Nutrition for big rides

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
So I'm back after a long time away, with a big challenge and a need to get this right!

I've signed up to ride La Sufrida next May. (The website is in Spanish, but there's a link on the first page to a report by a UK cycling journalist who did it this year - http://www.lasufrida.net/web/ )

I hadn't done much cycling at all for over a year, started again in October, and decided I'd do it if I could ride 100km by the end of the year. I did my first 100km ride yesterday.

I did 85km last week, and did it pretty fast. I was fine until 6km from home, when I started feeling sick and ill, stopped to eat a cake (mini coconut macaroon), then carried on home with no problem. For the next few hours, every time I ate, I got stomach pains and felt like I was going to throw up, so I figured I'd over done it!

Yesterday, I took it a bit easier, and was fine until 3 hours in, when I realised I wasn't going to be able to maintain the effort and backed off a bit. From 14km from home, it was a battle. I managed to keep myself going with the promise of a macaroon at a nice spot 8km from home, but I did actually think at one point that I couldn't keep going. I just reminded myself I didn't have any other way of getting home! I just had to get in a low gear and spin, and any time I tried to go faster, I felt queasy and weak. (It was rather like having a bad stomach bug.)

I did it, but it has scared me a little. I've been tired before, my legs have struggled, but I've never felt like I can't go on. I'd eaten one macaroon and some oat biscuits during the ride, and I suspect it wasn't enough.

Can anyone who has experience of big rides give me some advice on nutrition? I think the ride itself will be around 9-10 hours moving time.
 

Rooster1

I was right about that saddle
Constant sips of energy drink within the first hour (don't leave it until you are thirsty). High 5 is good stuff.
Eat half or a whole an energy bar at the 1 hour mark, don't leave it too late, then another at 2, and another at 3. Continuous drinking and eating the whole time.
This is your fuel. You will never have enough energy reserves from your breakfast to last past the first hour, never mind three or seven hours.

You gotta keep eating and drinking the whole time, IMO
 

Hacienda71

Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire
Fueling well before the ride will sort out the first three or four hours. Slow release carbs, oats are great and brown pasta if you can stomach that early in the morning before a big ride. While riding you need carbs that are quick release as you need them then not in a couple of hours but within a few minutes of consuming them. At this point my healthy eating goes out of the window and I start thinking how many easy intake calories will I get from that, so sweet things start becoming appealing. I will drink coke eat jelly babies, bannanas or whatever is going to keep proviiding energy for my muscles. Eat regularly and small amounts and don't forget to drink as well.
That is not to say I won't stop if it is that sort of ride and consume a large plate of normal food, but that involves a bit more time on a less energetic ride. :whistle:
 

Katherine

Guru
Moderator
Location
Manchester
The specialist energy bars are designed to be easily digested so you won't get indigestion, stomach cramps etc. Little and often. Check out the high 5 site. They explain the different types of snacks and drinks and when you should consume them. Evans have a good selection. You could try different ones on your training rides to see which ones suit you. Good luck, it sounds great.
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Constant sips of energy drink within the first hour (don't leave it until you are thirsty). High 5 is good stuff.
Eat half or a whole an energy bar at the 1 hour mark, don't leave it too late, then another at 2, and another at 3. Continuous drinking and eating the whole time.
This is your fuel. You will never have enough energy reserves from your breakfast to last past the first hour, never mind three or seven hours.

You gotta keep eating and drinking the whole time, IMO
The alternative is REAL FOOD ....
 
OP
lulubel

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
I can certainly handle oats, but not pasta in the morning! My normal breakfast is a mixture of oats, bran and chopped fruit (with milk), so I could increase the oats without any trouble.

Things I've thought about taking with me are sandwiches with something sweet like jam or honey in them (and I guess this should be white bread rather than my usual wholegrain), and flapjack. I haven't cycled much since my ex left, and she used to bake all the time, so it was usually a case of "pick a cake" for my long ride food. I feel kind of lost for what to eat now!

I'm really not a fan of energy drinks/bars. I can just about stomach electrolyte tablets (specifically Nuun citrus - Wiggle sent a free sample of the High 5 version, but I ended up throwing them away because they were so disgusting) but the artificial sweetness of the specialist products is horrible. I could mix fruit juice and water to get calories into my drinks, but it would mean carrying a lot of fruit juice on the day, and messing around with mixing it when I could be keeping moving.

What other real food with quick release carbs do people eat? And what about carbs and fat? (The cake stop is legendary!) I suppose the most important thing is to keep protein to a minimum because it slows digestion.
 

