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  1. #1
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    40 mile, 6-8 hour mountain bike trip. Diet/Hydration advice?

    So this weekend me and some friends are going to tackle a huge single track uphill/downhill trail. It's going to take a really long time, and I'm not exactly sure what all I should pack on me. I was thinking something along the lines of...
    Two sandwiches loaded with peanut butter, a full banana sliced up each, and nutella for sugar :V. I'm weary of energy bars and stuff like that. I'll likely eat a huge pickle the morning of as well.

    Water-wise, I have a 3Liter camelbak and will carry a spare sports water bottle in my bike cage. Should this be enough to last me? We will likely take 15-minute breaks without food just for rest when we've been riding for awhile, and take one large lunch around the halfway point. The day before and the morning of, I plan to keep hydrated in preparation for it.

    Oh, and it will be around 100 degrees for the duration of the ride

  2. #2
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    well, what length ride do you normally do? and how much elevation gain are we talking about? I did a 50 mile race on Saturday and it took me 8 hours. 8600 ft of climbing. I ate 1 granola bar every 45 min or so, and drank one big bottle per hour. That's what I usually budget for stuff like this. One bar/snack (200-300 calories) per hour, and one bottle per hour. eat regularly to keep the blood sugar up. Like every 30 minutes eat half your hourly ration. It works much better for me to eat small amounts constantly, rather than one big meal midday. I do this on long rides too, not just racing. The key is to minimize stopped time. Just take short breaks and keep rolling as much as possible.

    Regardless, I think you will be fine with your plan, you may run out of water but you will make it most of the way I bet. It is okay to run out an hour from the car, especially if it is downhill. No problem. You won't starve either!

  3. #3
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    I have ridden a couple pretty long rides at altitude over 9,000'. One ride was about 34 miles. My advice is take more fluid. My Camelback bladder is 100 oz like yours. I carry a couple liters of Gatorade or other drink inside the pack in addition to the water. It does not sound like a race, so carry more fluids then you think you will need. 5 liters is not too much for a ride of this distance in 100 degree heat! If you did have an injury to you or another member of your pack, you may need extra water. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches work out great. They hold up well in heat in that there is no Dairy product in them, so I like that. Start hydrating days before, not just that day! Nuts and dried fruit are easy to carry and hold up well. I also carry Gu Gel with Caffeine as my body likes it, does not upset my stomach and some others may mention, and really gets me rocking when I start to bonk. Good luck with the ride.

    P.S. always carry a good Flashlight, Knife, reliable source of flame, and a basic first aid.

  4. #4
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    Great ideas, keep them coming! This advice is really helpful. I'll begin prepping my body with water sooner than I had planned then. We'll still have a nice big break in the middle of the day I think, but I'll try and get my guys to carry small food items that we can digest while riding to keep our blood sugar levels up. Elevation...no more than 5000+. I found someone's GPS journal from a section of the trail:

    Womble Trail - Story, AR, US

    Also, tonight we got together and made a sort of change of plans. Without being sure of a shuttle system, we're going to end up riding as far in as we want to push ourselves, and then ride back, so we'll likely cover about half of the trail and then re-experience it backwards after a big rest period.

  5. #5
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    I've done some long rides (40+ mi) and some even longer hikes. Including climbing Pikes Peak (14k ft). Here's my advice:

    Do tests with any food/drink that you're going to bring with you way ahead of time. There's nothing worse than realizing that Jelly Donut goo sounds great, but has a bad after taste. This also helps you find out what foods upset your stomach (cramps, indigestion etc..).

    Goos are great for short term energy, but they won't help you over a longer period. Energy drinks can help with electrolytes and salts.

    As someone said, start hydrating days ahead. If you just drink a gallon of water the morning of your ride, you'll just pee it out.

    Eat and drink at regular intervals and start hydrating/refueling early. Remember what you eat in hour one, will fuel/hydrate you in hour 2,3,4... if you wait until you are hungry or thirsty you're behind.

    I don't recall seeing how many hours you plan on riding, but let's say you're going to ride 5 hours. This would normally be 2 meals during your normal lifestyle (like at work during the week). You should take this into account that you should have a minimum of 2 meals of calories. It's not always the distance that is the problem, but the length in time of the exercise.

    Bring a variety. 5 PBnJ sandwiches can be boring. Can you do PB&Banana?

    I understand eating a pickle in the morning b4 the ride. Have you done this before? No experimentation during the ride.

    Don't forget sunscreen and first aid (for both you and the bike).

    Have fun

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