View Full Version : Another Nutrition Question

sarah b.
04-10-2005, 03:37 PM
Hey y'all,
I went on what was supposed to be a 60 mile ride today. My stomach was kind of bothering me as we began the ride, feeling bloated. But, around mile 35, I started feeling really naseous. By mile 40, I lost my snacks on the side of the road. You gotta love vomiting with an audience (sorry, probably too much information).

My body felt great, except for the tossing of the cookies, so I know if I can conquer that, I'll be able to ride much farther. I ate a Snickers Marathon bar and had a little bit of coke before the ride. I realize that the coke and chocolate may not have been the smartest, but I generally get a headache if I don't have caffeine all day, and I knew I'd be riding for a while. On the ride, I stopped at 2 rest stops and had a quarter orange slice, half a banana, and animal crackers or vanilla wafers at each stop. I only drank water on the ride. I was drinking out of the camelback so I don't know how much I drank, but I tried to drink consistently.

Now that I've told you more than you wanted to know, here are my questions. First of all, what do you generally consume before the ride (either the night before and/or the morning of)? How long before the ride do you try to eat? I know you shouldn't wait until you feel bad to eat, but what do you eat if/when you start to feel naseous?

Thanks so much for all your help. I really want to accomplish bigger cycling goals and don't want this to hold me up. Many of your tips helped my husband finish the ride today and helped me to ride safely in a large group.

-sarah b.

04-10-2005, 04:19 PM
Hi, Sarah

I'm no expert, but I try to eat something substantial at least 2 hours before a heavy ride. If it's early in the day on a weekend, I just eat my regular breakfast, but definitely make sure I've got that two hours to digest. Before an after work ride, I try to eat 2 hours before - usually something with potatoes and cheese. that's what works for me. I usually feel bloated and/or nauseous for the first half hour after eating that as it is a bit before I really need that much food, but it seems that the 2 hour window makes that go away and then I have enough fuel to ride. Luckily, whenever I've felt nauseous while riding, I've managed to stretch (open up my chest and core by changing riding position) / ride it out.

Yesterday was a big ride for me at 40 miles in 2 hours 44 minutes. At 1 1/2 hours I knew I needed something and a gel pack would have been perfect, but all I had were the 2 bottles of cytomax. tummy was fine, energy and legs disappeared.

Was it particularly hot? Is it possible you need to drink something with electrolytes and salt while riding? your snacks seem good, but may the citrus was hard on whatever else was in there? Keep experimenting. you'll find the sweet spot! :o


04-10-2005, 08:23 PM
Clif bars and others also make a goo type replacement that has caffeine in it so you don't have to try and throw back a pop to make sure you get your daily fix! (I know what you mean about the headache - I have Exactly the same issue) I try to carry a couple of those in case my ride is gonna take me past my noon time caffeine requirement. It replaces the electrolytes And gives me the caffeine. Make sure you check the packaging if you wanna try those - coz they also make non-caffeinated goo.

04-10-2005, 08:36 PM
How long before the ride did you have the coke? It could possibly have been some effect the carbonation had on your stomach, or the combination of that with the chocolate. Sometimes drinking carbonated soda (even just a little bit) before a workout really makes me feel like my stomach is just sloshing around. Besides that, I dont' have anything else to add.

04-11-2005, 05:02 AM
What I eat before a ride generally depends on the time of day I'm heading out. Morning? I just eat my usual breakfast or maybe a little more. Juice, cereal with fruit, english muffin or toasted frozen waffle with peanut butter. If it's later in the day, I'm still likely to eat something like a peanut butter sandwich.

For a 60 mile ride, I fill my Camelbak with water and the water bottles on the bike with Gatorade. I also carry - and eat - energy bars. It sounds to me like you had a combination of not eating the right food before your ride and not eating enough as you were riding. If I read your entry right, the only time you ate on the ride was at your 2 rest stops. And what you ate sounds like very little given your energy output.

It's also possible that the Snickers Marathon Bar and coke wasn't a good combination. On the oranges vs. bananas front, I find that bananas work better than other fruits when I'm snacking on the run.

sarah b.
04-11-2005, 08:11 AM
Thanks for all the feedback, so far! You guys have helped confirm many things that I suspected were my mistakes yesterday. I'll try some of your strategies on a big ride this weekend and let you know how it goes.
-sarah b.

04-11-2005, 09:23 AM
Clif bars and others also make a goo type replacement that has caffeine in it so you don't have to try and throw back a pop to make sure you get your daily fix!

What she said! I find that Coke causes for me a condition I affectionately refer to as "bubble gut". I, too, am a slave to caffeine, so I make sure I get some coffee/black tea/green tea in the morning. It doesn't take much to keep the headache at bay. One cup of tea can do it. Barring getting your dose in (7 am start, anyone?), those caffeine enhanced goo packs come in mighty handy. They can also give a much needed boost on the last leg of a long ride.

As for menu, I make sure to eat a protein breakfast at least 45 minutes before a morning ride. Breakfast taco with egg, bacon if we have it, cheese. As an example, I went 50 miles yesterday on one taco (no meat), 3 goo packs, one Luna bar and most of a bottle of full-strength Gatorade. I was hungry at the end, but not famished. Also ended just before lunch time, so it was a time-appropriate hunger.

