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Eating during long rides? Dog et al...(47 posts)

Eating during long rides? Dog et al...MB1
Nov 13, 2001 2:34 PM
On an 8-10 hour ride do you stop for a meal somewhere in the middle? Or do you just eat whatever while on the bike and keep going.

I'm thinking about not bothering with our usual mid ride meal and just eating on the bike. We have no problems getting to about 70 miles or so before stopping and eating something other than the usual on bike food. Is it any big deal to just keep going? What are people out there doing? I'd like to hear from you.
re: Eating during long rides? Dog et al...ColnagoFE
Nov 13, 2001 2:42 PM
Personally I find on longer rides--for me that's longer than a century--I have to eat one solid meal somewhere in the middle. Peanut butter sandwich or the like seems to work well for me. I get really sick of gels and bars and they upset my stomach if that's all I'm using. Also you gotta make sure you keep really hydrated--especially if using gels otherwise you'll get really sick. Anything longer than 150 miles though I have no idea as I've never gone that far in one day before. I suppose at some point your digestive system wants to shut down and getting even liquid only nutrition is probably a challenge.
haveya seen these?Js Haiku Shop
Nov 13, 2001 2:47 PM

good one:
Yup, thanks. I want some real people ideas.MB1
Nov 13, 2001 2:51 PM
But you know hard candy isn't bad during a long ride I just can't help thinking that sooner or later my teeth are going to rot and fall out from all the sugar during long rides.
these are REAL people. *real crazy* people. like dog. :o) nmJs Haiku Shop
Nov 13, 2001 2:55 PM
Thanks J. nmcioccman
Nov 13, 2001 2:51 PM
Define Mid Ride "Meal"Kristin
Nov 13, 2001 3:05 PM
At the Hilly Hundred, they stop you after twenty miles and offer you a fried chicken lunch with all the trimmings. Now, this is completely indulgent and unnessesary. But you stop and eat anyway because its a nice autumn day, and the food is yummy and, you paid for it already, and...well...everyone else is. Some groups I've ridden with believe that a "meal" always involves a waitress and a tip. This type of "meal" is probably detrimental to acheiving a personal record or an enjoyable second half.

I'm supose you meant stopping to peel a bannana or take a PB&J out of its baggy and enjoying a 15 minute break on a grassy knoll somewhere.
We will usually stop for about 1/2 hour and split a sub & chips.MB1
Nov 13, 2001 3:20 PM
Or pretzels. Not a lot of food but a big snack. I've been thinking lately that this is not really needed but all the rides do it-so we do it. I want to see if anyone here just rides straight through 200K or so without a real off the bike stop (other than nature of course).
No big stopsBrooks
Nov 13, 2001 4:35 PM
When I'm solo, I may stop for a few minutes, stretch, drink and eat without worrying about hitting something, etc. I really can't stay off the bike too long without tightening up. An organized Century this year had Subway sandwiches and other lunch stuff, but our small group of riders took a few minutes to grab some food and get back to riding. I did the 200 mile race without stops (five feed zones handing up a bag) although a number of riders would stop. No nature stops either but stayed well hydrated.
200k? i thought you were talking about LONG rides...Js Haiku Shop
Nov 14, 2001 6:27 AM
ok, i've only done two of 'em, but...

the first one i stopped for a bit to talk with 12x23, our friendly alabama poster with far too many bikes for one person :o). we rode most of the rest of the way side-by-side.

the second i rode straight through and only stopped 3 times, well, 3.5: each time for water and the .5 to use nature's urinal (large oak tree). not a mountainous course, but hilly and very windy, temps moderate, all paved and in fair condition. i ate a clif bar an hour for the first couple hours, two cans of strawberry ensure plus for the later hours, and a sugar coookie about the size of a large coffee can lid.

