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How Much You Carry on a Ride? (Nutrition)


Mr. Beanz
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I've read many comments of riders carrying too much as well as taking in too much. 

My usual was all water,  a bike bottle of Gatorade and a Clif bar at mile 30. Break then head back for another 14 to the end of a 44 miler. Some guy told me I didn't take in enough.  Hmm!

When I started riding more at night, all water, nothing more for 25 miles. Didn't miss anything.  Then a few longer,  30-40 on the road with a couple friends.  Didn't miss anything. 

A few 35-45 on the trail,  didn't want to hassle mixing the Gatorade so I pedaled through with water only.  Didn't miss anything. 

Then yesterday,  doing 70, I planned to do the Clif bar at mile 35 but the underpass at the end of the trail was flooded at the coast so I just turned around headed back inland.  

Ended up stopping at mile 56 before eating the bar and drinking the Gatorade. Rested for 20 minutes or so. Then finished off the final 14.

I  do believe in eating something before the ride.  I ate one egg split between two bagels like little sandwiches.  And a banana 🍌

I'm finding I don't need to take in much even for a 40 miler. But I read about those that take in gels, chews and all kinds of stuff along the way.  Heck, I see some friends carrying a grocery store on 20 mile rides. 

What is your style,  just for conversation sake ?

If I took in all those gels and fancy drinks they speak of. As much as they did. I'd be more broke than I am now! 😆😁😆

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I hardly ride more than 30 miles so just water.  I also ride early so don’t eat pre ride.   I do carry a gel & cliff Bar in the event I have a glucose crash but generally don’t take on any calories for a ride of that length.  

Several years ago when I did the Palm Springs Century I ate some bananas & a peanut butter sandwiche at the rest stop.  While training for the rides I usually worked in a lunch stop at around 50 miles.  I carried nutrition but didn’t need it.  I’ll have to rethink my nutrition as I get ready for my century next year. 

I also ran two marathons on water only.  I found in training I was drinking water only & it worked for me. I don’t know why but I started taking on Gatorade during the 1st marathon & it caused gastric distress so I ran marathon  2 & 3 on water alone. Shoulda known better…  Also humped 10 + miles with full ruck on water alone many times.  I find when I eat during hard efforts it screws up my stomach. 

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When I was endurance riding, a lot of high carb sugary stuff.  When I raced, a lot of pre-race carbs and post race protein. 

I don't do that anymore nor do I want to.  Cycling for me is more about exercise and enjoyment than about pain and deprivation.   So, I will rarely ride more than 50 miles and carry water in 3 bottles, one of which has electrolyte in it. 

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2 minutes ago, ChrisL said:

I hardly ride more than 30 miles so just water.  I also ride early so don’t eat pre ride.   I do carry a gel & cliff Bar in the event I have a glucose crash but generally don’t take on any calories for a ride of that length.  

Several years ago when I did the Palm Springs Century I ate some bananas & a peanut butter sandwiche at the rest stop.  While training for the rides I usually worked in a lunch stop at around 50 miles.  I carried nutrition but didn’t need it.  I’ll have to rethink my nutrition as I get ready for my century next year. 

I also ran two marathons on water only.  I found in training I was drinking water only & it worked for me. I don’t know why but I started taking on Gatorade during the 1st marathon & it caused gastric distress so I ran marathon  2 & 3 on water alone. Shoulda known better…  Also humped 10 + miles with full ruck on water alone many times.  I find when I eat during hard efforts it screws up my stomach. 

Yeah, good idea eating on century training rides because for that distance. You need to know how your body is going to act with the food and what works.  On my training rides for Big Bear centuries. I used gels figuring I could use them on a hard effort like that.  Last two weeks were training with gels as well. 

On the ride, I had about 3 gels and 3 bottles of gatorade on the first 50 miles of climbing then I couldn't take any more.  Finished on water but had a nice little turkey sandwich at mile 55 at the sag stop. Miracle sandwich 🥪 😋 

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9 minutes ago, Wilbur said:

When I was endurance riding, a lot of high carb sugary stuff.  When I raced, a lot of pre-race carbs and post race protein. 

I don't do that anymore nor do I want to.  Cycling for me is more about exercise and enjoyment than about pain and deprivation.   So, I will rarely ride more than 50 miles and carry water in 3 bottles, one of which has electrolyte in it. 

About the same I do. Riding for fun but needed this long ride to keep me on my schedule for the year end. 😄

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Just now, Mr Beanz said:

Yeah, good idea eating on century training rides because for that distance. You need to know how your body is going to act with the food and what works.  On my training rides for Big Bear centuries. I used gels figuring I could use them on a hard effort like that.  Last two weeks were training with gels as well. 

On the ride, I had about 3 gels and 3 bottles of gatorade on the first 50 miles of climbing then I couldn't take any more.  Finished on water but had a nice little turkey sandwich at mile 55 at the sag stop. Miracle sandwich 🥪 😋 

When I mentioned rethinking my nutrition it’s mainly because my diabetes meds have changed since my last century so I’m more likely to have a glucose crash now than before.  I’m not too worried about it though, I’ll figure it out as I ramp up mileage.  I know how a glucose crash feels. 

My only goal is to finish & have fun so not too worried about it. 

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1 minute ago, ChrisL said:

When I mentioned rethinking my nutrition it’s mainly because my diabetes meds have changed since my last century so I’m more likely to have a glucose crash now than before.  I’m not too worried about it though, I’ll figure it out as I ramp up mileage.  I know how a glucose crash feels. 

My only goal is to finish & have fun so not too worried about it. 

