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  1. #1
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    Still Bonking After a Good Meal

    Alright folks, thought I'd get some feedback and tips from others on this.
    When I'm gearing up for a 3/4 or all day ride, I always fill myself up with an adequate meal... at least I think I am. So I'll start off pretty early in the morn, have a nice full breakfast, typically couple of bagel/egg/cheese sandwich of sort, then suck up couple of protein gels. By the time I get to a trail, it might be around 8 - 10am, then only a few hours in, I'm either bonking before noon or on the verge. But by then, I've already consumed another 3 - 5 gels. I wonder if I'm eating enough breakfast.... but I make sure not to eat so much that I feel "full".

    Typical ride consists of lots of uphills, semi-aggresive rough terrains and downs. I ride with full gear.... full face (sometimes with chin bar detached), 3L water bladder, typical toolkit (levers, mini pump, hex wrench, etc), elbow, shin & knee pads too.

    So what are you guys consuming before and during your rides? Or any tips?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrFreelancer View Post
    Alright folks, thought I'd get some feedback and tips from others on this.
    When I'm gearing up for a 3/4 or all day ride, I always fill myself up with an adequate meal... at least I think I am. So I'll start off pretty early in the morn, have a nice full breakfast, typically couple of bagel/egg/cheese sandwich of sort, then suck up couple of protein gels. By the time I get to a trail, it might be around 8 - 10am, then only a few hours in, I'm either bonking before noon or on the verge. But by then, I've already consumed another 3 - 5 gels. I wonder if I'm eating enough breakfast.... but I make sure not to eat so much that I feel "full".

    Typical ride consists of lots of uphills, semi-aggresive rough terrains and downs. I ride with full gear.... full face (sometimes with chin bar detached), 3L water bladder, typical toolkit (levers, mini pump, hex wrench, etc), elbow, shin & knee pads too.

    So what are you guys consuming before and during your rides? Or any tips?





    Are you "bonking" or just hitting the wall?
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  3. #3
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    What are you eating the night before?

    Are you running a timer for your gel shots or just eating them when you feel like it?

    Have you tried more carbs with breakfast? Oatmeal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    Are you "bonking" or just hitting the wall?
    Actually, it's more hitting the wall in almost all cases. Couple times I did bonk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 101 View Post
    What are you eating the night before?

    Are you running a timer for your gel shots or just eating them when you feel like it?

    Have you tried more carbs with breakfast? Oatmeal?
    Before the ride (breakfast), I'll normally eat two whole wheat bagel sandwich with egg/ham/cheese, as well as some OJ/Apple juice, then a few gels.

    I've tried Oatmeal a handful of times but never felt satisfied so went with bagel sandwich.

    No, never a timer for gel shots. Never considered that. I take them when I start feeling weak or I feel my legs are start shaking.
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    Sounds like you're intaking more protein than you need, especially the protein gels before you even start. I'm not sure that would cause your problem but maybe your body is directing too much blood and energy to your digestion. If you've eaten properly, you shouldn't need any type of gel until at least an hour in and then maybe one an hour and these should be carbs, not protein.
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    I've felt the need for gels before a ride as a supplement to me eating yet another bagel... I've got a large appetite lol. I don't want to eat too much for fear of having to take a shit while in the middle of a ride... which has happened before due to eating too much.
    Now I do have a pretty fast metabolism so I often used that as my excuse. But I'm sure i'm not the only one out there in a similar position..... right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrFreelancer View Post
    Before the ride (breakfast), I'll normally eat two whole wheat bagel sandwich with egg/ham/cheese, as well as some OJ/Apple juice, then a few gels.

    I've tried Oatmeal a handful of times but never felt satisfied so went with bagel sandwich.

    No, never a timer for gel shots. Never considered that. I take them when I start feeling weak or I feel my legs are start shaking.
    Set a timer for 40 minutes and eat a gel shot or honey stinger etc (a fast carb). By waiting until you think you need it, you’re likely depleting your glycogen stores, in which case it is difficult to catch back up, hence the bonking. Gel shots work well for what they are designed to do, but you need to use them correctly which is in a proactive manner. Since it takes your body some amount of time (say 20 minutes) to process the shots, if you wait until you are bonking/starting to feel weak etc, you are ~20 minutes behind schedule and by the time your body gets the glycogen, it needed it 40 minutes ago.

