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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Central Missouri
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    626

    Longer rides and "bonking"

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    So, I have a tendency to have issues with bonking on rides longer than 30 miles. Everyone I rode with last year seemed to think it was due to my not eating enough. I've done the whole Gu thing, but I can't possibly eat Gu enough to make up for it on REALLY long rides. I have nut allergies, so something like a peanuts is out. Granola bars are awesome (I have to make my own because of allergy concerns) but those don't work on really hot, long days well and I don't always have time to make them. Trail mix is out because, well, peanuts. And I hate salty things, so jerky is appalling to me. I make sure to bring a sports drink if I will be out for 90 minutes or more and drink PLENTY on the bike, so I know it's not dehydration.

    I'm just at a loss. I get feverishly hungry the day after a ride which people tell me signals I didn't eat well enough before/during my ride. It's not bad until I do 40-50 miles. Is that true? They say I need more protein but how? I usually get protein from eggs, yogurt, and cheese - all of which need refrigeration.

    My BF and I will be doing a Century at the end of the summer and while I will do my best to eat up before the ride, I will need to eat during. The ride organizers do a good job of getting us snacks and water from what I've read, but protein options are: trail mix, peanut butter sandwiches, and jerky. Is there something I can carry on the bike that would allow me to get more protein? Protein powders are something that could work but I'm not sure which ones are "safe". A number are cross-contaminated due to shared facilities and I will have to call around again. Last time, it was really frustrating trying to figure out what I could and could not eat.
    ***graduate student and avid cyclist***

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Willis, my chiX

    "Carl" - 2010 Kia Soul (when necessary!)

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    For me, when I'm ravenous for days after a long effort, it means I didn't eat enough *after*, not during. Remember that your window to replenish glycogen starts closing half an hour after you stop, and goes back to baseline within two hours. Bonking, obviously, has more to do with eating before and during.

    As far as protein, cheese and unshelled hard boiled eggs don't need refrigeration, even in the warmth of a jersey pocket. You wouldn't necessarily want to keep them for a multi-day ride, but one day is completely safe. If you want to go with a protein powder, I like Garden of Life raw protein powder - it doesn't disclose any nut ingredients or shared facility processing on the label. It does contain some fermented soy (as natto), but that isn't a major protein source. If you're okay with more soy you might look at Perpetuem, which discloses possible cross-contamination with dairy but not with nuts. If you use a protein powder, you'll want to either put single servings in ziploc bags or just buy single serving packets, and mix them as needed.

    I wonder whether you're getting enough salt though. I wonder if what you're interpreting as bonk is actually hyponatremia. Do you get plenty of salt in your usual diet? What are your symptoms?
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
    Posts
    1,828
    hard boiled eggs peeled and salted, bagels with something,if you stop somewhere store like fresh fruit and or cucumbers are great for heat and thirst . What ever you find, start making a point of getting off the bike every 20 miles or so for 5 minutes. Walk around, drink part of your frozen (by now thawed) water bottle and eat something. Keep cliff blocks or something like that available as you ride. My distance shorts have pockets but you can also tuck them into the leg of your shorts, and make a point of having a bite every 30 minutes and a drink every 15. I have found that freezing my electrolyte drink and water bottle really helps out in the hot humid texas summers. That and I get on the road early and get off by eleven and have a box of chocloate almond drink as I get off the bike to stave off the Frantic "i"m starving" feeling until I can get to some real food. Also eat well before you ride. hope some of this helps.
    marni
    Katy, Texas
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
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    3,583
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post

    I wonder whether you're getting enough salt though. I wonder if what you're interpreting as bonk is actually hyponatremia. Do you get plenty of salt in your usual diet? What are your symptoms?
    This is a really important point, because without enough sodium not only does your fluid balance go off but you can't absorb carbohydrates. If you don't like the taste of salty things, I would suggest Endurolyte capsules by Hammer. You don't even have to taste them.

    Protein on looong rides, especially multiday rides is important, but not so much for a 60 miler. So I don't think your bonk is protein related. Protein after you're done riding is more important.

    I'd try to find a liquid fuel source that addresses your allergies and has more than one type of carbohydrate in it, eg maltodextrin and fructose and glucose (these are all absorbed through different receptors so more gets into your blood stream faster) and combine that with Endurolytes. YOu could do some energy blocks or sports beans, banana and supplement that with hammer gel that has malto in it.

    ETA - A lot of sources warn against taking in glucose and fructose during long efforts because they cause a sugar spike and crash. That is kind of true if you eat a bunch at once and then don't eat anything for a while. The goal is to eat a bit frequently and combine the simple sugars with complex sugars like maltodextrin.
    Last edited by Wahine; 04-14-2014 at 03:47 PM.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

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    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    I like the rice-based portables from the Feed Zone cookbook. Protein doesn't generally sit well with me during a ride, so I save it for afterwards.

    Oak makes a good point about electrolytes. Managing that aspect of my nutrition has made a world of difference.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    Carbs fuel the muscles during exercise. Protein rebuilds them afterwards. Carbs replenish glycogen (energy stores) in muscles afterwards.

    You want mostly carbs during the ride. Mix of carbs and protein later.

    I agree that sufficient sodium also is important.

