I have no hunger during exercise, but I know that if I dont eat I will bonk. I did a century this last saturday and prolly consumed 3000calories during the ride. I know that maybe a little much, but I made good time
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Old 09-28-09, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Arkansan07 View Post
I have to force myself to eat cause I have no hunger during exercise, but I know that if I dont eat I will bonk. I did a century this last saturday and prolly consumed 3000calories during the ride. I know that maybe a little much, but I made good time
I have the same issue I try to watch the clock and consume something (whole food or gels) every hour to go along with my cytomax.... can't have too many bottles though or I get stomach issues so I always have plain water too
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Old 09-28-09, 12:30 PM
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I can eat solid food on centuries easily. In facts, if I see it, I can eat it. But I have friends who can not eat solid food. Many people I know who can not eat solid food swear by GU. It is a hydrolized starch. It comes in many flavors. So you might think of giving that a try.
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Old 09-29-09, 03:47 PM
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plain sandwiches, meat and cheese and lots of fluid to go with them work for me.
I have done a few centuries going that route.
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Old 09-30-09, 09:01 AM
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If it was an organized century ride, then there might be some cut fruit to eat at the tables. That's easy to eat and its not really that solid. At each stop, make sure you eat some of that, even if you're not feeling hungry. Just don't eat too much at each stop.

At some century rides, the bananas are cut in half. I take that plus whatever other fruit is available.

Then there's a longer stop often called a lunch break where sandwiches are offered. I'll eat that with some fruit and a gel. All this is washed down with a drink. Mine is HEED.

If you're in shape, then for a month before the century ride, you want to do long rides like 60-70 miles twice a week. Those rides will give you an indication of your conditioning. On these rides, you need to take stops and get something to eat like the fruit. This might mean you have to take a backpack.
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Old 09-30-09, 03:24 PM
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Gatorade gives me a sour stomach too. Bananas are my friend, (1 or 2 during a century). Raisins too (small boxes where needed).

After the 1st 50 miles, during a rest, I eat a turkey sandwich.

I divide my century into 4 equal 25 mile parts and do my resting and eating at those milestones.

I also use 4 ozs of fruit juice with a scoop of whey protein after the 1st; 2nd & 3rd quarters.

My fluids are mostly just water with a little salt sprinkled into each bottle (not enough to taste). I use Gatorade too but only sparingly, and only during my last desperate 25 mile stretch.

I do some supplements too: B6; B12; Potassium and just a touch of Magnesium. I carry an aspirin, caffeine pill; Tylenol & ibuprofen just in case.
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Old 09-30-09, 04:09 PM
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Bananas, dates, and raisins do the trick for me along with some gatorade cut %50 or more with water..On rides more than 75 miles I like to make a sandwich of toasted whole wheat english muffin, raw sesame tahini, honey and bananas.I eat this mid ride with some water.
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Old 10-01-09, 01:06 PM
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I did my first 50 recently so this might be a little different.

breakfast was my oatmeal w/ walnuts and coffee = approx 500 calories
rode to the start 10 miles
had a scone and a half and water = maybe 200-400 cals?
Rode the first 22 miles to the first stop with just some water and a little raw food bar 100 cals.
Had pb and j, orange, 2 cookies at the stop = 700 cals?
Took a banana on the way out
Filled the bottle with diluted gatorade and had an oreo on the way out. 50 cals.
rode hard up some hills
water every 10 min.
the last half of that scone 200 cals?
then about 5 miles to the next stop my leg starts cramping
have banana, cramps dissipate (potassium) 70 cals.
Despite that cramp, still feeling really good around mile 40.
Next stop 2 more cookies, refil the gatorade and finish the last 10 miles. 300 cals.
*note all cookies were oatmeal raisin
Finished really strong. Should have tried a longer distance. but I chickened out since I did it on my single speed.

I think your strategy should be smaller is better. Bananas and oatmeal are easy on your stomach. That's one of the first foods you give your kids when they start eating solids.
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Old 10-01-09, 01:33 PM
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I had exactly the OP's problem for quite a few years until I realised my problem was electrolyte loss. Now I pop a few salt (and potassium) tablets every so often. (ThermoTabs)

I figured that I must be one of the 4% of the Caucasian population to be a CF carrier - the only symptoms of which are high electrolyte loss on sweating, and an enhanced ability to resist Cholera (which accounts the the higher prevalance of the gene in northern European populations compared to African populations where it is only a fraction of a percent).

If that is the case you can forget the electrolyte replacement drinks - they don't have enough - only good for normal people.
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