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  1. #1
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    How To Train For Bikepacking/Eating Enough Calories

    Not sure if this is the best section to post this, but here goes....

    I guess my question simply is, "How do you do it?"

    Over the past month or so I've ridden about 250 miles of gravel roads, and 50 miles of singletrack, in an effort to prepare for riding a portion of the Arizona Trail; in particular the stretch between Oracle and Superstition- about 100 miles or so.

    Maybe that is not very much training- and feel free to tell me so! But anyways, I decided I'd ride a section of the Arizona Trail to see what it was all about.

    I started at the PicketPost trailhead and rode south for 8 miles, then turned around and came back, and let's just say that by mile 12, things weren't going too well.

    Temps were 86 degrees. Elevation at the highest point I think was around 2700 ft; where I normally ride is about 1400 ft above sea level. I had a bowel of oatmeal for breakfast, with coffee, and had a couple of power bars with me, 3 liters of water, and a 20 oz Gatorade.

    By mile 12 I was just about completely out of liquids- although I don't think it would've mattered if a water truck was following me around, because I felt too sick to drink or eat anything! In fact, the last couple miles back to the car, which are largely downhill, I ended up walking beside the bike because the bouncing on the trail while riding upset my stomach too much. How's that for humiliating! lol

    While I'm no expert, I don't consider myself a beginner, and I surely thought I could handle 16 miles of singletrack at 86 degrees. I mean come on!!!

    I have ridden 50 miles at a time on gravel (granted, perfectly flat road, and in cooler temps) and I realize singletrack is NOT like a gravel road. For me, it seems like one mile of singletrack is about equal to 4 miles of gravel road riding. Of course there are variances with what terrain you're riding, etc.

    I had planned to allow three days to ride/camp the 100 mile stretch (then I found out there are guys who do the entire 100 miles in <24 hrs, lol) but I guess that plan is going to need some revision.

    When I got home, I shoveled down two packages of beef jerky, a couple of pickles, three diet 7-Ups, couple glasses of water, and was craving any type of salty food for days afterwards. The last couple miles back to the car was lots of resting, dizziness, and nausea.

    At any rate, I'd be interested to know what you think of the symptoms I described, and also, when you are out camping on a bike and the grocery store is nowhere to be found, how do you ingest enough calories to keep the body going?

    I just don't think a package of Rachel Ray oatmeal on the JetBoil and a granola bar is gonna cut it for me as a trail-breakfast!

    Maybe I just need to train more...

  2. #2
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    This is only a thought and may not be correct, have you considered that it might have been the coffee making you feel sick? I can't have a drink with a lot of caffeine in without feeling sick unless I've had some decent, solid food first. Due to this I only have tea with breakfast and then have my caffeine fix mid-morning.

    When you mention your trail breakfast too, I would just have what you say but then I would carry on eating a snack every 30m-1hr. It's rare I have the heat to contend with though, so that might limit what you can stomach too.
    - The seasons blow away, but the love is just the same -

  3. #3
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    Hi NDT, Good post and great questions. Welcome to the forum.
    I have a few questions if you don't mind?
    What bike are you riding? Rigid, HT, FS
    How much weight in camping gear were you carrying?

    I'd like to take a stab at some of your questions.
    Let me preface my post with, I am the complete opposite of an Ultra Racer, packing far too many creature comforts, so my answers might be quite different than theirs. I've been mtn biking Colorado (CT, Fruita) and Utah(Moab) singletrack since 2004 and bikepacking those trails since 2009. I'm retired, 59 years old, with no time constraints so # of miles per day is never an issue.
    =============

    I guess my question simply is, "How do you do it?"

    Over the past month or so I've ridden about 250 miles of gravel roads, and 50 miles of singletrack, in an effort to prepare for riding a portion of the Arizona Trail; in particular the stretch between Oracle and Superstition- about 100 miles or so.

    Maybe that is not very much training- and feel free to tell me so! But anyways, I decided I'd ride a section of the Arizona Trail to see what it was all about.

    My training consists of 4 rides a week. Usually 12-15 miles on the local singletrack in my area. Seg 1 of the CT (Waterton Canyon) is my favorite. I will pack the bike with ~25# Are you trailing with your bike loaded?

