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  1. #1
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    Eating while racing?

    What do you do? Gels, shots, drank only? There is no way i can eat a single serve gel while on singletrack. I just bought a gel flask and am trying to figure how to carry it so it's remotely convenient... The specific race I'm thinking of is pretty technical and only has one fireroad climb to eat on... It took a little over 2:30 for me to finish last time and I feel like if I was able to eat more I may have been able to do a little better...(I ate a gell 2 min before the start and one at the top of the fireroad (1/2 distance). Maybe that should be enough, I'm still trying to figure out how much is right for me...
    Next race is Saturday...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zstrange
    What do you do? Gels, shots, drank only? There is no way i can eat a single serve gel while on singletrack. I just bought a gel flask and am trying to figure how to carry it so it's remotely convenient... The specific race I'm thinking of is pretty technical and only has one fireroad climb to eat on... It took a little over 2:30 for me to finish last time and I feel like if I was able to eat more I may have been able to do a little better...(I ate a gell 2 min before the start and one at the top of the fireroad (1/2 distance). Maybe that should be enough, I'm still trying to figure out how much is right for me...
    Next race is Saturday...
    My preferences, in order:
    1) Water bottle with sugary substance on the bike
    2) Water bottle with sugary substance handed to me for a few good glugs
    3) Shot blocks (you can open these before the race and just gobble down during
    4) anything I don't have to open myself while riding.

  3. #3
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    Have you ever tried taping single serve gels to your top tube and just grabbing it while riding? Plenty of people do this, you just bite off the top and squeeze it takes 10 seconds at most. Pretty much the same as drinking from a bottle and easily done on singletrack.

    I use a gel flask myself that I keep in my jersey pocket. Took a little while to get used to grabbing it but now its second nature no matter where I am on the course.

  4. #4
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    I put the gel flask in my jersey pocket. I fill up to line 4 with gel, then top off to line 5 with water (hammer flask and hammer gel). I find its easier to drink that way. otherwise, I cut the end off a shot block wrapper before the race, and just push out a block or 2 at a time and put the rest back in my jersey pocket.

  5. #5
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    If the race is 2-2.5 hours long you shouldn't need more than energy drink (in bottles or camelbak) and maybe an energy gel or 2. I think pre-race nutrition is more important to focus on and try to find what really works for you.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lil'stink
    If the race is 2-2.5 hours long you shouldn't need more than energy drink (in bottles or camelbak) and maybe an energy gel or 2. I think pre-race nutrition is more important to focus on and try to find what really works for you.
    Agreed. I don't use gels ever but I've done 4 hr races on Endura Optimizer alone. My pre-race nutrition favourite is two honey sandwiches and then a swig of Endura just before the start.

    For a 2.5 hr race I would not worry about solid food at all and just stick to liquid carbs.

  7. #7
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    Water and a gel flask for shorter races. I LOVE apples for the longer ones but it gets a little hairy trying to hold on to it if you don't time it at just the right section.

    Gels in the jersey pocket have always worked for me. Pretty easy to reach in a hurry.

  8. #8
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    Needs are varied

    Different people have different digestive and metabolic rates. Not using food because someone says you don't need it for races less than X hours is poorly advise. Test it out yourself during training. I would not advise you testing during races.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
    Different people have different digestive and metabolic rates. Not using food because someone says you don't need it for races less than X hours is poorly advise. Test it out yourself during training. I would not advise you testing during races.
    Good advice for sure but the OP did ask us what we did.

  10. #10
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    I carry my gels in a Gu bottle in either my jersey pocket or backpack (in rh "hip" pocket if I wear it).

    It carries 4 x endura gels and I add approx 2 teaspoons of water....no water and they're real easy to choke on.

    Pre race nutrition and hydration is very important.

    I stay away from the sugary stuff (inc gels) for the first half of the race if I can.
    I can handle a banana sometimes. I haven't tried figs at full throttle yet but will next chance. I think they'll be ok.

    I sip water as often as I can (10 mins) and electrolyte maybe every 20 mins dependant on the race and the pace. I can't gulp fluid and jam food in like some can. It takes me many minutes to recover if I do.

    Too much sugar can make the stomach upset.

  11. #11
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    My races are 1.75-2.5 hours long and with the intensity of an effort over that amount of time I've found it easiest to get my calories from bottles. Depending on the course I'll carry 1 bottle and have a bottlestand with 1 or 2 bottles on it, or I'll carry 2 on the bike. Each bottle has about 200 calories in it.