    In all likelihood, there is no one single solution. You need to experiment until you find the right combination. I would also experiment with dinner the night before -maybe you need some extra carbs there as well. Keep a log and make notes about how your body feels with different foods.

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    Interesting about the timer. I'm definitely going to try this out my next ride this Sunday. Thanks!
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  10. #10
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    I've found that is better to eat small before then eat earlier in the ride. If I eat as chi as you before I end up hitting the wall. If I start off with just a begal. Then a bannana about 30 min in. Then eat somthing about every hour, I never got the wall. I definitely had to expirament alot to find out what works for me

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    If you are not eating your gels until you feel your legs get weak or shaky, then you've already put yourself in a hole. The point of on the bike nutrition is to completely avoid ever feeling weak or shaky, not try to counteract it when it hits. Once you put yourself in a low blood sugar hole like that, it's almost impossible to get out.

    Put some calories in your bottle with a product like Tailwind, and if you don't have a Garmin then strap a cheap watch to your handlebars and make sure you're consuming enough calories/carbs. If you are riding hard for anything over 3 hours shoot for 250-300 calories and around 75g of carbs per hour.

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    Definitely I'll be experimenting more. Also I'm gonna try taking a gel or two every 30 - 40 minutes. Calories in my water does sound like a great idea too.

    Thanks folks!
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    What are protein gels? What exactly are you eating?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonaSS View Post
    What are protein gels? What exactly are you eating?
    Protein Gels: Hammer Gel and/or Clif
    Breakfast: Couple bagel sandwiches w/ egg + ham + cheese
    Drink: OJ or Apple Juice
    Drive to Trail: Few gels
    Sometime on the trail for lunch: Turkey or Ham sandwich
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    Hammer or Clif gels aren't protein gels. They carbohydrate gels. Basically straight carbs that you burn through really quick. Fine food for on the bike, but I wouldn't eat off the bike. Eat real food that will take a little longer to process. Most people aim to eat their breakfast 2-3 hours before they start. Then once you start, you should aim for 200-300 calories per hour. That is 2-3 gels. I would also experiment with some more solid food, including bars, fig newtons, etc. But you could easily be burning 500-700 calories per hour, so you are running at a deficit. If you are planning on riding 3/4 of a day or all day, you might need to break for something more substantial.
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    Piss bowl those stupid gel shots and any single sugars ie refined sugar, sugary sports drinks or fruit juices.

    Use long chain carbs like oats/porridge for breakfast.
    Eat real fruit if you want a sweet snack. Even though they have simple sugars the fibre in them means it takes a longer to digest.

    Look at sleep habits. If your tired before you start yourve lost have the battle.

    Have a couple of small long chain carbs snacks on the ride.

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    Gotta say, rode Sunday and I was out of Clif Bars so I took three figs I picked the day before. They did great!
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Gotta say, rode Sunday and I was out of Clif Bars so I took three figs I picked the day before. They did great!



    Yeah, hard to beat real food.
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    Another fan of real food, especially for training or fun rides.

    Gels are expensive, create trash, and are terrible for your teeth. It's basically eating really pricey candy.

    Big breakfast, then make yourself eat ~300 calories on the hour every hour starting at the first hour....not when you feel hungry or weak, if you do that it's already too late.

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    Wow, I never thought about ditching the gels. So experimented some on today's ride per some of you folks that replied.....

    - Pretty ok sleep, got up 6:30am, prepped. Grabbed myself the usual bagel sandwich but this time added two eggs instead of one, then ate 1/2 of the second one, washed down with some vitamin water.
    - Took a gel 15 minutes before hitting the trail, then took one every ~30 minutes.
    - Broke about 1pm, had a hearty turkey sandwhich

    Result: actually felt pretty good. Didn't hit the wall or bonk. Dunno if it was this change up in my food intake or the cooler weather lol.

    Ok, so next experiment, mostly cut out the gels and try "real" food along the ride and see how that works for me.
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    Sweet. Take into account that the body will crave the single sugars you are leaving out by ditching the gel shots. It may take a couple of weeks to reset your guts and get a true impression of performance.