I think if i'd stopped for a "lunch" break on any rides longer than 80 miles, i'd get stiff, stuffed, and might possibly lose motivation to the urge for a siesta.

for me, it's unrealistic not to stop for at least one bathroom break and 1 or 2 water refills. then again, i've not leveled out my water intake and output yet for longish rides, and i'll typically start them pretty well hydrated from the shiner bock, er, "superhydration" the prior night. during that first century i did this year, i was riding with a friend, and stopped for 10-15 or more minutes at each stop (thus my total time of 9+ hours). this was a recipe for sore legs and cramping, walking the last climb, and wanting to sell my bike and try one of those rascal motorized scooters. i learned to keep the stops to 5 minutes or less, or the minimum required to go to disperse fluids/take on fuel. if i'm riding with the pack and they're not yet ready to leave, i'll go up the road and they'll catch and absorb me in a bit.
130-150 miles is all. Don't want to ride in the dark & coldMB1
Nov 14, 2001 6:46 AM
all that much this time of year. I imagine by January we won't be able to go over 130 miles without pushing darkness a bit more than I care to. Might want to do some real miles next year, a 1000K is looking good.

I've been wondering about stopping to eat because we have been eating less and less at our mid ride stops. But every group ride we have gone on people stop about halfway for a break. It is a habit we have gotten into without really thinking about it.

I don't usually feel that good for a while after stopping & eating so why stop? It is not like we don't have enough experience with long rides that it is going to be a real problem.

Last night we talked about it and Miss M is fine with not stopping for lunch on long rides. Perhaps this weekend we will give it a try.
not that it's related too much, but i was thinking recently...Js Haiku Shop
Nov 14, 2001 6:52 AM
...about how hydration packs and eating on the bike were really preceded by that cool construction hard-hat with the cupholders on sides and back and long straws, allowing the user to drink from cans (presumably blue-ribbon-compatible) whilst going about their normal, everyday activities. something to consider.
Grandad always carried his hip-flask to church on Sunday.MB1
Nov 14, 2001 6:57 AM
If we were really good he would let us have a shot after the sermon.

BTW back in the day when I raced (in the mid '70s) I carried a flask full of coke syrup for the last few miles-talk about an upset stomach after the race!
not much solid foodDog
Nov 13, 2001 4:15 PM
If I'm riding hard, particularly with hills, I can't handle solid food, much beyond a banana now and then. I'd never, ever stop and eat anything resembling a real meal, for these reasons: 1. I'd puke it up; 2. it would impair breathing; 3. it would impair fluid uptake; 4. I doubt I'd digest it fast enough to get sufficient calories from it quickly enough.

Now, if you are sort of putting along at a leisurely pace, then that may be completely different. At, say, a 120 hr type of ride, I could probably eat a big pizza along the way and be ok. Above, I'm talking about rides in which you are breathing hard, and have a 70-80% hr the whole time.

I ate no solid food in the 508. The body can only digest around 350 calories per hour while riding hard, and you can easily get that from liquids.

If I'm out on an aerobic training ride, I might stop at a C store and get some cookies, a Hostess pie, or some donuts. I'd take it easy for a while after that, though.

Bottom line, it depends upon how hard you are riding. The harder you ride, the more you depend upon liquid food.

Nov 13, 2001 4:24 PM
120 heartrate (not hours)
Nov 13, 2001 7:08 PM
What kind of liquid fuel are you using that will give you 350g carbs per hour? Gatorade/Powerade/Accelerade all have about 20g in 8oz, so 60g in a big bottle (24oz). That's the amount of liquid that one of those Ultracycle sites says you shouldn't exceed in an hour. Please fill me in on how you do it! I'd love to switch to liquids and not have to mess with food as much.

Nov 14, 2001 6:28 AM
Mix your own, or use something like Hammergel straight or dissolved in your water. Sustained Energy works, too.

Hammergel works wonders.

We don't usually ride all that hard. Somewhere between 12-16mphMB1
Nov 13, 2001 5:49 PM
average for the day depending on conditions. Lately we have been riding from sunrise to sunset on Saturdays. I was thinking if we didn't stop halfway we could finish sooner-Miss M was thinking if we don't stop we could ride further.

We drink Gatorade that we mix ourselves and eat food we make ourselves-way past being tired of gels and bars. No reason we couldn't pack a PB&J sandwich for halfway and just keep riding.