Your ride menu does sound meager. Oranges are good for hydration, but don't have a lot of calories. I'd consider them more of a drink on a bike ride. You went 40 miles with no electrolyte replacement. I believe the guideline is replace electrolytes if activity is over an hour. It's amazing how something that tastes icky off the bike can have the greatest flavor ever after pedalling for 20 miles, with 40 more to go. Your body knows what it needs.

A big help for me is being able to eat a goo pack without getting off the bike. I have a quick metabolism (though it seems to be slowing as I press on through my 30's :o) and need to replenish often. If I waited for a rest stop on a club ride... well, I wouldn't make it to the rest stop, having fallen over, twitching in some hypo-glycemic shock.

You've gotten some great feedback here! Try different things and you'll have your own personal formula before long!!!

04-11-2005, 05:03 PM
Hi Sarah,
I'm a newbie, so I've been asking lots of questions and doing lots of reading. Perhaps you aren't interested in after- ride nutrition; however, with all the pre-ride and during ride responses, I thought that I might just chime in. Realize that this is all theory- not my actual longstanding experience yet.

for what it is worth...
nutrition throughout the week is going to directly affect your performance. eat healthfully and definitely eat carbs the evening before a long ride. day of: eat 2 1/2 hours before ride, drink LOTS of water. 1/2 hour before ride, consume another 16 ounces, plus 60- 100 grams of carbs. during ride, hydrate before you are thirsty, and eat before you are hungry. suggested 16 pz. fluid every hour. constantly snack (pretzels, trail mix, fig bars, fruit, sports products). definitely drink a sports drink to replace electrolytes, potassium, etc. be sure to ALSO DRINK WATER, AS JUST SPORTSDRINK can actually dehydrate you (read more from link below). anyway, this is all stuff you've heard. what i wanted to say, was that builing muscle and recovery is the KEY to improvement, so AFTER your ride is equally important to your training goals. eat 100 grams of carbs within 1/2 hour of compelting the ride, and then again 2 hours later. otherwise, your body will take nutrition from--- (and here I don't remember the phrase)--- but it is generally that the lactic acid (not the right word- can somebody more knowledgeable help?) will build in your muscles and increase likelyhood of injury and painful muscles.

also, if you just want some really great information about training, nutrition, health, etc., go to Aidslifecycle.com and look over the website. I'm constantly referring to the plethora of info they have there, because I'm training to do 585 miles this June over a one week period. all kinds of good stuff to know. also, i love to hang out at the bookstore and read the nutrition chapters in cycling books.

best of luck to you! hope this response wasn't out of thread interest.

04-17-2005, 12:22 PM
Hi there everyone... I'm a newbie here too... great little forum, btw...

And Sarah, my reply probably endorses what most others are saying

I avoid high sugar things, particularly just before I get on the bike.

Carbo-loading the night (or a few hours) before is good to give your body some reserves.

Most of my rides are in the morning, and for breakfast I like;
eggs on toast, or
a banana sandwich (or mashed on taost), or
muesli and yoghurt

I don't like to eat during the ride, it just sticks in my throat. That is something I know I have to work on...

A small can of creamed rice or a vegemite &cheese sandwich are what I most want when I get back home.

04-17-2005, 04:32 PM
Hi there everyone... I'm a newbie here too... great little forum, btw...
A small can of creamed rice or a vegemite &cheese sandwich are what I most want when I get back home.

Ahhhhh NOW I know where you're from! I wasn't sure if you listed Middle Earth as your personal preference but when you said vegemite - it gave you away. We don't have vegemite here in the US but I know it's HUGE on your side of the world!

Welcome to the board Raven - it's fun having you here!!

04-18-2005, 10:06 AM

*picks up karaoke mic*
"He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich... and said... 'Do you come from the land down under...' "

Yes, thats me, Corsair, I live in Middle earth, 2 1/2 hours drive (about a full day of nasty hill riding) from Mt Doom!

I appreciate the welcome
I have been looking for a forum like this cause I am relatively new to cycling - I'll fill in that thread where you intro yourself as soon as I get my av sorted.

poison tumac
04-27-2005, 10:15 PM
The night before a big ride (where I'll be out all day and riding hard), I'll eat a lot of pasta. I basically stuff my face until I canít eat any more. Then I'll wake up in the morning and eat some pancakes, again, I eat a lot of them, and a power bar one hour before I ride. I may feel a bit full for the first half hour or so, but in an hour or so of riding the power bar kicks in, and in hour two the pancakes kick in. I'll usually eat one power bar an hour after the second hour of riding. I'll also eat almonds, pretzels, and dried apricots if I donít feel like power bars, eat those constantly. By hour four or five the pasta starts to really pay off. It's also a good idea to have some goo to eat (I like hammer gel), and an electrolyte powder (HEED) for warm days.
When I get home from a ride I try to eat within an hour of when I get home. Your body absorbs the most amounts of nutrients after you've been riding, and helps with recovery.
Hope this helps

04-28-2005, 12:34 PM
I read the other day that you should start carbo loading about 3 days out from the "event"...