    I started at the PicketPost trailhead and rode south for 8 miles, then turned around and came back, and let's just say that by mile 12, things weren't going too well.

    Temps were 86 degrees. Elevation at the highest point I think was around 2700 ft; where I normally ride is about 1400 ft above sea level. I had a bowel of oatmeal for breakfast, with coffee, and had a couple of power bars with me, 3 liters of water, and a 20 oz Gatorade.

    By mile 12 I was just about completely out of liquids- although I don't think it would've mattered if a water truck was following me around, because I felt too sick to drink or eat anything! In fact, the last couple miles back to the car, which are largely downhill, I ended up walking beside the bike because the bouncing on the trail while riding upset my stomach too much. How's that for humiliating! lol

    I don't think the 900ft of elevation between 2.7K and 1.4K would make that much difference. There's still plenty of O2. However the humidity in AZ can be quite low and that is something you have to get use to.

    While I'm no expert, I don't consider myself a beginner, and I surely thought I could handle 16 miles of singletrack at 86 degrees. I mean come on!!!

    To deal with the heat. I like riding in a heavy, white,100% cotton tee shirt. If a water source is available I will soak that shirt providing great convection cooling.
    If the trail is not dangerous I will stow my helmet and wear a wide brim cotton hat, which can also be soaked with water. During any decent I will put my helmet back on because you just never know with a loaded bike.


    I have ridden 50 miles at a time on gravel (granted, perfectly flat road, and in cooler temps) and I realize singletrack is NOT like a gravel road. For me, it seems like one mile of singletrack is about equal to 4 miles of gravel road riding. Of course there are variances with what terrain you're riding, etc.

    I agree with your 4to1 estimate and if you have some steep climbs you can increase that estimate a lot since you will be hike-a-biking(pushing) rather than riding. I try to find GPS files with elevation recording to study. After a while you kind of know the distance you can travel by studing these charts. It really helps with estimating the distance you can travel in a day.

    I had planned to allow three days to ride/camp the 100 mile stretch (then I found out there are guys who do the entire 100 miles in <24 hrs, lol) but I guess that plan is going to need some revision.

    When I got home, I shoveled down two packages of beef jerky, a couple of pickles, three diet 7-Ups, couple glasses of water, and was craving any type of salty food for days afterwards. The last couple miles back to the car was lots of resting, dizziness, and nausea.

    At any rate, I'd be interested to know what you think of the symptoms I described, and also, when you are out camping on a bike and the grocery store is nowhere to be found, how do you ingest enough calories to keep the body going?

    This sure sounds like heat exhaustion to me and maybe a little bonking as well. You might try a heart rate monitor. Get off and walk when your heart is pounding out of your chest. Lots of snack eating while your walking. You can eat like your 8 years old when your burning 8000 cal a day.

    I just don't think a package of Rachel Ray oatmeal on the JetBoil and a granola bar is gonna cut it for me as a trail-breakfast!

    When I bike pack I do use freeze dried meals to try and save on weight but I do supplement them. I'll pack block cheese to add to dinner. Soft tortas are worth there weight and so is peanut butter.

    Maybe I just need to train more...

    Training never hurts. But look over your gear and keep track of your heart rate will help you get a few more miles in.

    hth
    Last edited by SingleTrackLovr; 03-22-2013 at 06:05 AM.

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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies, gentlemen. I do normally have coffee before a morning ride- well, in the 'winter' when it's cool. (Arizona cool) But anything's possible, D45yth...maybe I had bad cream for the coffee. lol

    Singletrack lovr- Bike is a 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp. I really enjoy this bike, and have even grunted out 50 miles of gravel road on it- although that's a terrible waste of a good mountain bike! Any ride is a good ride, and ride what you got is what I keep telling myself when I ride flat gravel roads on a mountain bike...

    This was actually just a test run to see what a portion of the AZT was like, so I had no extra gear with me- which is even more sobering to me, because if I had 20 lbs of camping gear strapped on the bike, well...

