How to eat on rides

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Hi. First post in this forum but you lot might have been through this. Have tried searching and turned up zip:

I've cycled for years. Noticed recently that I'm happiest cycling on nothing but liquids. If I eat within hours of a ride I feel sick to my stomach and am sluggish and slow. I really can cycle for 3 hours at a reasonable pace on NO food without any noticeable loss of performance. My (cyclist) husband flatly says this is impossible. He's wrong!

Now training for a 3-day ride in June where I'll realistically need to eat during the ride or utterly run out of steam as i'll be in the saddle 6+ hours each day. How can I train myself to eat on rides without feeling sick? Or should I stick to water and energy drink as I know that works?

Big thanks!

Replies

  • Dahamac
    Dahamac Posts: 213 Member
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    You might try Hammer Perpetuem for the longer rides as it has the calories, fats, and proteins you need in liquid form when you mix it in with your water bottles.

    I used this for a 131 mile ride and felt great until we stopped for lunch at mile 80 and I ate too much solid food. After the solid food it took me a hour or so to get back on pace due to digestion robbing some of the blood flowing to the legs. However, I do need a little solid food after about the 4 hour mark just to give me stomach something to grind on rather than itself. I prefer natural foods such as fruit or Dr. Will bars or Hammer's bars, and/or a bagel. I shoot to get 300 calories/hour from the combination of food and drink and then I do fine.

    3 hours without eating is doable as the body can store about 2 hours worth of glycogen and then transition to burning fat so long as you are taking in some simple carbs during that period. In fact, one training method I have learned recently is to avoid eating or consuming any calories for the first 90 minutes in order to teach the body to burn fat. I need to practice that more but not on a 4+ hour ride.
  • scott091501
    scott091501 Posts: 1,260 Member
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    I'd stay away from Hammer products. They are single source sugars, contain soy, and are VERY underdosed electrolyte wise. Powerbar Perform or First Endurance EFS are great sports drink to use on rides. Powerbar's and Gu's Gel products are great to get extra cals in too. If you don't handle gels well there is always a Clif bar or a banana.
  • Cyclink
    Cyclink Posts: 517 Member
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    I'm with Scott. I'm not a fan of Hammer at all, mostly because I think they taste gross.

    My 4-hour ride menu is usually Cytomax and whole-wheat mini pitas. I've been looking for something with a little protein, but nothing has held up well on 80-degree days.

    For me, it was a LOT of trial and error and upset stomach days to test out different foods and find out what I liked the taste of 3 1/2 hours into a ride as much as I did in the first 20 minutes. Cytomax and mini pitas won :-)
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
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    Here's some things that some people swear by...
    Soreen malt loaf
    Dried fruits
    Nuts
    Flapjack
    Bananas

    Little and often is the key.

    Have you tried carb gels if you can't stomach solid foods? The texture and taste are gross but do the trick.
  • Evachiquita
    Evachiquita Posts: 223 Member
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    I eat LaraBars or Luna Bars on rides; they have never given me problems. Because I hate packaging I sometimes just bring dates and dried fruit and nuts (basically the ingredients in LaraBars) (Ok, so that's basically trail mix). I have had mixed luck with bananas on rides but I seem to tolerate apples and oranges, sometimes I pre slice them and can then eat them on the bike. On all-day rides that are 6+ hours I make a sprouted wheat wrap with baked tofu and then add other things like avocado, tomato, sprouts, peppers, or vegan mayonnaise. It has worked quite well for me but I eat this at a break when I have a little bit of time to sit and digest it. I have also eaten baked potatoes on long rides. I only took a few bites at a time for fear of too much fiber and stomach upset, but it worked well in moderation. There are a nice change because they are something savory and actually like a meal instead of snack food and trail mix.

    Like another poster said, train your body to use the fat you have (sounds like you have done that). I used to train too hard and was always eating tons of food and bonking. Now I need to eat far less food on a ride, which is good because I don't have upset stomach issues. Another key for me is to eat a few bites at a time throughout the ride. I do this on rides that are from 3-5ish hours. It just kinda depends on the day and how long I'm going to be out and riding. Less than 2 hours I don't eat anything usually. More than 2 hours but less than 5 I eat during the ride. More than about 5 I try to make a "lunch", and will eat during the ride too.

    It's all basically trial and error to find out what works for you! Happy riding! :-)
  • ClearNotCloudyMind
    ClearNotCloudyMind Posts: 238 Member
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    Hi folks. Thanks for the tips. Very interested to hear the info on fat vs carb burning as I'd been considering changing my diet to induce that! Guess I'll be trying to cram in some 3+ hr rides and risk an upset tummy to find what works.
  • scott091501
    scott091501 Posts: 1,260 Member
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    I'm a firm believer that you can train your system to handle just about anything. I have my athletes start using what will be provided on course as soon as they register for an "A" event. You'll make it work.
  • RiotMTB
    RiotMTB Posts: 91 Member
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    Hammer products dont agree with my stomach. I prefer to keep electrolytes in my bottle...then gels for food. My favorite gels are Clif Vanilla, and Vega Sport.
  • Dahamac
    Dahamac Posts: 213 Member
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    Completed a non-stop Century yesterday on Hammer Heed, Hammer Perpetuem, 1 pack of Jelly Belly Sport Beans, and 1 PowerBar Gel. Just missed a sub-five hour Century by 3 1/2 minutes... if it weren't for the 15-20mph headwinds I'd have made it in less than 5 hours.

