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    Do you have any good food or water suggestions for training rides?  
    I have been wondering about nutrition (specifically, during a ride). Organized rides provide food, but what about when you ride without support (when you ride 50 to 100 miles). I would like to find foods that help sustain energy and aren't necessarily fattening (like peanut butter). I have really enjoyed potatoes on supported rides and wonder if you can have too much of a good thing (potassium)? I read the recent informative article about nutrition in Oregon Cycling Magazine which does a great job of suggesting an overall nutrition plan, but didn't really address the needs of snack food on the road. I look forward to hearing what works for different people, and what is a healthy snack plan.

Anne (and the rest of Bikerteam)

I too would be interested in hearing what others do. I've been doing a lot of unsupported long rides, to areas where services are scant and far apart.

On my last century I packed:

- three power bars
- two bananas
- 24 oz lime gatorade, half strength
- powdered refills for the gatorade
- 100 oz Camelbak MULE, filled with ice and water
- a bag of nuts

If I had to do it again, I would have frozen a second bottle of gatorade and taken it.

I also think that next time I will pack a "trail mix" instead of just the nuts (i.e., granola/nuts/chocolate/fruit). I'm also wondering if I should have some more complex carbohydrates to munch on.

I find that it's hard for me to get very hungry while I'm on the bike. This matches advice I've heard that you shouldn't attempt to eat a very large midday meal. That suits me just fine, since I don't feel _hunger_ so much as an oddly abstract urge to sustain my energy level.

What happens is that toward the end of the ride I _do_ start to feel hungry, so I chow down on a carbo-rich dinner after I finish riding. The next morning I feel great!

Jason Penney

I, too, look forward to some neat ideas to try... Here's mine -

There is a kind of gorp called Super Deluxe Trail Mix that you can get in the bulk bins at Safeway and WinCo. It is a dried fruit and nut mixture that is quite good and healthy. I put about 1 c. in a heavy duty ziploc. Sometimes I use more than one of these. They last quite a while, even in hot weather and tend to just sit in the bike bag until needed.

However, after a couple of years of eating this stuff constantly as I ride I got bored... I went to WinCo and bought a lot of stuff from the bulk bins and mixed it and bagged it in ziplocs. The new mix is: lots of dried cherries, a little dried pineapple, raisins, chopped dates, coconut, raw almonds, raw filberts, raw sunflower seeds, raw pine nuts, and cashews. I know the nuts have fat, but they have other stuff I need and are a treat mixed in with the fruit.

I mostly avoid chocolate because of the fat, caffeine, and its ability to create a mess when its hot.

We also carry a couple of Power Bars each and Bob often carries bananas.

Rox Heath

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Okay, so I'm a fanatic.

The only thing that I eat or drink for rides up to 60 miles is water. Past that, I'll take a banana or power bar or two. Some of my friends use Power Gel.

For those long 100 miles, I'll take a couple of bananas and a handful of power bars and drink Gatorade. I make sure that all my food is gone before that last 15-20 miles shows up. If it's not in your system by then, it probably won't do you much good on the ride unless you stop and rest during the last 15-20 miles.

Just remember, you MUST drink water with your Power Bar. If you don't this could be the reason you are tiring.

I eat just about anything when I'm off the bike so I don't exclude any foods from my bike rides. Sometimes on long rides where I'm just out for a social, I'll stop and eat a burger, fries and a Coke.

I'll get back to a basic strategy for enjoyable biking. Training. If you can put in a lot of miles on your bike, you'll become more and more efficient doing it and you won't require so much 'energy' to complete 60+ miles. As a result you can carry less food with you on your ride. Thus lowering the weight of the stuff you have to carry. Thus lowering the required energy to actually ride the ride. The energy savings start to multiply.

If you can't find the time to ride a lot and want to maximize your performance then take some Power Bars or the like. You might just as well take something that is energy dense and will be quickly absorbed by your body. Why take something that won't provide energy _during_ the ride.

Regarding healthy. I don't take healthy foods on any long rides. I take the foods that will provide the energy supplies that I use up during the ride. After the ride is over, you can stuff yourself with plenty of nutritious foods.

Regarding fattening. Any foods that are ingested are potentially fattening. There is the misconception that fat makes you fat. Not true. You just need to make sure that the calories that you ingest are somehow used and not stored in your fat cells. I think that carbohydrates are more rapidly absorbed in you’re your body than fats are so you should consider these types of products during the ride.

My suggesting to the CO riders is that you determine what your capabilities are before the CO XII and ride below that level during CO XII. Then you can eat whatever you want and have plenty of oxygen to power the muscles and your digestive system.

I find this much more enjoyable than busting my butt all day and being to tired to eat during or after the ride.

Bob Mueller

Barb's update on eating and training:)

On Sat. I did 75 mi. we (Skip & I) concentrated on hills (Florida hills!!!) it was very hot mid/high 90's & humid.

Filled my bottles with diluted gatorade (freeze it) at our 1st country store stop @ 35 mi. bought water & a pkg. of vanilla creme cookies ate 2 plus a Power Gel .

@ 55 mi. bought more water filled my bottles with ice cubes ate a handful of salted peanuts in the shell had a scoop of frozen snickers ice cream & more Power Gel.