    I should have mentioned also that I do ride with a HRM. 42 years old, and on this ride I would say I spent a lot of time at 160-170 beats per minute. Anything over that and I've gotta stop and build up another head of steam. lol

    Yesterday I went out and did a nice 8-mile singletrack ride and all went well...BUT, if one is actually traveling I will need to be capable of more than 8 miles a day. This was with an unladen bike, also.

    WOW I feel like a real noob when I read some of these bikepacking reports!!! Well it's nice to have goals, I guess.....

  5. #5
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    Singletrack lovr- Bike is a 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp. I really enjoy this bike, and have even grunted out 50 miles of gravel road on it- although that's a terrible waste of a good mountain bike! Any ride is a good ride, and ride what you got is what I keep telling myself when I ride flat gravel roads on a mountain bike...
    I think that's a great bike for bikepacking. Comfortable and strong. I would have a selection of tires to choose from depending on the trail and if you are getting beat to death look at tire and shock pressures. Like the tires selection adjust for the trail.
    Looking forward to hearing about your camping gear kit you put together.

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  6. #6
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    You said you had power bars with you but never said that you ate anything. If you ate the power bars and they were in fact power bar brand I had problems many moons ago eating them. I threw them up every time I ate them and rode. Also Gatorade is rather acidic and may be part of the nausea. It's also very difficult to process foods when your heart is pumping like yours was.

    I suggest that you go to Hammer nutrition and read their recommendations on eating and drinking. Some of it is race oriented so use what you can. All of it is oriented towards endurance events. Not saying to buy their products but I many of their products and they have solved a lot of problems for me. One thing I would suggest is their Endurolytes which are a electrolyte replacements and they work.

    No doubt that the heat drove your HR up and you'll have to find ways to deal with getting rid of the heat like others have suggested. The wet jersey/shirt is a good idea in the desert since evaporation will cool you off. A full zip jersey will also help get some airflow. There is special clothing for desert racing too to help beat the sun and keep you cool. Check out some light bike clothing and get a good pair of shorts......not advertising but the Hammer Bergamo bibs are great and affordable for long rides.

    You can do it!!

  7. #7
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    Well first off, I really only train with my daily commutes and jaunts to the store (I don't own a car, so I travel mostly by bike), do ride substantially more when the temps are above freezing though! So the aspect of physical training is my daily routine!

    Food on the other hand is my specially! I have type 1 diabetes, have had it since I was 8 and I'm now 30. So with that to stay in good health and be able to bike as much as I do
    I have to eat very consisantly, and very well.

    First off you don't want to load up on carbs, it's actually better to eat a very low carb breakfast with very low sugar as well. Eat some protein, eggs, nuts, sunflower seeds, southwest ommilettes are perfect! Then for hydration for my two water bottles in my cages I use a half and half mix of water and orange juice with a bit of sea salt mixed in. Works better than Gatorade, which has too much sugar. Gatoraid used to be much better but to sell more and compete with other beverages sold at a conviniance store they made it much sweeter with less actuall hydration benefits. For long day trips I have a hydration pack as well with just plain water. For snacks I use ballance bars and GU energy gell, they seem to work very well. For multi day trips I bring some canned tomato juice to mix with water in place of the orange juice, and canned or bagged meat along with some nuts and sunflower seeds for protein.

    Best of luck man!!

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDTransplant View Post
    ...When I got home, I shoveled down two packages of beef jerky, a couple of pickles, three diet 7-Ups, couple glasses of water, and was craving any type of salty food for days afterwards. The last couple miles back to the car was lots of resting, dizziness, and nausea....
    Sounds like it could be a heat/hydration/bonk issue, but you might want to experiment with electrolytes and see if it helps this sort of thing. I used to get raging headaches/dizziness/nausea until I started adding endurolytes to the picture, especially on hotter days. If you get the chance you should cruise through Hammer Nutrition's website... obviously they have stuff to sell, but there's a lot of accumulated practical advice there as well.

    I've always heard the distance racing guys say that training is about more than just getting in shape, it's also making sure your bike fit, food, water, clothing, etc etc etc is all gonna work. You tried one thing and it fell apart... that's a miserable experience but good information.

    Please post an update when you get 'er ironed out, it will be interesting to see what the solution is.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    I'll do that! I'll also look into that Hammer Nutrition website. I did eat one of the Power Bars (Harvest Energy Toffee Chocolate Chip) about midway through the ride, but after that, wasn't hungry anymore. Meaning 'don't feel well enough to eat'.

