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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    144

    I think I've forgotten how to fuel properly.

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    I ride a lot.
    I ride long distances.
    I ride short, hard distances.
    I usually don't eat anything during a ride less than 2 hours long.
    I feel fine.
    When I get into riding 3 plus hours, I forget how to fuel.
    I'm too worried about too much sugar, too much fat, reading labels, soy lecithin, GMO, paleo, yo-yo.
    I'm still trying to lose my last 15 pounds.

    Two weeks ago, I rode a 125 mile road ride in 92 degrees. Total, I think I consumed 2 bananas, 1 Honey Stinger Waffle, 1/2 bagel, and 1 1/2 PB&J sandwiches. I fell apart roughly 30 miles from the end. I didn't consume anything for the last 25 miles or so.

    In general, I average 17-20mph on long rides. I tend to start out too hard, too fast, and bottom out.

    This is become a trend. I'm getting too caught up in, well, everything, that I forget how to fuel. Does anyone have any suggestions... a fail safe routine... a reality check?
    2009 Blue RD-1/White Selle Italia Max Flite Gel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    566
    I find a timer helps. Set to every 15 minutes.

    On every 15, sip some calories.
    On every 30, also take a bite and chew something. Blocks, PB&J, rice bar, Clif bar, whatever.
    When you feel like it, stop and get off the bike, stretch, and take a few bites.

    -- gnat!
    Windsor: 2010 S-Works Ruby
    Pantysgawn: 2011 S-Works Stumpjumper 29er
    Whiz!: 2013 S-Works Crux (Singlespeed)
    Boucheron: 2009 S-Works Tricross
    Haloumi: 2013 Tern P7i
    Kraft: 2009 Singlecross
    Gouda: 2005 Electra Betty
    Roquefort: 1974 Stella SX-73

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,476
    Maybe you should improve the quality of your nutrition, more nutrient dense, and a little higher calorie in general. More 'real' food. How do you carry your food, in your pockets? A saddle pack? What do you have room for?

    I assume you are increasing your calories outside the ride to make up for the energy loss. Good idea to avoid that, if possible.

    I've cut up chunks of homemade banana bread (with walnuts), on long, hot rides. It's easy to carry, and converts fast into energy. I like pears, peaches, and plums. They seem to help better than bananas, not that I don't do bananas, but somehow, those other fruits are nice when it is hot. Fig coconut rolls from places like Whole Foods are good, too. Also, Trader Joes has little packs of raw almonds that are easy to carry. 200 calories each, and don't take a lot of room. If you could manage some boiled eggs (pre-rolled in a little salt), those could really help with the last miles. Maybe those little cutup turkey wraps? How about cheese? (keep in mind, I don't have a sensitive stomach). Paydays. Salted Nut Rolls. Individually wrapped nut rolls (from Nature Valley?). For a lot of the homemade things, I use the old-style sandwich bags that don't zip, they take less room in a pocket.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    144
    I don't increase calories outside the ride. I generally eat as I normally would after a long ride, which is pretty balanced.

    I have a "denser" breakfast pre-long ride, consisting of oatmeal and a little PB. I carry with me Shot Blocks, gels, and a banana at least. I try to eat everything I bring with me, but my mind starts to do the math, wondering how much sugar I've consumed, how much fat, etc. so I end up skipping some nutrition.

    It's probably a mental barrier more than anything.

    Does anyone use a guide of how many calories they're taking in per hour? I know this is subjective - just looking for a baseline.

    I'm also thinking I need to get a metabolic test done, to determine exactly how many calories I'm burning both resting and riding. I think that would help me get a clue of what I should be taking in.
    2009 Blue RD-1/White Selle Italia Max Flite Gel

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    Unless you have a health problem that requires you to avoid certain foods, I think you should just eat. Focus on what sits well in your stomach and digests well during a ride. Other than that, forget about everything else and just eat.

    Chris Horner likes Snickers bars and Little Debbie brownies during rides. He's been quite successful over a long career as a pro. And he's always smiling.