    I will say that everything tasted far too sweet after about the 3 1/2 hour mark and by the end of the ride I was ready to drink from a mud-puddle just for clear water. I will make sure to carry a 3rd bottle next time with just clear water to rinse anything else. I did not have the normal post-ride gastro-intestinal distress when I include other foods during the ride.

    So, short of the long; to find what works for you on long rides you must experiment.

    Hammer works for me but not for others, PowerBar gels tear my stomach to pieces if I use them before the last hour of the ride, and I need something solid at some point in the ride.
  • lpherman01
    lpherman01 Posts: 212 Member
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    So, short of the long; to find what works for you on long rides you must experiment.

    Hammer works for me but not for others

    I like the Hammer Sustain, and mix it pretty thick in one bottle, with Enduralite Fizzies mixed with a little Gatorade powder, or sometimes just plain water in the other bottle. No problems on 4 hour rides with a mid ride break for more water or maybe a little snack.
  • legitlee
    legitlee Posts: 25
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    My system is little but often as mentioned, I seem to get an upset stomach using to much/many energy sources.

    Also as mentioned you have to workout what suits you.

    Fluids......I always carry two bottles one water the other energy drink. sometimes plain water seems so refreshing. I used to drink prior to being thirsty (like all the books say) but I could never control it, so now when I'm thirsty I drink and I seem to be much better.

    Food.......Personally I found I can ride two hours with just my start food prior to ride, so after 1 1/2 hours I will eat half a energy bar which I have worked out to take about 30 minutes to digest and become energy it will energise me for 30 minutes, and that seems to work so every 30 minutes I top up with little something, and I tend to be okay.

    This is my rule of thumb of course it would be perfect for me if it were a perfect day, flat, nice temperature, no wind, etc so what I'm saying is it will also depend on the environment.

    Gels.......I always carry Gels and only really use them if I have to. I can tell when I need a Gel because if I see a hill in front of me and I moan, or I generally feel grumpy, thats my trigger to tell me my tank is running low so I have a Gel to get me past the initial point then eat a little something to work within 30 minutes for when the Gel runs out.

    I hope this is another option to try.
  • lpherman01
    lpherman01 Posts: 212 Member
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    Anyone ever try Beer?

    On our tandem mid-way through a 60 mile group ride they all stopped at the French Bakery in New Hope for an 11:30 snack. My wife wrinkled her nose and said, wouldn't you rather go to Havana? So we left the group and went up to the local outdoor cafe to have a couple of Coronas & a Cuban sandwich. We ate for about 45 minutes & then headed back. I felt sluggish for the first 1/2 hour but that feeling faded and our pace picked up. Turns out that assisted by another riders flat, we actually beat the group back to the start.

    Don't knock it if you haven't tried it ;-)
  • cloggsy71
    cloggsy71 Posts: 2,208 Member
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    Anyone ever try Beer?

    On our tandem mid-way through a 60 mile group ride they all stopped at the French Bakery in New Hope for an 11:30 snack. My wife wrinkled her nose and said, wouldn't you rather go to Havana? So we left the group and went up to the local outdoor cafe to have a couple of Coronas & a Cuban sandwich. We ate for about 45 minutes & then headed back. I felt sluggish for the first 1/2 hour but that feeling faded and our pace picked up. Turns out that assisted by another riders flat, we actually beat the group back to the start.

    Don't knock it if you haven't tried it ;-)

    Mmmmm - A Camelback full of Stella Artois :tongue:
  • TheBigYin
    TheBigYin Posts: 5,686 Member
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    Mmmmm - A Camelback full of Stella Artois :tongue:

    OT-Sorry

    I will NOT be counting "wifebeater" as a Belgian Beer for the purposes of this weekends Classic Challenge... Jupiter OK, Duvel Fine, Leffe - Suppose so, but wifebeater's just another Whitbred Lager in the UK.
  • CentralCaliCycling
    CentralCaliCycling Posts: 453 Member
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    If I am riding hard with distance in the morning I like to start with Cream of Wheat which doesn't seem to cause too much stomach issues. Preferably I will not actually start riding for at least an hour, two is better. If I have eaten within two hours of riding I do not feel the need for anything other than water for the first couple of hours of the ride. After two hours I am looking for a steady diet of fruit and nuts, the occasional bar, gu's and energy supplements to my drinks. This has worked for rides that include serious distance and elevation (i.e. The Death Ride and the Climb 2 Kaiser).
  • BusyRaeNOTBusty
    BusyRaeNOTBusty Posts: 7,166 Member
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    My husband does endurance mountain biking. 100 miles, 10 hours. These are his favorite. I like them too.

    http://www.coconutzfuel.com/

    You'll want to combine them with a drink that has caffeine and electrolytes.
  • TheBigYin
    TheBigYin Posts: 5,686 Member
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    I prefer the Classic Belgian approach... :wink:

    BelgianWaffles.jpg

    Hoegaarden.jpg