    I say give it month of no gel shots and see what happens.

  22. #22
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    You need to carb load before big rides, you don't want to be intaking protein before, save that for after. Have some good pasta and such carbs the day(s) before depending on how big/long, then on the morning, have a bowl of oats with a banana cut up in it and maybe some honey or maple syrup, then once you get going start to fuel an hour in, use a drink mix that has a 4-1 carb to protein ratio, if you stop to eat, make it carbs with very little protein. When you're done the ride, that's when you put the protein in to help the body rebuild all the muscles. In case you didn't know, protein is harder to digest during exercise and your body will not use it to do any rebuilding while it's working, only after when you've finished, so wasting your time and forcing your body to put more blood into your stomach instead of your legs to digest it during the ride.
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    Carb loading the day before really doesn't do anything.

    Ditch the gels. Real food (or stuff made from real food) always wins.

    My go to for 4+ hour rides is:

    200 grams of boiled sweet potatoes, eaten over 1.5 hours before the ride starts

    Half of a LaraBar every 30-45 minutes (high fat/high carb/low protein, made mostly from dates, whatever flavor you prefer)

    Drink water at least every 30 minutes

    Lastly, you NEED sodium. Everyone is different, depending on how much salt you sweat out, but everyone will benefit from taking sodium on longer rides. I've read reports that heavy sweaters can lose up to 2,000mg PER HOUR!

    I like to get the chocolate or nut flavored LaraBars and open them and add some sea salt to the top of them. For me 1 gram of sea salt per LaraBar works well, ends up being about 400mg of sodium, so 200mg every time I eat half of a bar.

    Good Luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Squirrel View Post

    I like to get the chocolate or nut flavored LaraBars and open them and add some sea salt to the top of them.


    I like the chocolaty Larabars too but if I take them on rides they turn into liquid chocolate. Blueberry or Apple works good though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I like the chocolaty Larabars too but if I take them on rides they turn into liquid chocolate. Blueberry or Apple works good though.
    Keep the in the fridge and toss them in an insulated sandwich bag, they stay cool for hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Squirrel View Post
    Keep the in the fridge and toss them in an insulated sandwich bag, they stay cool for hours.

    I usually freeze them but I'm too much of a minimalist/ww to haul around an insulated sandwich bag, I'll stick with non-chocolate versions for the road/trail. Thanks though!
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    Maybe you're just getting dehydrated. I can't imagine you're burning through all of that food plus all of your stored glycogen.
    I've been on rides where I've gone through my 3L and come home a couple of pounds lighter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Maybe you're just getting dehydrated. I can't imagine you're burning through all of that food plus all of your stored glycogen.
    I've been on rides where I've gone through my 3L and come home a couple of pounds lighter.
    That was actually one of my first thoughts. So not too long ago, I went from a 2L to 3L since I do consume a lot of water... I practically have the tube just hanging off my mouth and I sip as I ride lol.

    It seems people have different opinions on carbs vs proteins, what to eat before a ride, etc. Thus, my experimenting will continue... but I do gotta try that LaraBar... never heard of it.
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    I don't think anyone has touched on this yet, but are you in shape to do 4+ hour rides?
    If so, what were you doing before when you could complete the rides without bonking? What has changed?

    If you're just tired, more food isn't going to help (and in my case it would actually hurt), you'll have to ride for a shorter period or go slower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrFreelancer View Post
    It seems people have different opinions on carbs vs proteins, what to eat before a ride, etc. Thus, my experimenting will continue... but I do gotta try that LaraBar... never heard of it.
    Your first sentence here is the key to everything. What works for one person may not be the best for the next guy and some people can eat anything or nothing and do just fine. I'm not going to try and give you advice because I'm no expert and aside from my daily healthy protein shake, I'm all over the map with my eating, ride day or not. I've had donuts before a big ride and had the best day ever. Another big ride I had a monster breakfast burrito an that was a great day as well. I ate the same burrito the next time on that ride and I felt like crap.