    Just eat what feels good for you.

    Personally I have trouble with solid food on hot days, so I generally stick with gels and Gatorade. If I do eat solid food it needs to be very simple -- a tomato sandwich, a Nutri-Grain bar, a banana. Nothing more complex than that, or I'll feel sick. Not too much protein or fat, because that sits like lead in my stomach. But that's me.

    I generally plan for ~300 calories per hour for rides longer than 90 minutes. I base that on recommendations from Nancy Clark's writings.

    In the summer I make sure at least half the gels I consume are Power Gels because they have more sodium, and I've found that I feel better with more sodium when the weather is hot. Otherwise I like Gu vanilla gels because I prefer their taste and consistency. I alternate bottles of Gatorade with bottles of plain water. I also keep a couple of packages of Jelly Belly sports beans in my top tube bag because they're easy to eat while riding -- I can only eat the gels while I'm stopped. I will usually stop after every 15-20 miles of riding, which at my pace is 1-1.5 hours.

    So before a ride I figure out how many gel packets and sports beans packets I will need given the number of miles I plan to ride, and then I add 1-3 more just to be safe, and I pack them in my seat bag/top tube bag/pockets so they will be ready during the ride.

    I also aim to drink one bottle per hour. If I reach a rest stop and realize I haven't met that goal, I will drink extra at the stop to catch up.

    But this is what works for me. Figure out what you like to eat and drink, plan for 200-300 calories per hour, and implement the plan. Plan rest stops at appropriate times or write reminders to eat and drink on your cue sheet if necessary. If you start to "fall apart," stop and eat something. Don't ignore it and keep riding for another hour or more.


    Good luck.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    Another thing to keep in mind is that the fact that you fell apart 30 miles before the end may have more to do with your conditioning than your fueling. Was 125 miles or 92 degree heat normal for you? Or were those two things out of the ordinary? If you weren't regularly riding those distances or in that kind of heat, both could have been as much a factor as your intake.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    This might be helpful... how much to eat during exercise, from Nancy Clark's blog on active.com:

    http://community.active.com/blogs/Na...se-what-to-eat

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    I would need more protein than that. A LOT more. Protein is where you really find out what your stomach can tolerate, but I do fine with egg salad sandwiches which are available nearly everywhere (as long as you don't think too hard about what's in them ) or as Muirenn suggested, if you boil eggs and leave them in their shells you can carry them in your pocket until you need them. Or you could try Perpetuem, or since I don't do soy or whey protein, when I'm running over three hours, I'll mix my own combination of HEED and Garden of Life protein powder. But it sounds like you just need more calories, more than anything.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    144
    Thanks for the tips (I've been riding for 5 years now - this shouldn't be so difficult)! I will definitely incorporate some of them this weekend. I have Allen Lim's cookbook and really should try a few recipes out to see how they agree with me during a ride.

    I think the overall umbrella is that I really need to get a metabolic test done to determine exactly how many calories I'm burning. At least armed with that knowledge, I can know for sure how much I should be eating for optimum performance. Anyone have any experience with that?
    2009 Blue RD-1/White Selle Italia Max Flite Gel

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    566
    Quote Originally Posted by tongue_tied View Post
    I think the overall umbrella is that I really need to get a metabolic test done to determine exactly how many calories I'm burning. At least armed with that knowledge, I can know for sure how much I should be eating for optimum performance. Anyone have any experience with that?
    Neh, I don't know how much that will really help. I've had a power meter that can tell me I'm burning 400 calories an hour, but my stomach only seems to be able to handle 250 an hour -- during longer rides, you'll pretty much end up in a deficit no matter what. That means I need to really pay attention to my hunger cues *after* a ride to restock the muscles, and not just blaze into a burrito and margarita.

