View Full Version : Long distance nutrition - interesting comparison

04-01-2006, 08:57 AM
This is a really great comparison of what 2 reallife ultra endurance riders ate/drank in 2 different events:


1 got most of his calories from liquids and the other from "real" food (if you consider an egg mcmuffin "real" food.) This is great proof that there's no one perfect nutritional solution for everyone.

I tend more towards the pure liquid approach - but this guy drank 2 bottles per hour! I have never been able to get that much down. Fascinating.

Boy, I'd better get over this cough soon so I can get back on the bike. Surfing the net is going to get a little dull!! :D

04-01-2006, 11:34 AM
Interesting article, Mallio
I see this in my house...
My eldest son and my partner do a 140km approx training ride every Sunday morning (they are out there now).

My son has a plate of creamed rice and some toast before he starts and takes loads of muesli bars.
My partner eats only a small banana and takes a combination of leppins and a couple of muesli bars.
They both have a bottle of water and a second bottle of water with glucose in it.

Before a race too, my partner is the same - he eats very little, some toast during the morning and maybe a piece of fruit. Just before the race he has a can of 'V' and a leppin as more food upsets his stomach.

Before a race my son and I both have big breakfast - often something like eggs on toast (he has cheese as well) and eat a muesli bar close to the start.

04-03-2006, 06:08 AM
Interesting article indeed. And I was gonna post a nutritional question anyway so here goes:

Since each of my weekend long rides is now a PB, I'm in uncharted territory for me nutritionally. I really struggled riding 2 1/2 hours this weekend and my mph were down. Here's what I ate:

1 bowl of frosted mini wheats with 1% milk and 1 slice of pizza. Walked the dogs for 45 minutes then hopped on the bike.

Drank 24 oz of water the first hour then had 1 packet of hammer gel. Got off the bike to stretch while fueling. Ate a handful of walnuts with dates.

Rode another hour and drank 24 oz of water and 6 oz of pedialyte. At the end of 2 hours got off and stretched again and had a potty break. Another handful of dates and walnuts and one more hammergel packet. Took 2 electrolyte pills. Rode another 30 minutes.

I had absolutely NO energy in my quads by the end of this. The last 7 miles were really tough. Yet the weekend before I had energy to burn but I ate less - I can't pin what I did that differently. Any thoughts or suggestions for me?


04-03-2006, 08:48 AM
I'm no expert, but it seems you may not be taking in enough. How about trying sports drink instead of water in your bottles? How about adding some more real food instead of gels? Like a bagel or trukey sandwich or something? You have a lot of fairly simple sugar in the food you are eating (gels and dried fruit) - maybe adding a little protein/fat in there would help keep you fueled.

04-03-2006, 10:24 AM
You should probably be aiming for 300-400 calories per hour, from whatever source. I used to do really well, running, with a gel pack every 20 minutes.


04-03-2006, 10:34 AM
I've become quite fanatical about eating every 30 minutes and drinking every 15. I use Sustain Energy in my water bottles - not full strength. When I eat, it's usually just a bite of something real, like a Payday or pretzils, or an entire gel packet.


04-04-2006, 07:14 AM
I had the same initial thought as you- not enough calories, but when I added it up, 90/gel, 300 for a half cup of dates/walnuts half and half, she's at 390cal/hour. That's almost the limit of what a very good system can process. Plus the walnuts are giving her plenty of protein/fat. It's gotta be something else- wind, hills, speed, undertrained. I'd like to hear what happens next time at that distance. I went thrrough a phase as I was building from aobut 40 miles to 70 or 80 miles where every time I increased, the last five miles would be awful. Then the next time I did that distance, fine. Now I can increase without that happening.


04-04-2006, 08:10 AM
I was thinking more about the timing of the calories. It sounded like she was eating every hour, not little bits during the hour. So not having the fuel when she needed it - if that makes sense. Kind of like putting wood in a fireplace when the fire has gone out.


04-04-2006, 08:23 AM
Good points, V and Nanci - I do like the food a little bit at a time theory, too. That's what I do and it feels like you can absord it more if it goes is gradually and continually.

04-04-2006, 09:05 AM
Good point, V. When I ride, it's a constant flow of Sport Beans and Gatorade, which are not an insignificant source of calories, and then every hour or two, a major snack like a bar or milk. And I think that the smaller your base is, the less tolerance you have for running low.

I'm still not convinced it's caloric, though. Say the big influx of calories takes 20 minutes to empty out of her stomach- she's only got 40 minutes till the next batch- not ideal, but not that long, either. (Yes, I know, it's not being absorbed much till it leaves, but it's still the same time frame.)

If that's the diet she likes, and that agrees with her, I would eat a gel at half an hour while riding, stop if necessary at one hour to eat the fruit/nuts, eat a gel at 1.5 hours, stop for fruit nuts at 2 hours, and so on. Or split it into 20 minute segments and stay on the bike, and split the fruit/nuts into quarter cup servings of 150 calories- that would be more evenly distributed. That's a good electrolyte schedule, too, expecially in heat.

Gatorade, Endurox, even gels and sport beans are too expensive for some people- sometimes you have to make do with "real food" that does the same thing.


04-04-2006, 10:13 AM
Thanks Ladies!
I'll try splitting my intake of the food/gel as suggested: Gel on the hour, food on the half hour. It will work on my trainer right now (sorry Nanci, I can't use wind, weather or hills as an excuse yet:o ). This weekend is 37 miles so I'll let you know what happens. In a mtb race I would rather only carry gel with me instead of real food - it's hard to eat on the trail since I usually need both hands for steering. I did order some of the succeed tablets you suggested so I'll try that.

The date/nut mixture was a suggestion I read here and my stomach can handle it. I find I like to "munch" on something as opposed to an all liquid fueling.

My new road bike is due in this week - I got a Terry symmetry! I am so pshyced to get out on the road!!!!