    All I know is we have guys in our group that are ultra health nuts and are super fit but one of them is always the first to fade on a big ride. We have one guy that eat the same oatmeal and fruit for breakfast every day, some eat a huge breakfast for big rides and others like to ride on an empty stomach. Unless it's a BIG ride, nobody in our group tends to carry real food very often. Everybody relies of chews, gels, Clif Bars, etc..and does just fine for the most part. There's definitely nobody out and out hitting the wall.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironhippy View Post
    I don't think anyone has touched on this yet, but are you in shape to do 4+ hour rides?
    If so, what were you doing before when you could complete the rides without bonking? What has changed?

    If you're just tired, more food isn't going to help (and in my case it would actually hurt), you'll have to ride for a shorter period or go slower.
    I use to do 4+ hours without feeling dead 1/2 way through the ride. I dunno, I want to blame it on age, I'm 41, but I've see plenty of guys in their 50's, 60's riding like they're still in their 20's and 30's.

    I think the bottom line is, what use to work for me isn't working anymore and I need to change it up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    Your first sentence here is the key to everything. What works for one person may not be the best for the next guy and some people can eat anything or nothing and do just fine. I'm not going to try and give you advice because I'm no expert and aside from my daily healthy protein shake, I'm all over the map with my eating, ride day or not. I've had donuts before a big ride and had the best day ever. Another big ride I had a monster breakfast burrito an that was a great day as well. I ate the same burrito the next time on that ride and I felt like crap.

    All I know is we have guys in our group that are ultra health nuts and are super fit but one of them is always the first to fade on a big ride. We have one guy that eat the same oatmeal and fruit for breakfast every day, some eat a huge breakfast for big rides and others like to ride on an empty stomach. Unless it's a BIG ride, nobody in our group tends to carry real food very often. Everybody relies of chews, gels, Clif Bars, etc..and does just fine for the most part. There's definitely nobody out and out hitting the wall.
    Oh for sure. But it's good to hear what others are consuming so I can get an idea of how to adjust my own intake and figure out what works for me.
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    Simple really, you just slip them into the compartment with your hydration bladder which is full of cold water and they'll stay perfectly fine

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I usually freeze them but I'm too much of a minimalist/ww to haul around an insulated sandwich bag, I'll stick with non-chocolate versions for the road/trail. Thanks though!
    Meah, you're a youngster and I'm absolutely certain there are more on here that can call me a youngster, age isn't the problem. When you say 4+ hours, do you mean 4+ hours of actual pedaling or that's how long you're out for?
    If you eat well/healthy all the time, carb loading may not help, but if you don't making sure you get in good carbs a few days before a big ride and also good fruit to get your mineral levels good, it surely does. If you're riding at race pace, then stopping for solid food is nice, but if you're really pushing it, you might want to stick to a liquid diet and lock at using something like Heed, Perpetuum, Accelerade, Endurox or Roctane.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrFreelancer View Post
    I use to do 4+ hours without feeling dead 1/2 way through the ride. I dunno, I want to blame it on age, I'm 41, but I've see plenty of guys in their 50's, 60's riding like they're still in their 20's and 30's.

    I think the bottom line is, what use to work for me isn't working anymore and I need to change it up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Simple really, you just slip them into the compartment with your hydration bladder which is full of cold water and they'll stay perfectly fine



    Meah, you're a youngster and I'm absolutely certain there are more on here that can call me a youngster, age isn't the problem. When you say 4+ hours, do you mean 4+ hours of actual pedaling or that's how long you're out for?
    If you eat well/healthy all the time, carb loading may not help, but if you don't making sure you get in good carbs a few days before a big ride and also good fruit to get your mineral levels good, it surely does. If you're riding at race pace, then stopping for solid food is nice, but if you're really pushing it, you might want to stick to a liquid diet and lock at using something like Heed, Perpetuum, Accelerade, Endurox or Roctane.
    Ya it's 4+ hrs of pedaling. Just did a 5+ yesterday here in SoCal... did the Whiting + Luge, then explored the area scoping out for my next rides.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Simple really, you just slip them into the compartment with your hydration bladder which is full of cold water and they'll stay perfectly fine

    No hydro-bladder but it isn't an issue, I just save the chocolate for cool days or after rides.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrFreelancer View Post
    I

    I think the bottom line is, what use to work for me isn't working anymore and I need to change it up.
    Yep. The older I get the more Goldilocks I become. I need to have everything just ride or it all turns to shit.