    -- gnat!
    Windsor: 2010 S-Works Ruby
    Pantysgawn: 2011 S-Works Stumpjumper 29er
    Whiz!: 2013 S-Works Crux (Singlespeed)
    Boucheron: 2009 S-Works Tricross
    Haloumi: 2013 Tern P7i
    Kraft: 2009 Singlecross
    Gouda: 2005 Electra Betty
    Roquefort: 1974 Stella SX-73

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,476
    I figure about 300 per hour while cycling (of course, everyone is different), but for long distance, your body chemistry changes. Not sure, but it might be better to increase the protein ratio towards the end. (That's what I do, there is probably a good scientific article on the internet somewhere, may completely contradict that. ).

    It also matters what your body type is., Mesomorph, Endomorph, Ectomorph, bone structure, etc. I'm a mesomorph (naturally more muscular) with heavy bones. And I'm 5'7'', so my baseline calories are higher than someone whose ideal weight is lower. (Mine is about 150, maybe down to 145 if I want to go extremely lean).

    I figure (and some disagree, plus, body-type matters) my current weight times 12 to maintain current weight. So, 150 X 12 ='s 1800 calories per day. That is without exercise. With exercise would be 1800 per day plus however many per hour of cycling.

    For a short, 1 hour ride at speed, I add about 300 calories, total. Someone who is more petit might have a much higher metabolism, so that 12 could be a 15. And my metabolism tends to increase as I get leaner, mostly because I'm exercising more, I think. But perhaps also I'm burning faster when I weigh less. (Seems like it, anyway). If I wanted to lose weight, I'd subtract 3500 calories per week from my diet, or 500 calories per day (not including ride fuel). One pound ='s 3500 calories. So, 1800-500=1300 calories per day with no exercise should, theoretically, make me lose about a pound per week, or 1800-500 + ride fuel.

    I’ve read to take 15 times weight for moderately active women, and even more for very active. For myself, I could see taking 15, but not the next level, which might be 18 times weight. I'd gain eating that much, and probably the 15, too. Point is, know how many calories you need to maintain, and subtract 500 to lose in a healthful manner. (One that isn't too fast and forces your body to lose muscle rather than fat).

    Most formulas and doctors' recommendations tend to exaggerate the amount of calories needed, and the amount burned. Same with formulas in Aps like MyFitnessPal.

    Certainly, if you have been at your current weight for awhile, the place to start is to figure out your average caloric intake per day, maybe over the course of a couple of weeks, and go from there. But it does sound like you are under-fueling on the bike.

    On the ride you mention, you ate approximately 1050 calories. If you look at online cycling calculators, they will probably tell you that is about the amount you burned per hour. I think that is exaggerated, but what you ate is still not nearly enough. You probably needed at least double. Depending.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 07-10-2013 at 10:48 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    It's probably salt, not calories. Even if you are not overweight your body stores calories in fat and glycogen that it can utilize in a pinch. You don't run out of calories over a matter of hours. And your body will compensate. I disagree that's it's a bad idea to compensate later (after the ride). Because your body wants to focus on one thing at a time. It can send blood to your muscles so they can pedal. Or it can send blood to your gut for digestion. It doesn't like to do both at the same time. (That doesn't mean you shouldn't eat on a ride--you should eat if you're hungry. It works even better if you take a break to eat AND digest.)

    But you do run out of water and salt in a matter of hours.

    Becoming conscious of my salt intake--making sure I get enough--has made the biggest difference for me.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    For a long ride, you run out of glycogen if you don't eat. That's what bonking is.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    251
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    For a long ride, you run out of glycogen if you don't eat. That's what bonking is.
    Unless you live in the UK. Then bonking is something else.

    Isn't that why food is recommended to be easily digested? We need to eat; but we also need to not spend a lot of energy digesting the food. I've found that oatmeal as a pre-ride breakfast doesn't work all that well for me for that reason. I seem to do much better with a PB&J washed down with almond milk.
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Intensity makes a big difference. At a very low intensity, most people can ride all day with very little food intake, because the very slow process of fat metabolism is nearly enough to keep up. At a long ride average of 17-20 mph (which usually means a normal moving speed of 23-24), you're going to be burning through your muscle glycogen very quickly. You'll need as many calories an hour as your body can absorb just to prevent bonking.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

 

 

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