    I'm not expecting a magic pill or powder...

    As far as energy bars and drinks go, I'm certainly not married to PowerBars, and for me, I enjoy PowerAid more than Gatorade; although too much of either one will eventually give me a stomach ache. (Like gulping down a 20 ouncer or whatever size those bottles are in the convenience store.

    Interesting note about putting sea salt in your drink mix, Trower...I have heard that salt depletion during strenuous exercise can be a problem.

  10. #10
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    From the symptoms, you described heat exhaustion combined with dehydratoin. Power-anything (powerbars, powergel) are good for quick bursts of energy, however, you need to drink LOTS of water so your body can process it properly. The same thing goes for Gatorade; it is a good supplemant, but for anything that involves breating heavier than normal, you need to be drinking water.

    Unless you're trying to break records, if you feel anything "out of the ordinary", take a break, relax under a tree / in the shade for 15-30 minutes and let your body recover. In the famous words of my drill sergeant.. "Drink Waaa TERRRRR!"

    As far as training goes, well.. that is entirely up to your circumstances. What is your weight/fat ratio, smoker / non-smoker, are you in shape, out of shape, elevation levels, enviroment, distance, miles / km per hour you want to go, etc..

    TBH, someone that is 750lbs, a carton-a-day smoker, etc.. can do a 200 mile'r (100 each way) with ease. Of course.. they may only go 10 feet per day.. but, yea.

    My advice w/o knowing anything, take baby steps. That is my current training plan. First week I did 2 miles a day.. 2nd week was 5 miles.. 3rd week in (current), I planned to go 10 miles... but instead I decided to push myself, and went 20. I felt muscularly (is that a word?) good, except, I prepared for the forecasted weather that was a week old, not the (then) current weather. DOH!

    That being said, take more gear than you expect to use during training runs. But just so much that it will help, not hinder, your limitations (aka: resistance training).

    Even when you're at work / not riding, you can still train. Breathe through your abdomen, not your chest. Walk with motivation, not a slow, take my time, pace if you have to go somewhere. Take the steps, not the elevator. Small things like this can have great impacts upon ANY endeavor you want to do.

    If, over time, you want to do something really big, such as cross the sahara desert, ride to the top of Mt Everest, or some other ludacris (to 99% of people) thing.. you will want to consult with medical professionals and professional trainers.
    Last edited by RandomGuyOnABike; 03-22-2013 at 11:44 AM.

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    Oh there'll be no records broken on this end, RandomguyOnABike, I can [I][/I]assure you of that!!! hahah

    I do appreciate all the input, though. I just don't understand how guys knock out 30-40 miles of single track without carrying a 5-gallon bucket of water.

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    Like RandomGuy alluded to, I think the most important thing is to not get down on yourself. If you keep at it, you'll figure out what works best for you.

    The advise i'll give is the same old stuff: pay attention to your body, don't ride too hard (ever), and experiment with everything (including advise).
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDTransplant View Post
    Oh there'll be no records broken on this end, RandomguyOnABike, I can [I][/I]assure you of that!!! hahah

    I do appreciate all the input, though. I just don't understand how guys knock out 30-40 miles of single track without carrying a 5-gallon bucket of water.
    The less you sweat, the more you'll be able to retain water and salts. There will still be sweating, as it is the body trying to cool itself (especially when the weather is warm / sun blazing), however, increased heart-rate and exercise causing the body to warm as well, thus you sweat even more.

    To help off-set this, you need to, well.. keep riding. Your body will adapt to what you're doing. Consult a physician if you want to do any type of hard core exercising / training.

    I cannot stress it enough to always consult a physician. You do NOT want to be in the shoes of someone that has bad joints, spinal arthritis, and spinal compression from trying to overdo it / trying to rapidly improve. Look at the long term effects versus short term gains.

    I'd like to say more about the effects of comparison (ie: the 30-40 miles of singletrack you mentioned), but I'm not sure how to keep on topic with the discussion, as it is more of a psychological and philisophical discussion.