05-02-2005, 01:47 PM
Well, we're all different. I usually ride first thing, so it's coffee (for a ride under 1.5 hours) and maybe some oatmeal for longer rides. If I ate a bunch, especially fats, I'd be talking to Ralph. I do take Clif bars along & refuel during longer rides. Had my first "Goo" pack yesterday, it was gross going down but it sure worked well! I was on a 55 mile ride at a fast pace and I really needed something more than what was in my bottle.

05-03-2005, 06:44 AM
I read the other day that you should start carbo loading about 3 days out from the "event"...

Carbo loading is about a week long process of first depleting muscle glycogen with a strict low-carbo diet, and then supercompensating to shock your system into increased muscle glycogen storage with several days of extremely high-carbo eating.

I don't think pasta dinners one or even three nights before an event are anything but good mojo. ;)

05-03-2005, 07:06 AM
RoadRaven posts "I read the other day that you should start carbo loading about 3 days out from the "event"..."

According to my sources (JD Power focus group of women riders waaay hecka faster than me) that's strictly for the guys.

Women due to our vastly superiour ability to use fat for fuel should concentrate on a balanced diet, meaning all four food groups:

* chocolate
* fats and/or good wine
* caffeine
* cheese

jk about which four food groups, serious as a heart attack about the balanced diet as opposed to pasta feed thing. :cool:

05-03-2005, 07:33 AM
DH and I have been know to state (with straight faces) that the four basic food groups are fat, sugar, salt and artificial colors and flavors - at least for the majority of USAians.

OTOH, the Five basic food groups are onions and garlic, fat, salt, chilis and chocolate - all of which can be found in a good mole sauce. :D

All joking aside, I've also read that carbo loading doesn't help women as much as it does men. Eat well, of good quality food, but not too much, and you probably can't go wrong.

Mom(starting to get hungry)OnBike

05-03-2005, 11:18 AM
I had also read (please don't ask me where...it could've been here!) that women don't process carbs the same so the whole "eat 15 mins before you ride" doesn't always apply to women. I do it anyway just to make sure I Eat before my evening commute home but I thought that was interesting.

and I"m thinking - salted chilis fried in oil and covered in chocolate and aritifical red dye #7 with a beer should cover the basic 4 food groups yes?? ;)

05-03-2005, 12:25 PM
Hm, let's see: sugar, salt, fat, alcohol and chocolate? What about caffeine, definitely a basic food.

05-03-2005, 01:13 PM
Note too that there are different kinds of carbs and the body converts them to glycogen or burns them off differently - typically, the less processed your grain and vegetable products are, the more efficiently your body will use them and convert them to fuel with fewer spikes in glucose levels

Whole wheat/whole grain carbs like oatmeal (not the over processed quick cooking kind), stone ground bread and pasta (NO ENRICHED FLOUR!), corn meal tortillas, these are the kinds of carbs you want to load up on - sweet potatos and other starchy vegetables are also good, but we do tend to load potatos full of butter and fat. Buy bread and pasta products that list the first ingredient as "Stone ground" or "Unbromated" grain - it's more expensive, but you get a lot more nutrition for your money. Your body burns these slower, more efficiently and at a more even rate than over processed simple carbs. And you don't have to eat as much of them to get the effect you want as you would have to eat if you were having white bread for instance.

Enriched flour is WORTHLESS - all the nutrition is processed out of it, then it is "enriched" by adding back in an artificial form of what was removed!

Fat and simple sugar (like a snickers bar) creates a spike and then a rapid decline in glucose levels - that rapid decline is most likely what was responsible for your nausea and vomiting - not only did you run out of fuel, but you probably down spiked your glucose level at about the same time. Eating a gel pack will reverse this quickly, but then you have another downspike coming along soon - to avoid this you need to maintain a baseline glucose level with complex carbs (an oatmeal bar pre-workout for instance), and then use your glucose spikes to create fuel above that when your workouts hit high intensity.

Sports drinks are excellent if you are doing long high intensity workouts - but caution needs to be used with these too - if you find they are making you thirstier instead of satiating your thirst, that's a sign that you need to drink water instead.


05-05-2005, 04:40 AM
Buy bread and pasta products that list the first ingredient as "Stone ground" or "Unbromated" grain - it's more expensive, but you get a lot more nutrition for your money.

what is "bromated" grain? I often wondered about that...

05-06-2005, 04:35 AM
Bromating is the process the use to remove the hulls and bleach it - thereby removing all the nutrition so that they have to put it back by "enriching" it. I don't know exactly what the process involves....might be interesting to find out

05-06-2005, 05:18 AM
wabisabi; on corsair's basic food grps... chocolate has caffiene in it so her food "pyramid" has you covered. :D


05-06-2005, 10:21 AM
Well, true true, I think there must be something I associate with the whole caffeine ritual, the rain, sitting inside with a mug of coffee, contemplating....how little training I have done this spring because of the rain...on another note, I keep some very dark chocolate in my office and eat just a little after lunch, and it really perks me up and I get no cravings.