  12. #12
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    Yes ...I've tried gels, but find them too messy. I suppose I could deal with it during race, but the general rule is fuel up for regular rides the same way you race so you can find out what works. I don't want to deal with gels every ride ...too sticky, don't want them taped to my bike, only work with short finger gloves, hard to get it all out, etc. Solid blocks of sugar are much better for me ...plus shot blocks come in six packs and can be shared with other riders (not during a race I suppose)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlazedHam
    only work with short finger gloves
    I always wear long finger gloves. I dont have a problem with gels individually, or the flask.

  14. #14
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    My races have been shorter than 12-miles or longer than 50-miles. One long for every four or five short races seems to be a normal season for me.

    I like the energy from a GU pack but I don't think they're as efficient as a mixed drink. Especially on short races where a bottle of water isn't emptied at the finish line; regardless of the weather.

    Regardless of what supplement I'm using I affirm that prehydration is essential.

  15. #15
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    often i find it difficult to drink my bottle of mix, especially when it is hot.

    my races are 1.5hrs usually. i do one gel shot before the race and carry two shoved in the leg of my shorts. i usually start the race with mix, and yell water to the pit person for a switch.

    i remember when i did a 12hr solo race and it seemed like all food manufacturers had conspired against me to keep me from opening their packaging while riding. i think that was just the fatigue though.
    Try to be good.

  16. #16
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    I like using mix in my bottles and then using something like bloks or energy chews that I can just pop into my mouth. I only use one pack in a normal XC race.

  17. #17
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    I use a bottle of drink mix and a gel flask (almost always for XC). Hand-ups with water/mix also. Gel packs IMO are too difficult, but I have no problems getting to my jersey pocket for the flask and there's no trash to be cleaned up.

  18. #18
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    Gel flask and maybe some shot blocks for a longer race.

    Normal XC race I take my second bottle with de-fizzed MT Dew/water mix. Maybe a light gatoraid mix in the others if it's hot out.

    Gel packets suck.... hard to open, you have to deal with the trash (or you should be!), and they make an f'ing mess if you put the empty in your pocket.

  19. #19
    JD1
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    For a race that you described, I would do the following (I have no idea what you'd do):

    Finish eating protein three hours before race (peanut butter sandwich)

    One Gu gel pack 30 minutes prior to race (with or without caffeine)

    Honeystinger pack 15 minutes before race (glucose and fructose)

    For each hour racing:
    one bottle water (choose this or the other depending on heat and humidity)
    one bottle Endurolyte (choose this or the other depending on heat and humidity)
    one GU gel pack

    Nutrition is part of my training as well as my racing. The two are NOT mutually exclusive. You should experiment as you train and then you'll know exactly what to do on race day.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by briscoelab
    you have to deal with the trash (or you should be!),
    right leg of shorts has packs tucked inside, left leg has the trash tucked inside. i can deal with my leg being sticky.
    Try to be good.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gixer7
    Good advice for sure but the OP did ask us what we did.
    That's true. That was not my point. I made my point, one that needs to be made based upon the kinds of discussions and advice I have heard. It helps to create context, not just give simple, limited, answers..

  22. #22
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    I do a multifaceted approach.

    1) I always have straight water
    2) I use a super concentrated bottle(s) of accellerade
    for
    a) shorter races, say 2.5hrs and under I add just gels.
    b) longer races, especially 4 hours and up, I add straight honey into the mix and e-caps.

    Solids just don't work for me. By having the ability to regulate electrolytes, water, and sugars independently I can virtually always feel really good.

  23. #23
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    I had 2 Hammergels and water mixed into a flask, crashed about 10 minutes into the race and the flask exploded into my jersey pocket. What a mess. I now just tuck them under my shorts.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by map111158
    Have you ever tried taping single serve gels to your top tube and just grabbing it while riding? Plenty of people do this, you just bite off the top and squeeze it takes 10 seconds at most. Pretty much the same as drinking from a bottle and easily done on singletrack.
    If you do this right, you don't have to bite the top off. The tape should be just around the tab part of the gel so that you peal out with packet with the lid tab still taped to the bike, eliminating the need to bite off the top and having to find a way not to litter that little tab. I actually use my stem for this setup, but you can only get 2-3 gels stacked up at a time.

  25. #25
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    have you seen the movie airplane were he says he has a drinking problem and splashes the drink onto his face.

    thats pretty much me trying to do anything other than suck on a normal biking water bottle. i tried once to tear open a gel pack and first poked myself in the eye cause the trail became rough all of a sudden.
    then later i bit my finger instead of the gel pack and tore open my glove.

    i mix everything into my water bottle and drink it then. thats what clumsy people do.

    on really long races i just get way out in front, completely stop, reach into my pocket and eat my solid food. when the others catch up, i stop eating and ride.
    Out riding, leave a message

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