Food For Begginers - Long Rides-
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  1. #1
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    Food For Begginers - Long Rides


    I haven't achieved enough strength to last a half day ride without getting completely exhausted..
    What types of food do you recommend for half day rides? How should I eat them in terms of time? What type of breakfast should I have before the ride and what type of lunch after?

  2. #2
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    Reputation: blacksheep5150's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    4 hour rides are long ,it's taken me 18 months to be able to do 30 mile mountain bike rides with out total exhaustion. Usually some sort of gummy , honey stinger cookies .. Lately I found natures way fig bars (fig newton) for 5cents so bought a bunch .i eat one of those a hour .my breakfast is 4 poached eggs on 2 pcs wheat toast with a avacado spread on the toast ..afterwards some kind of recovery shake .had a dr explain that if you consume only say 800 calories at breakfast and then burn 2000 on a ride , now take into consideration you may burn 2500 normally doing nothing . So the 2000+2500 minus the 800 would still put you at a 3700 calorie defacit for the rest of the day ..I've found couple shots of wheat grass and a protein shake keep me from crashing hard after a taxing ride . Everybody is different so try different thing and see what works best for you .. Good luck

  3. #3
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    Reputation: Mountain Cycle Shawn's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Also try packing calories away even on those days that you are not ridding or are not active.

  4. #4
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    I take food with on long rides. Stash away a apple, half a PB+J ect. I'm good for 2 hours but if I don't get some kind of food in me after that I bonk and bonk hard. The worst I bonk the longer it takes to recover so I avoid it now.
    I like to fart when I'm in front of you on a climb:skep:

  5. #5
    Trail Ninja
    Reputation: Varaxis's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
    I don't think the trick is nutrition. I think it's more neuromuscular and knowing how to pace yourself. In other words, you just have to get used to riding for long durations. I started with 45 minute afternoon quickies, which I then extended the loop to 1 h, then 1.5 h. Then I started doing 3 h road rides until that felt like it was no longer anything to be impressed with. I took a huge leap of faith based on what I read Tailwind could do for me and did a "go as long as possible" ride using a 2L of sports drink to sustain me, and did about 50 mi (6+ hours). I just did 4 hours today, 2.5h road and 1.5 dirt, on nothing but breakfast (a large bowl of cereal, which is about 4 servings worth) and didn't even really reach for my water bottle (just plain water). Because I did 6+ before on dirt with a lot of up and down, I felt I could do 4 hours no prob today without fuel.

    I used to do the PB+J thing, but still bonked. What really gets me is going at too high of an intensity, even if I think they're in manageable spurts, such as on the climbs. The killer is that some of my bikes are 1x; if I zoom up, since I need to go that fast to maintain an efficient RPM for my easiest climbing gear, and have to wait for ride buddies... yea, I'll be paying that.

    In short, better tune your drivetrain for easier spinning gears that are better suited for a "marathon pace". Schedule a very long ride and take along some sport drink (ex. Tailwind, Scratch, even Gatorade will work since they have new formulas), which should build up what your mind knows is doable so your "normal" ride times can be lengthened.
    "The challenge is not in developing new ideas, but in escaping old ideas."

  6. #6
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    Aug 2011
    So, OP , how long have you been riding? Takes some time to build muscle endurance, not just food stuff. More info would be helpful. Your general conditioning, bike, gearing and terrain. Just ride your bike more. Try some long slow distances for starters. What do you usually eat? I like oatmeal with raisins for breakfast. I'm more of a real food guy, not bars or gels. Think dried fruit, lean protein and the like. Eat every hour + snack for long rides. I like PBJ on wheat with banana. Dried figs or apricots. Bacon, yum. Granola bars, some kind of electrolyte( like gatorade) or such. Peanut m&m"s. Start there. Eat what you are used to.

  7. #7
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    I've been working on distance as well, doing about 70 miles in 7-8hrs. In the couple days before the ride I load up on grains and greens...salads with quinoa, farro, or bulgur with kale or chard. On the ride I snack on shelled peas, carrots, sunflower seeds and a few energy bars. Nuun tablets and lots of water too. Nutrition may not be your limiting factor right now, but if you keep pushing distance it probably will be at some point.

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  8. #8
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    Timing is super important too. Rides of only an hour or two shouldn't need anything or minimum nutrition. Sports drink or gel or something like that should get you through. Over 2 hours you need to make sure you stay a head of your nutrition needs. 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour in the form of whatever you want to take in. Some people like food. Some do well with gels and gummies. Others prefer all liquid. Tailwind is a great one for this. I prefer a mix of all three but the key is making sure your ingest calories even if you don't want to. If you get behind...there's no coming back. Plenty of water too. A bottle an hour, two+ if it's really hot out.
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  9. #9
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    Reputation: Power Meter City's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    I don't think the trick is nutrition. I think it's more neuromuscular
    This. Nutrition is super important, no doubt. But if you're new, and trying to ride long distances, chances are you are just getting fatigued, which is normal. No secret trick here other than to continue to ride a bit longer each time, and slowly work your way up.
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  10. #10
    Reputation: GoingNowhere's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    I'm no nutritionist, so I can't give you any science behind any of of this.

    What I can tell you is what works for me.

    Gum. Chewing gum helps me a lot. It's mental, I'm sure, but it works. I never bike without chewing gum.

    For long rides (whether trail rides or a long bike tour), I like to take peanuts or trail mix with me. I make my own mix with peanuts, M&M's and raisins. A sandwich bag 1/3 to 1/2 full of the mix is plenty for me for a long ride. If it's summer time I'll skip the chocolate. Occasionally I'll take an apple but I don't have a big Camelback and like to carry some tools, etc.

    One final trick - and I think this one is all mental - I like to put a little bit of lemon juice into my water on a long ride. I think my mind is just faked into drinking something other than straight water.
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  11. #11
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    It all really depends on how hard you're riding, how often you're stopping, etc. But for longer rides, I go for ~300-350 calories per hour, plus plenty of water. On a hot day, I take a good solid swig of water every 15 minutes.

    2 hour ride, nothing but water. Eat after the ride.

    4 hour ride, I bring 2 clif bars, maybe a few gels, and plenty of water. It's not so long that I really need to regularly intake calories to keep the engine burning, but long enough I need something to keep from bonking.

    4+ hour ride, I eat one clif bar+gel after every hour ridden. Even better 1/2 bar every 1/2 hour. Definitely need to keep caloric intake if riding the whole time.

    Also works: PB&J, cookies, bananas, fig newtons, potatoes, cold pizza, sticky rice, gels, gel blocks, Infinit, etc.

    Doesn't work for me: apples (too much fiber, upsets stomach), carrots (not enough calories)

  12. #12
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    Dec 2015
    Glad you asked this. I've started riding again after a "few" years and have gotten fatigued a couple few times myself. I was looking in this section just for this conversation so again, thanks. I'm going to take a bit from each of the responses and see what works for me. Thanks all! 😀👍

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