Finished with 20 more miles felt strong enough to do a century!!!!

Drove to Boca Raton (5Hrs.) stayed overnight with family. Sunday I registered for a century from Boca to West Palm Beach missed a turn and rode 70+ mi. no hills just the wind and again very hot!!!

Started with diluted Gatorade stopped at 2 rest stops had bananas, oranges, grapes & small chunks of jellied pastries, Gatorade, water & Powerade. At the finish they served spaghetti & meatballs, salad, garlic bread, cake, frozen wash clothes, O'Doole's (spelling?), Gatorade & water. I passed on the cake, garlic bread & O'Doole's!

I usually carry raisins, Power or Cliff bars & Gu or Gel. I ride all year and bars do get old when it is hot I mostly drink fluids and keep myself hydrated.

Bon Appetit
Barb Bergin

A tip on water - slice large chunks of cucumber into your water bottle and freeze. I usually cut them the long way and quarter to expose the delicious inside. It's very refreshing (even on your face when hot). You can get rid of the plastic taste from water bottles by putting your favorite tea bag into your bottle and adding hot water.

Someone recently suggested V-8 juice which I have since tried and found to be a great addition to my traveling meal. Apricot nectar is also very high in potassium.

Mostly I have traveled with Luna bars, Gu (sp?), PB&J sandwiches, and those fruit roll-ups (not sure what they are called.. they are like sheets of fruit wrapped in plastic). Sometimes I bring a banana or something salty like Ritz Bits with peanut butter (I do have a peanut butter theme going here...)


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What I did years ago was to freeze sweet green grapes and add them to the bottle. When you were done with your the grapes.


I did a longer ride today than I have since RTB, and when I got home I felt exhausted. I made sure to eat and drink on the ride, but I felt bad enough to start to worry that I had seriously overdone it. The only thing I had in the house, in the way of sports type food was a tube of Jog Mate Protein, that I got on RTB. I have to tell you that stuff is miraculous! It is of similar consistency to a Cliff Shot, without the good taste. In fact it tastes pretty bad. BUT IT WORKS. I assume some of it is absorbed sublingually, because it worked so fast. Within minutes I felt A OK. Almost scary, it worked so fast. I can't recommend the taste, but I can tell you I am buying more of it.

I am curious if anyone else has had a similar experience with it?

Phil Ford

I too have sampled the fluid Jog Mate Protein from the pink tubes. I don't know if it is anything special but its taste is awful. HOWEVER they now make the same product in a bar which tastes quite good. It's newer and you may have to look around to find them but they are vastly better.


Don't wait until you're hungry!

The biggest mistake, in my experience, is failing to eat - and drink - enough along the way by waiting until your hunger or thirst tells you to. You don't wait until your car is out of gas before you put gas in it, right? So, by the time your hunger or thirst slaps you in the head, it's way too late. As we say in Dallas when a pitcher throws a hanging curve to Pudge, "Vaya con Dios!" You are done! It’s almost impossible to re-hydrate and re-fuel adequately when you've emptied the tank. Here are my tips, for what they are worth.

You must practice drinking water, or whatever, when you are not thirsty on your training rides. As the good gentleman says in another response, trying to get that full bottle down every 30-45 minutes is the key. How much weight do you lose on a six hour ride? If you lose more than 2% of your body weight, you are not drinking enough, in my opinion. And, your performance can decline up to 10%! One pint= one pound.
What you drink matters. A sports drink with 6-7% carbohydrate solution empties from the gut fastest. I dilute Powerade by about 1/2. That may not be exact, but I find it works for me. Also, and this is important, practice drinking what you intend to drink on the ride. You do not want to drink something strange on a hard day in the mountains - been there, done that. The change can give you nausea. It probably won't be so bad as to end your ride, but it can sure make for a long, hard, bad day.
Ditto for food. I did the Texas Aids Ride 2 years ago - 7 days, 575 miles - and made the mistake of stopping and eating the lunch provided on the first day. I was not used to eating that type of food and in those quantities in the middle of a long ride. I paid for it the last 40 miles. From then on, I ate only what I knew I could tolerate from experience.
Plan ahead. On that Aids ride, we left at 7 am and were done most days by 2 pm, but the chuck wagon didn't open until 4 pm. We would purposely stop at a store or cafe or somewhere near the end of the ride and grab something to take with us to camp. As Brian C says, the window of bioavailability is open widest immediately after the ride, and you'll benefit most by eating within the first half hour. You'll need protein to inhibit continued catabolism of muscle (yes, despite what you may have read, everybody breaks down muscle tissue during endurance events of more than one hour), and of course some simple and complex carbs to replace glycogen. You might also consider re-hydrating with a sports drink, diluted of course.

Kurt Chacon, NSCA, NASM, RTS, IFPA; Director of Personal Training and Education, University Club Galleria, Dallas, TX

So if I got the gist of what he was saying we should all begin to practice drinking that wonderful (sic) "All Spit" now (diluted of course!) to potentially avoid Technicolor yawns on the tour.

Don "Ugh. Pepto, take me away" Bolton

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  Page Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2003  
    CyclingSite > CO Collected Wisdom > Training > Food & Water  

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