I don't take meds but when they first told me I was type 2, I did a ride of 45 with nothing not wanting to take any sugar, my face went numb about 35 miles in. Learned my lesson on that one. 🤣

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For 20-25 miles, just 1 or 2 bottles of water. For rides up to 75 miles, Heed in 1 bottle, water in the other, and fig bars , a cliff bar, shot blocks, and a honey stinger waffle . I don’t eat all those but like to have them in case the pace is higher.  For century + distances, I carry more of the snacks, including oatmeal raisin cookies.  If you are training for a century, it is a good idea to eat on your training rides to see if that food sits well.

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I've never had any of the sports drinks nor gatorade. And I've been cycling for almost last 28 yrs. 

Probably because dearie never did either. 

I just never developed an interest. Ever and I've done multi-day loaded bike touring rides averaging 50-100 km./day.

I finding myself needed some water or small bottle of fruit juice with some sort of snack for 30-45 km. ride. Coffee is ok if there's nothing else.  When it's 100 km., I really need to stop to have juice plus small sandwich / banana, etc.  as a  meal.

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1 hour ago, az_cyclist said:

If you are training for a century, it is a good idea to eat on your training rides to see if that food sits well.

Yeah...  once I was riding The Pumpkin Pie Ride with plans to ride the 100 mile loop.  At a rest stop, there was a lot of food.   I was hungry.. so I had a  sloppy joe sandwich.  It was goood... So I had two.   OMG that was a BIG mistake.  A few miles down the road, it was like I ate two bricks.  I was NOT feeling good at all.  So when the sign for the 75 mile loop turn appeared, I turned. 

Just about all of my rides are between 20 and 35 miles.   I just bring 2 water bottles.  Most times I have water left, except when it's HOT. 

When I ride the annual PPR, I found they have some great potato soup.  A small cup of soup, 1/2 banana, and a cookie are my usual for food on that ride.  And of course pumpkin pie at the end of the ride.   I still just take the 2 water bottles, and fill them as needed.

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If I’m going to be riding through lunch I pack a lunch. Some of you saw pictures of my lunch when I was doing the September challenge. I usually have a zip lock bag of dates I’ll munch on while I ride. I carry a lot of water. I never want to run out of water. This year since I have been trying to gain weight I’ll also carry a bottle of Boost high protein drink.

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For rides under 30 miles and it's not hot, just water.

If it's hot out and over 20 miles, I have something with electrolytes in my water bottle.

If I'm doing around 50 miles, I have diluted sports drink in my water bottles plus something like a GU gel and Clif Bar. I also make sure to pig out at gas stations on candy bars that I normally wouldn't touch. Paydays are a favorite. I also bring sunscreen in little packets to reapply.

If I'm doing something like a century ride, more of the same at the 50 miler. I bring lots of gels plus really track my hydration. If I ain't peeing, I ain't drinking enough.

For things over a century, I start needing more solid food. PBJ sandwiches work well.

In the '70s I managed to bonk, dehydrate, sunburn, and basically was close to heat stroke all on the same ride. When you stop sweating even though the temps are in the 90s, you are in trouble. Ever since then I am very careful on hydration and carbs plus SPF 30 is my friend. I've even had to basically rescue other riders who were doing things like a century ride on only water and not enough of that.

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Only water in my bottles - except on an organized century where the Gatorade is on offer AND it tastes better than hose water :)  

Food wise, if I think I am going to ride for more than couple hours, I toss a fig bar (200cals) in my pocket.  Usually, unless I skipped lunch, that's still there when I return, but sometimes a snack is pleasant on a ride.  A 60+ ride will more than likely see me having to stop to fill my bottles, so while I'm doing that, I will eat a bar.  Usually, those bars, with some degree of sugar content, are a nice boost.  Unnecessary? Probably.  On an organized century, I generally graze at rest stops and eat salty stuff.

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I'll take a bottle of water and a filter so I can refill. I like to bring apples or oranges in the summer. In the winter, I carry foods that won't freeze. All day rides require a lot food like a sandwich, chips, apple, peanut M&Ms, nuts and some Nuun.

I get a lot of ideas from all three Feed Zone cookbooks.

Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes (The Feed  Zone Series) - Kindle edition by Biju, Thomas, Phinney, Taylor, Johnson,  Tim. Cookbooks, Food & Wine Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

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6 hours ago, denniS said:

I'll take a bottle of water and a filter so I can refill. 

 

Spring water?

A buddy and I rode up through the mountains a few years back.   Up past Crystal lake.  Up to 8000 ft. No water in sight. He had gotten water at a road side Spring many times, big into hiking.  I  tried it, it was really good.  He assured me it was safe.  No problems but I've heard one should bring along some kind of filter or tablets. 

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1 hour ago, Mr Beanz said:

Spring water?

A buddy and I rode up through the mountains a few years back.   Up past Crystal lake.  Up to 8000 ft. No water in sight. He had gotten water at a road side Spring many times, big into hiking.  I  tried it, it was really good.  He assured me it was safe.  No problems but I've heard one should bring along some kind of filter or tablets. 

Streams or lakes, wherever I can find water.

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I feel like there are four (at least) reasons to eat on a ride, and two are nutrition related.  A person might eat for nutrition/energy now or during the ride (usually sugar powered and/or a caffeine kicker) or they might be eating for the "future" (like the pros who stay topped off for the length of a race - days or even weeks).  The non-nutrition ones would related to either social eating - ie a cafe stop for coffee - or just for the heck of it - ie nice to have something to snack on rather than just liquids all day.

With that in mind, I still "carry" very little as I rely on stops to refill bottles and sometimes grab a snack. I will have the fig bars or even Swedish fish in my back pocket, so a few snack options and several hundred calories if I want/need them.

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