    PS: I have to go back to work now >.<

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    So, just pedal some more. Try to do some longer training rides. Fit some extra water bottles on the bike, and freeze them over night. This summer I rode 220 miles to Cape Cod in 3 days with a rest day in between. I pedaled a loaded touring bike with camping gear, on pavement though. I snacked all the time, a handlebar bag helped with that. I commute by bike on a regular basis, as well as weekend mountain biking too. Try not to pedal during the hottest part of the day.

  15. #15
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    It seems to me that you drank an awful lot of fluids over a relatively short period of time. Putting too much fluid into yourself can be just as debilitating as not drinking enough. That would be my quick guess at what went wrong with your ride.
    I don’t think eating solid food/getting calories is anywhere near as important as fluids. You can continue to ride fairly hard without solid food for a long time but if you drink too much or not enough fluids you can get in a lot of trouble in a very short period of time.
    Cheers, Dave

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    New question here. Required energy

    From my reading ;

    'Normal' people need 2,000 calories a day

    Olympic Athletes use 12,000 to 18,000 calories a day.

    .... Touring bike riders look like using 6,000 calories a day. That is a lot of food. Note that protein is (or can be converted into) energy. So can fat - but it is less efficient. Sugar is easy to convert but poor to store.

    ================
    What changes when you push your body to high heart rates - you get more energy out but do you use much more energy in ... i.e. does your efficiency decrease? I suspect it does - so you would be better off at near 'normal' heart rates for long term energy efficiency.

    What to eat? In the long term (think weeks rather than hours/days) you are best off with a near normal diet - just more of it. At least those are my thoughts after a little reading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warin View Post
    From my reading ;

    'Normal' people need 2,000 calories a day

    Olympic Athletes use 12,000 to 18,000 calories a day.

    .... Touring bike riders look like using 6,000 calories a day. That is a lot of food. Note that protein is (or can be converted into) energy. So can fat - but it is less efficient. Sugar is easy to convert but poor to store.

    ================
    What changes when you push your body to high heart rates - you get more energy out but do you use much more energy in ... i.e. does your efficiency decrease? I suspect it does - so you would be better off at near 'normal' heart rates for long term energy efficiency.

    What to eat? In the long term (think weeks rather than hours/days) you are best off with a near normal diet - just more of it. At least those are my thoughts after a little reading.
    The military grade MRE's are great for upping the calories.. if you can find them in good condition. You'll want to repackage them so their not as bulkey though.

    For your calorie counts, I agree with the normal people count; but are you sure about the olympic count? Pretty sure it should be way above that depending on the sport. "Backpacking" (*cough* *cough*) through hilly terrain, I was on an ~20,000 calorie diet (many years ago). It wasn't normal conditioning, even for being in the military, though, I'd expect it was the type of conditioning that olympic athletes go through.

  18. #18
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    NDT: I too am 42 yrs old & happen to live 45 minutes from the Picketpost TH. That is a fantastic stretch of trail!! One thing I've noticed about desert riding over the years is that the first couple of rides over 80º in the spring seem so much hotter than they are! 86º on that particular segment probably felt like 95º!! I swear by wearing sun sleeves (I use the Pearl Izumi ones) during the warm/hot months as I continue to ride during the summer...at 3pm...in July!! I try to do one mid-afternoon ride during summer in 110º+, one early morning ride & if I can I'll do a night ride too. I also wear regular mtb shorts + a riding jersey, really seems to help keep things a bit more comfortable.

    I guess I'd fall into the 30-40 miles on 100oz grouping. I think for me it was just adaptation, increasing my distances from typical 12-18 miles up to 25, 40, 60, now I've been doing 90 milers in a day. Granted anything over 40, I'm bringing at least 200oz + a bottle of electrolyte drink. I'll also note that it's taken me 3 years of riding to get there, all mtb as I don't own a road bike. I typically only get out 1-2 times a week, but I ride all day when I can. I'm not the fastest, nor the strongest, but I can keep going.

    On single day 8+ hour rides I usually bring a PB&J, apple slices w/peanut butter, sliced orange, banana, pickles, nuts, jerky, dried fruit, gels, and those squeezable friuts in a pouch. Multi-day rides, freeze dried meals, left-over pizza and practically any junk I can find at CircleK!!