BTW isn't it amazing the junk you will eat from a 7-11 that you would never eat or have at home.
Ride to eat, or eat to ride?tarwheel
Nov 14, 2001 6:19 AM
Sort of like the old question: Do you work to live, or live to work? Personally, one of the reasons why I like cycling and other exercise is that it allows me to eat more. I love to eat. Why miss a perfectly good opportunity for a meal? I mean, you're riding a bike from sunup to sundown. Stop and get a decent meal. Am I missing something here? Do you not like food?
That's an interesting perspective...Kristin
Nov 14, 2001 6:44 AM
Hmmm....I'll have to muse over that for a while. Of course, I've now cut my calorie consumption to about 1K per day so I don't balloon again by March. (Can't exercise right now.)
I thought about it. Naw...I'd rather ride throughKristin
Nov 14, 2001 7:08 AM
After musing for a few moments, I decided that a nice sit down meal during a sight seeing trip is good once and a while. But if I'm working at all, then I don't want to stop for long.

Stopping for more than 15 min:
* Muscles tighten and cramp
* If I've been riding hard for a while and then stop, I feel ravenous and eat too much.
* If I start digesting before getting back to it, I feel tired.

Keep in mind, I can't ride a century comfortably at this point. By mile 60, I usually want to throw the bike off a cliff. (Good thing there's not cliffs in Chicago.)
Once in a while it is fun to build a ride around a meal.MB1
Nov 14, 2001 7:21 AM
Ride to some really nice brew pub, pizzaria or resturant with outdoor seating and enjoy a nice extended meal with cycling friends. Just try to make the ride home much shorter and flatter than the ride out.
Nov 14, 2001 8:24 AM
Are you sure that's safe? That almost sounds compulsive...I'm sure somebody will correct me if I'm wrong, but 1K sounds barely capable of supporting life!
Um...perhaps a bit more with strength trainingKristin
Nov 14, 2001 9:13 AM
Last winter I booted the old television. My diet changed slowly. This wasn't intentional, just the natural result of no television. At dinner time, I began eating much less--from 600+ calories to 300 or so. (Listening to yourself chew takes all the fun out of eating!) I felt a little hungry for the first month until my stomach adjusted. Slowly, this carried over and I began eating a lighter lunch. Less was satisfying. Additionally, many cravings were gone. I believe that cravings are produced by advertising executives. On days when I would eat alone, I ended up consuming between 800-1000 calories. I'd eat more when out with friends. I never strickly counted calories, lost only 5 pounds a month and enjoyed one chocolate chip cookie a day. Not at all unhealthy in my book.

I believe that nutritionists recommend no less than 1200 calories a day. Personally, I found that I didn't need that many. Oh, and this was for a "lightly active" life style. As I began exercising, I consumed more. So its all good, no?
If I....4bykn
Nov 14, 2001 11:45 AM
only ate 1000 cal per day I'd starve! Of course, it'd take awhile since I carry a couple extra pounds of calories. If you can do it, good for you. I don't have the will-power.

Let's see.....hmmmm...1000calories....130+ cal/beer...shoot, I couldn't eat hardly anything!
re: Eating during long rides? Dog et
Nov 13, 2001 4:47 PM
I am not an ultra guy, but i watch the pros eat solid food. They don't eat a solid meal, but they do eat solid food, not totally liquid.
re: Solid foods on long rides...guido
Nov 29, 2001 2:24 PM
I agree with the posts suggesting not eating a whole meal if you're going hard on a long ride.

Eddy B. said his pro riders ate little sandwiches during races, made of a good, dense, toasted bread with ham and creme cheese. The cream cheese gets soft from the warmth of your back pocket, and about 40 miles into a hard effort, they give you everything your body wants: a little salty protein in the ham, lubed to go down by the cream cheese, and good carbs from the bread. Delicious!

No need to stop except for liquids. Eat one of these every two hours or so, chased with plenty of water. I've had problems with fatty foods, including sweet rolls, honey buns, etc., and acidic foods, but never these little sandwiches.
Not really a mealKerry Irons
Nov 13, 2001 5:03 PM
But I always take one short break in the middle, and at that point drink a Coke, eat a couple of large cookies and some seeds/nuts (700-800 calories). On the bike, I drink water and eat Fig Newtons. In the past, I used to use carbo drinks, but they leave everything sticky, I actually enjoy eating the "real food" rather than all liquids, and then I have water if I need it for other purposes (rinsing salt out of my eyes, washing hands after a tire change, etc.). Plus, I find water to be a more "cleansing" drink. The concept of a "meal" in the middle of the ride sounds like a full stomach and taking significant time off the bike, neither of which suites me (YMMV).
I'm with youdzrider
Nov 14, 2001 7:47 AM
If I can't stop for a few hours I only stop for a few minutes. Most of my long rides have come touring and I'd ride 3.5 hrs in the morning, take 2 hours for lunch and do it again in the afternoon. Done day after day they feel like long rides. Any meal break shorter than that leaves me feeling stiff and burping relentlessly.