Rob3rt

Man or Moose!
Location
Manchester
For your purposes I would simply suggest things such as oat bars and bananas. A gel or two in your pocket for emergencies (not all gels are sticky, overly sweet, bags of sick in waiting - and even if they were, if it gets you to the end, so be it) and a WEAK carb mixture in your drinks bottles.

I like High5's* energy drinks (Basic Energysource - I don't bother with the caffeine versions, you can add/take some caffeine yourself on the odd occasion you need it). You said you didn't like the free sample you had once, I am guessing this was a Zero tablet? Personally, I am not a fan of the zero tablet flavouring either but the actual energy drinks taste much nicer, and you can mix them down nice and weak - for long rides I mix a 500ml dose with 750ml so it is quite weak. But try a few brands.

I only ever really rely on supplements and sports specific products when racing, or in a training session that is mimicking a race. For (I hope) obvious reasons (puke).

* To be transparent, High5 sponsor me, that said I was spending loads of money on their products anyway and would only recommend the products I actually like.
 
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Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Carrying sandwiches, jacket potatoes and fruit can be problematic. Although surely jacket potatoes are designed to be carried in a jacket? And the less said about Jersey Potatoes the better.
^_^
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
A good pasta meal the night before helps as well then porridge or muesli for brekkie, plus jellybabies.
As a tourer though I like some cheese butties in the panniers, stopping for a bacon 'n' egg cob (with mushrooms if poss.) at about 11 and into a pub about 1 O'clock ish for a meal and a beer or 2 (isotonic)...............sets me up nicely for the ride to the campsite.
 
OP
lulubel

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
A good pasta meal the night before helps as well then porridge or muesli for brekkie, plus jellybabies.
As a tourer though I like some cheese butties in the panniers, stopping for a bacon 'n' egg cob (with mushrooms if poss.) at about 11 and into a pub about 1 O'clock ish for a meal and a beer or 2 (isotonic)...............sets me up nicely for the ride to the campsite.
That would be the perfect day for me, except that I have to complete 200km with 5000m of climbing in 10 hours, so stopping isn't really an option. I'm going to get a bar bag to carry food so I can access it easily on the move. I've found it's hard to get going again once your legs are getting tired, even if you only stopped for a couple of minutes.
 
OP
lulubel

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
For your purposes I would simply suggest things such as oat bars and bananas. A gel or two in your pocket for emergencies (not all gels are sticky, overly sweet, bags of sick in waiting - and even if they were, if it gets you to the end, so be it) and a WEAK carb mixture in your drinks bottles.

I like High5's* energy drinks (Basic Energysource - I don't bother with the caffeine versions, you can add/take some caffeine yourself on the odd occasion you need it). You said you didn't like the free sample you had once, I am guessing this was a Zero tablet? Personally, I am not a fan of the zero tablet flavouring either but the actual energy drinks taste much nicer, and you can mix them down nice and weak - for long rides I mix a 500ml dose with 750ml so it is quite weak. But try a few brands.

I only ever really rely on supplements and sports specific products when racing, or in a training session that is mimicking a race. For (I hope) obvious reasons (puke).

* To be transparent, High5 sponsor me, that said I was spending loads of money on their products anyway and would only recommend the products I actually like.
Yes, it was a Zero tablet. I think my ex tried one of the powders you mix with water, and she didn't like that either (although she's since found one flavour of Zero she likes, so our tastes are obviously different). It's actually occured to me I'm going to need electrolytes because it will be at least mid-20s, possibly even low-30s here by the end of May, so if I don't put anything else in my water, I'll need to carry a pack of Nuun tablets.

I've been doing some research into how many calories your body can actually utilise per hour, and at my weight it's probably not much more than 200. Since I reckon I have about 1,400 in glycogen stores, I'd better not let my body fat drop too low! And I need to practice riding at (relatively) low intensity, which is a challenge because I only have 5 months or so and I also need to train for speed on the climbs.
 
OP
lulubel

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
Actually, I've just done some maths. Assuming 10 hours at 500 cal/hr ...

2000 cal from food
1400 cal from glycogen stores
1600 cal from fat stores

What heart rate should I be aiming for to use about 50/50 glycogen and fat?
 

coffeejo

Ælfrēd
Location
West Somerset
Energy bars, drinks etc make me want to vomit so I'm another fan of real food. Pasta the night before, muesli for breakfast and then a mix of food groups during the day. I didn't bother with sandwiches for my longer rides this year - I cooked up rice, veggies and chicken and ate it cold throughout the day, just a bit at a time, as well as the usual suspects (flapjacks, jelly babies etc).
 
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