    I eat a good sized bowl of oatmeal & OJ for breakfast & maybe a bagel w/cream cheese when at home.

    For my bottle, I've tried a bunch of powders. My personal favs are: CarboRocket, Infinit Nutrition (you can customize your blend on their website) & Hammer Perpetuem.

    I'm currently gearing up for a run on the AZT300 on April 19th, forecasts are looking like low-mid 90's when we roll from Oracle to Picketpost, so hydration & pacing will be ultra-important!! I may take a nap during the peak of the day & ride more at night, we'll see. Last October I rode the Coconino250 & my loaded Voodoo Dambala weighed in at 50lbs + 24lb pack, I needed all of it, but that was TOUGH!!

    BTW, Casa Grande Mtn is FUN!!

    Good luck & post up what works for you.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeskier46 View Post
    PB&J, apple slices w/peanut butter, sliced orange, banana, pickles, nuts, jerky, dried fruit, gels, and those squeezable friuts in a pouch. Multi-day rides, freeze dried meals, left-over pizza and practically any junk I can find at CircleK!!

    I eat a good sized bowl of oatmeal & OJ for breakfast & maybe a bagel w/cream cheese when at home.
    WOW you are making me hungry!!!

    Well it would seem like perhaps I simply bit off more than I could chew, given the 'warm' weather. Warm compared to the 60-65 degree weather we'd been having the past few weeks, I mean...

    Last summer the bike hung from the rafters, but I'm hoping to ease into some sort of summer riding as well, otherwise any 'fitness' that's been gained during the winter riding season goes out the window.

    When I was trying to get hours in the saddle by riding gravel roads, my 'training' went something like this: 16 miles, 20 miles, a couple rides at 25 miles, then a 40 miler, and a 50 miler. I didn't ride everyday, but what I'm saying is I went from 16 miles to 50 miles in about three weeks.

    So even though I've pedaled around on the MTB trails a bit, I think my distance expectations for gravel-road riding may have been a bit optimistic. Problem is, when you've accomplished a 30-mile road ride (or some other particular single-track goal, etc.) you think, "Wow, next time I'll go for 35 miles!" and when you haven't really built up a good base for fitness, I think one can over-do it. At least that's what some of the books I've been reading have said.

    I want to go from 193 lbs to 175 lbs and from 10 miles/3-4 days a week to 150+ miles/week all in the space of about six weeks. That's silly, of course, but I get stars in my eyes, I guess. Gotta be a rock-star at 43, you know... lol

    Incidentally, BikerDude001, you trying to kill me with that HammerNutrition stuff??? Yikes! I tried some of their HEED- that was tough to get down, brother! lol (Just giving you a hard time!) I did really like their whey protein stuff that I sampled, though.

    Been experimenting with Tailwind Nutrition and Skratch Labs as well. Seems like no matter what 'sports drink' one looks at, they are sure loaded with sugar. Guess that's what makes Gatorade and PowerAde taste so good. haha

    I appreciate the advice and encouragement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandomGuyOnABike View Post
    For your calorie counts, I agree with the normal people count; but are you sure about the olympic count? Pretty sure it should be way above that depending on the sport.
    From 6 Athletes? Diets from the 2012 London Olympics: What Foods Fuel Champions?

    Nur Tatar, tae kwon do: 1,500 calories, because she must shed a few pounds to qualify for her weight category in the Olympics.

    Mete Binay, weightlifting: 3,500 calories, largely composed of red meat, sweet desserts and organic food. He also uses permissible ergogenics and vitamins before competition.

    Michael Phelps consuming as many as in 12,000 calories a day.

    More? How Many Calories Do Olympic Athletes Need? It Depends : The Salt : NPR In part that says for Endurance (cycling, swimming, marathon, rowing) 3,000 to 8,000 calories and the pre event nutrition is carbohydrate loading.

    I think I got the 18,000 figure from some TV program?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NDTransplant View Post
    Temps were 86 degrees. Elevation at the highest point I think was around 2700 ft; where I normally ride is about 1400 ft above sea level. I had a bowel of oatmeal for breakfast, with coffee, and had a couple of power bars with me, 3 liters of water, and a 20 oz Gatorade.