Running ultra-marathons, I find I like salted potatoes, peanut butter on saltines, trail mix and Payday candy bars. All but the saltines work well in baggies in my back pockets and all treat my stomach than gels or energy bars. The best drink for me is fruit punch flavored GookinAid or Ultima. For some reason citrus drinks upset my stomach more than others.
Potatoes are good.MB1
Nov 14, 2001 7:50 AM
Boil up some small red or white potatoes, put 'em in a baggie with a little salt and you are good to go. It is always a bonus to eat something on a ride that isn't sweet.
Potatoes are good.badabill
Nov 14, 2001 8:50 AM
old double century trick. I still use it, more for the salt and just to get a little something solid in my tummy. I have been riding alot of long distance solo this year so have gotten into the habit of not stopping for a meal. Gels work great, stay hydrated and you should not have to stop for 8-10hrs. On really tough rides like the death ride I use one of the liquid meal drinks, have not tried hammer gels yet but its on sale and I plan to give it a try. Figs work for me also, just a treat while on the ride.
Self Fuelgrzy
Nov 13, 2001 6:01 PM
I find that you just can't depend on the food on big organized rides. they get some deal on stuff you've never heard of before. While I applaud their efforts some of this stuff will make you sicker than a frat boy on a Sat. night. It sucks to find this out in the middle of a century.

Water, GU, Revenge (orange), and yogurt berry 30-30-40 bars from Trader Joes, bananas dipped in peanut butter - what more does one need? The big mid-ride meal can really screw you up. One thing NOT to do is to eat a big plate of veggie salad. You'll feel full, you body won't be able to process it and you'll bonk like a big dog inside an hour. Been there. Gotta find out what your body can tollerate interms of the high-tech fuels, and if you're skinny with a high metabolism you need to constantly eat like a machine. Get behind the power curve and you're gonna take a big time out which is pure hell after your legs tighten up and you try to get going again. It all varries by individual and you need to find your own formula. Experiment with new stuff on shorter rides in case something makes you ill. The wife fills one water bottle with water and the other with dried cereal and can ride me into the ground if I ever stop eating. She can access her fat and I don't have enough, but she's also got the long distance thing wired from years of experience.
Your wife sounds like mine, doesn't eat enough to feed a hamsterMB1
Nov 13, 2001 6:14 PM
and can go forever. Trying stuff on shorter rides is out, we don't do shorter rides on weekends. I will try the bars from TJ's they usually have pretty good stuff. As you mentioned we have pretty much given up on vegtables during rides-too hard to digest and not enough calories.

I figure to make some PB&Js and try to ride pretty much nonstop this weekend. Offseason, did someone say offseason???
After riding all day, you two must want a big dinnerTig
Nov 14, 2001 6:27 AM
Even after a just 3 or 4 hour ride, I'm starved for a high carb meal. I imagine you two would want something to replenish with after a full day of riding. Then again, she might eat like a hamster after the ride as well!
She normally requires a few replenishment brews usually draftMB1
Nov 14, 2001 6:36 AM
or import. Mexican, Japanese, Italian or some sort of ethnic food. It is true that she don't eat much.

Me? I'm piggin out.
Actually, No!grzy
Nov 14, 2001 12:40 PM
Found I used to do more of the post ride binge eating when I first started doing longer rides, but now that I self fuel I'm on the "pay as you go plan." When I finish a big ride I'm usually not very hungry - I'm kinda full from continuously eating. Plus my stomach seems a bit contracted and doesn't want mass quantities. Once after the Death Ride I didn't eat anything until around 10 PM - 5 hours after the ride was over. After the Terrible Two I ate lightly, but was really craving a stiff margarita. I'll usually eat something, but I make sure to slug down some Endurox R4. I'm usually more interested in liquid refreshements and hanging out with my buds. If I didn't bring enough food and I've dipped into my reserves then I might want to eat a horse, but I'll only get part way through it. The wife will eat something, but usually we're talking desert and junk food. How she can do it is a complete mystery to me.
agree to carry, though?Js Haiku Shop
Nov 14, 2001 6:38 AM
lucky to have a nike hydration pack (100oz) that can hold a couple cans of boost/ensure in the bladder area, besides the full bladder. beyond that, they really don't fit well in jersey pockets. i've been thinking about a light nylon fanny-pack (sorry for the "fanny" reference, euro-sensitive readers), the nearly disposable or collapsable type. otherwise, they're rough to transport (suggestoins?).