    One of the best books I've ever read was Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook. I highly recommend it.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    I am allergic to peanuts, although I am not bothered by "things processed in the same plant." I often spread almond butter on spelt bread, and eat it during or after a ride. I echo the hard boiled eggs. I tend to get a little weird at mile 40. This is why I crashed into my DH on our failed century last fall. I also noticed it on my birthday ride of 61 miles, when I almost didn't stop at a stop sign. I just need to eat more.
    I use Shot Blocks on long rides, which really help me, but I really need to eat more consistently on rides. Right now, I use Lara Bars, too, but somehow, they don't fill me up the way other bars do. Of course, they have less calories and other bad things.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    5,856
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    I am allergic to peanuts, although I am not bothered by "things processed in the same plant." I often spread almond butter on spelt bread, and eat it during or after a ride. I echo the hard boiled eggs. I tend to get a little weird at mile 40. This is why I crashed into my DH on our failed century last fall. I also noticed it on my birthday ride of 61 miles, when I almost didn't stop at a stop sign. I just need to eat more.
    I use Shot Blocks on long rides, which really help me, but I really need to eat more consistently on rides. Right now, I use Lara Bars, too, but somehow, they don't fill me up the way other bars do. Of course, they have less calories and other bad things.
    I would not lump calories in with "other bad things" in this context. You're getting weird because you need more calories.

    - 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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Anyway, Lara bars are nut-based, and off-limits to the OP ...
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,048
    Colorisnt, are you allergic to all nuts, or just peanuts? If there are some nuts you can eat, I can give you a recipe for a fruit and nut bar that sustains me really well.

    I don't like GU much, though I use it on occasion. I like Shot Blocks or something similar, bananas, dried fruit, pretzels. On longer, warmer rides I often use Gu brew or something similar for electrolytes.

    I also like Nancy Clark's book very much.

    I participated in a program with Carmichael Training a few years ago and they recommended eating 200-300 calories per hour, eating something about every 30 minutes. I have followed that guideline pretty well and only come close to bonking once when I started to feel really hungry but told myself "it's just 5 more miles until we're stopping, I can make it".
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,144
    I also had the same question about the nut allergy; peanuts or all nuts.
    I know I need calories while doing long rides, but I chose Lara Bars because overall, you get more bang for the buck. But, they still have 230 or more calories. I am one that could easily eat way too much when riding, so I vacillate between not caring and caring too much. Long rides make me ravenous and x country skiing even worse.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    626
    Wow, thanks for all the "food" for thought (bad pun, I'm sorry).

    I am very, very allergic to Walnuts and Almonds but my allergist has me avoid ALL tree nuts and peanuts because I do have a minor reaction to peanuts (my tongue itches and swells) and could develop other allergies suddenly. I haven't had an anaphylactic rxn to anything but walnuts and almonds, though. I will eat "shared facility" labeled things but I will not consume things that "may contain" or are made on "shared equipment" (which is like almost everything haha). There are no bars that I know of which aren't labeled with either. Lara bars are completely off limits.

    Hard boiled eggs are a go-to for me pre-ride so I could carry more of those. Salting them sounds awful, though. I know it's "normal" but salt is one of those things I actually avoid really well. While I drink Gatorade, I am wondering if that is my real problem. So these drinks you guys are rec'ing, are these way better than Gatorade? Will they help with that more?

    I drink tons of water no issue but I now recall issues when I was showing horses with replenishing it with enough salt on a particularly bad 98* day. I got really sick and may have had the beginnings of water intoxication, so my mom began force feeding me gatorade after that and forcing me to eat pretzels (which maybe I should also bring with me because I like those!). I also will look into something to eat after (protein), since that is a big problem for me. I never want to eat after a long ride. I am thinking some greek yogurt right when I get home is probably in order because that's one of those "goodies" I can never turn down.
    ***graduate student and avid cyclist***

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Willis, my chiX

    "Carl" - 2010 Kia Soul (when necessary!)

    Elle on Wheels - my cycling blog!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Quote Originally Posted by colorisnt View Post
    I know it's "normal" but salt is one of those things I actually avoid really well.
    Avoiding sodium is not necessarily a good thing. Unless you know you have a sodium sensitivity that affects your health negatively, then you need to start taking in more sodium. If you know you have a sodium sensitivity, you should consult with your doctor to find a solution.


    I drink tons of water no issue but I now recall issues when I was showing horses with replenishing it with enough salt on a particularly bad 98* day. I got really sick and may have had the beginnings of water intoxication,
    This is more evidence that you likely need more electrolytes than what you are currently getting.

    I also will look into something to eat after (protein), since that is a big problem for me. I never want to eat after a long ride. I am thinking some greek yogurt right when I get home is probably in order because that's one of those "goodies" I can never turn down.
    This is a good thought.

    Meanwhile, I found this article this morning on Beginner Triathlete, it sums up some of the nutritional issues related to activity. I don't agree with everything said here, but most of it is good info and might give you a better understanding of the big picture.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    626
    Thanks for that. I don't have a sodium sensitivity that I know of. I think I just don't much like the taste and avoid it for this reason.

    I read the article and that really helps me get the bigger picture, so thanks again. I think I need to keep with my shots I have left over from last year (the clif ones). I will also try a couple more options and try to see the sports nutrition place in town for some recs. I know now what I need to look for (something with electrolytes BEFORE a ride and something for during to drink). I think my biggest issue is that I don't get enough of what I need before I get started and then I feel crappy and don't want to eat/drink more. The next day, I'm not feeling great because of the choices I made pre/during/post ride. I would like to stop that from happening this year!
    ***graduate student and avid cyclist***

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Willis, my chiX

    "Carl" - 2010 Kia Soul (when necessary!)

    Elle on Wheels - my cycling blog!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    I'm fairly sensitive to the flavor of salt, meaning that a small amount tastes very salty to me. I use either Skratch Labs mixes and Elete electrolyte concentrate in water, depending on the ride. Neither has an overly-strong salty taste, and the flavor of the Skratch is light enough that I can keep drinking it at proper concentration even when it's hot (unlike Gatorade or some of the other mixes...).

    In the end, it comes down to what tastes good to you, sits well in your stomach, and provides the nutrients you need. This may take some trial and error, but it's worth the experiment.

 

 

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