    By mile 12 I was just about completely out of liquids-

    ...

    When I got home, I shoveled down two packages of beef jerky, a couple of pickles, three diet 7-Ups, couple glasses of water, and was craving any type of salty food for days afterwards. The last couple miles back to the car was lots of resting, dizziness, and nausea.
    You didn't mention how long it took you to do the twelve miles... but you drank 3 liters of plain water and 20 oz of Gatorade in hotter conditions that you're used to, and had stomach discomfort afterwards. That's less than 300mg of sodium if you didn't eat anything. High plain water consumption, hotter than accustomed, low sodium consumption, and stomach problems are all consistent with mild hyponatremia (low sodium).

    It COULD be lots of other stuff too, but it's easy to test: next time, take an electrolyte supplement with high sodium content and see what happens. Many sports drinks and electrolyte supplements actually have a relatively low sodium content, so read the label. Beware of supplements that give dosages in "salt content" or "sodium chloride" content, because then you have to subtract the chloride weight from the total to get the actual sodium amount.

    Some ultra endurance athletes use up to 1000mg of sodium per hour in very hot weather. A good place to start might be 500mg per hour for a couple of hours and see if that helps.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warin View Post
    From 6 Athletes? Diets from the 2012 London Olympics: What Foods Fuel Champions?

    Nur Tatar, tae kwon do: 1,500 calories, because she must shed a few pounds to qualify for her weight category in the Olympics.

    Mete Binay, weightlifting: 3,500 calories, largely composed of red meat, sweet desserts and organic food. He also uses permissible ergogenics and vitamins before competition.

    Michael Phelps consuming as many as in 12,000 calories a day.

    More? How Many Calories Do Olympic Athletes Need? It Depends : The Salt : NPR In part that says for Endurance (cycling, swimming, marathon, rowing) 3,000 to 8,000 calories and the pre event nutrition is carbohydrate loading.

    I think I got the 18,000 figure from some TV program?
    Interesting O.o

  23. #23
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    IME the key is to experiment with things to find out what works for you in terms of pace, distance, hydration, food, equipment... Do all that BEFORE you try to tackle something big.

    In other words, I'd say you're doing it right. Try stuff out on one day rides or overnighters and keep working the bugs out.

  24. #24
    I'm your density
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    I'm a firm believer in constant calorie + electrolyte intake, as long as it's not stressing digestion.

    Last year I did a 137 mile hike with 3 25-mile days. Twice a day I mixed a bottle of maltodextrin powder with water in a 200 calorie concentration and consumed it over 4 hours. This was in addition to 2 snack stops and 1 lunch stop per day. The malto is very easy to digest and caused no stomach problems.

    To the malto mix I added Nuun tablets for electrolytes. 4 tablets would have been the right amount for a 4-hour bottle but that made it ungodly sweet, so I only added 2. This year, I'm skipping the Nuuns and using a mix of table salt and Lo-Salt (sodium + potassium) in a concentration that matches the electrolyte content of 4 Nuuns per 4-hour bottle. 3/4 tsp of table salt and 1/4 tsp of Lo-Salt. This adds a bit of a salty flavor to the practically tasteless maltodextrin. I prefer salty over sweet.

    Finally, under normal conditions I drink about 1/2 liter of plain water per hour in addition to the energy/electrolyte concoction. If it's hot and/or there's lots of climbing, I increase the intake of plain water.
    "Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left."
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    My recommendation is that you avoid special athletic foods and eat real stuff. Also, were you urinating after drinking so much? I tend to enjoy wetting my mouth, so I drink more than I need to and piss it all out, which does help with heat, but isn't the optimal use of water. I love carrots and apples for riding, both provide simple as well as complex sugars in a slow release package with some liquids too. I also bring nuts and raisins for more dense energy.

    Your diet the 24hrs prior to riding might be important too. I prefer eating a big plate of beans and veggies with a slab of cheese before riding; provides everything you need and won't accelerate aging like pasta.

    I also will under-eat much of the day and over-eat at night; dropping all the waste prior to riding in the morning.... This keeps me energized without pushing my stomach too hard while riding.

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