I also carry gatorade powder (tried cytomax, didn't dig it) for refilling the bottles, just add water. most organized events 'round here either don't have gatorade (powerade, and it makes the tummy cramp), or have gatorade that's mixed either far too strong or too weak.

so, i try to carry all the stuff i think i'll need, except water. bad: lots to carry. good: have stuff i know works, don't have to push from SAG to SAG for food, and the load gets lighter as the day wears on.
We use butt packs or a rack pack on the tandem. This time ofMB1
Nov 14, 2001 6:52 AM
year it is a little tough to stuff everything you need in a small buttpack since the temps can vary by 40 degrees or so. Since we commute we have all the packs of different sizes we need and are used to using them.

I avoid camelback type bags as much as I can this time of year, don't want my back (or any part of my body)to get sweaty since it is likely to get very cold before we finish for the day.
re: Eating during long rides? Dog et al...Coluber
Nov 13, 2001 6:32 PM
I like to take along an insulated bottle of milk (or a couple of little boxes of parmalat, which keeps unrefridgerated), a bottle of orange juice, a banana or two (although somehow they always end up mushy and gross) and a clif bar or two. In addition to plenty of water, that will easily sustain me through at least eight or nine hours or so of riding as long as I eat it slowly; I usually have at least half a clif bar left. What refreshes me the most though is the milk and the orange juice. I often don't remember or bother to eat before I leave, too (which is probably not so bright) but I've never had a problem. Then when I get back I eat a big meal and really enjoy it!
Nov 13, 2001 11:04 PM
The only rule I follow is not sprinting too hard shortly after eating. Mellow pedaling right after a meal may even aid digestion in the same way a post-meal walk does, I figger. But some people wonder how I handle some of the heavier foods I eat just prior to riding. I think there's a component of training your stomach to take it.
Might not be necessary!!cyclequip
Nov 14, 2001 1:10 AM
Just some anecdotal evidence from Mike Stroud and Ran Ffiennes - on their walk across the Antarctic they managed 12hr spells of sled-pulling in extreme conditions without stopping for food. To stop meant to pitch a tent or risk freezing, so they walked. They recorded what is accepted as the known absolute for daily caloric consumption - more than twice the daily average for a TdF rider, with a morning and evening meal. It's a matter of conditioning - but the human body is quite able to adapt.
All trueProfessor Leibstrum
Nov 14, 2001 6:23 AM
But they were nearly dead at the end of it, had liver damage etc, and were miunus several extremities...
They were utterly mad though...nmmuncher
Nov 14, 2001 6:24 AM
Yes, but in a good way. nmMB1
Nov 14, 2001 6:30 AM
Agreed - and at least they didn't do something really stupid...muncher
Nov 14, 2001 6:38 AM
like get their thumbs caught in the runners of their sleds :-(
re: Eating during long rides? Dog et al...UncleMoe
Nov 14, 2001 9:26 AM
I enjoy stopping at a midway point just to chill and relax for 15 minutes or so, drink some decent liquid, and have a powerbar or fig newtons or crakers or something. I do this on solo rides just to add a small amount of true relaxation to the ride.

In groups, it depends on the riders. Some like to just barrel thru, some like to stop and actually sit and order food, some are like me on solo rides.

I must say, I was never a big fan of stopping and ordering food in a restaurant atmosphere. But the more I do it, the more I can deal with it. It just seems like too big a break to me sometimes.
re: Eating during long rides? Dog et al...The Flying Bean
Nov 28, 2001 5:22 AM
We did a 186 mile ride. Ate a bar or cake every 20 minutes or so, plus fluids, and stopped 3 times for light snacks.Probably took in more calories than used but I finished the ride fresh as a daisy and had plenty left. Teeth nearly rotted away with all the sugar but at least completed the ride comfortably. I wouldnt recommend stopping if you're wet - you'd chill easily...keep going or abandon. Cheers!