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    Does anyone drink easily digested protein powder during a long ride in the 3-4 hour range?

    I just think there has to be something better than sugar to drink, or eat (gels) during a medium distance endurance race.

    I also agree with many of the above posts in that the most important nutrition happens the day before and the morning before the race.

    It is almost too late to do anything meaningful during the race.

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    NOT a good idea, that is way too much protein for your body to try to digest while doing strenuous activity, the general "rule" as far as I know is a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. I've taken turkey sliced wraps with me on long rides, but that's on rides where we stop for a lunch break and we're going 4+ hours and not racing.

    Quote Originally Posted by myt1 View Post
    Does anyone drink easily digested protein powder during a long ride in the 3-4 hour range?

    I just think there has to be something better than sugar to drink, or eat (gels) during a medium distance endurance race.

    I also agree with many of the above posts in that the most important nutrition happens the day before and the morning before the race.

    It is almost too late to do anything meaningful during the race.
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    ^^^ correct. Protein is not what's needed, and can be counterproductive. Protein is mainly for building/reparing body parts, carbs mainly for powering them. There is a little bit of crossover and interaction, but for power, you need carbs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    ^^^ correct. Protein is not what's needed, and can be counterproductive. Protein is mainly for building/reparing body parts, carbs mainly for powering them. There is a little bit of crossover and interaction, but for power, you need carbs.
    I noticed that Hammer Nutrition makes two products that are for longer endurance races, Sustained Energy, and Perpetuem, both of which contain protein, 10 and 7 grams respectively.

    I'm particularly intrigued by Sustained Energy, since they say it is very popular with athletes with an ectomorphic body style...sadly, I could be a poster child for ectomorphs.

    I just don't have a lot of reserves and I'm wondering if drinking easily digested protein might somehow keep me from breaking down muscle tissue during a race.

    It could be no one size fits all and there are people who benefit from in-race protein.

    http://www.hammernutrition.com/produ...tained-energy/
    https://www.hammernutrition.com/prod...els/perpetuem/

    Personally, I don't use any of the above products. I combine a rather generic vegan protein powder with one of the more more popular electrolyte powders...read sugar with salt...to make a mixture that is about fifty fifty ratio of carbs to protein.

  41. #41
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    I have used Perpetum and Heed from Hammer, I actually mix the 2 together to get some of the protein, found it best that way, mixed about 50/50. Also used Endurox and Accelerade, never mixed, either did Accelerade normal strength or Endurox 1/2 strength during rides to get that little bit more of the recovery minerals etc. As I said, once you start ingesting protein during exercise, your body will have to direct a lot of blood to your stomach to process it and that takes it away from the muscles that need it to perform and can cause cramping.

    Do some reading, keep the protein down to a 4-1 ratio of carbs to protein and you should be good. Also note that most people cannot consume more than 300 calories an hour when doing heavy exercise.

    Quote Originally Posted by myt1 View Post
    I noticed that Hammer Nutrition makes two products that are for longer endurance races, Sustained Energy, and Perpetuem, both of which contain protein, 10 and 7 grams respectively.

    I'm particularly intrigued by Sustained Energy, since they say it is very popular with athletes with an ectomorphic body style...sadly, I could be a poster child for ectomorphs.

    I just don't have a lot of reserves and I'm wondering if drinking easily digested protein might somehow keep me from breaking down muscle tissue during a race.

    It could be no one size fits all and there are people who benefit from in-race protein.

    http://www.hammernutrition.com/produ...tained-energy/
    https://www.hammernutrition.com/prod...els/perpetuem/

    Personally, I don't use any of the above products. I combine a rather generic vegan protein powder with one of the more more popular electrolyte powders...read sugar with salt...to make a mixture that is about fifty fifty ratio of carbs to protein.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by myt1 View Post
    Does anyone drink easily digested protein powder during a long ride in the 3-4 hour range?

    I just think there has to be something better than sugar to drink, or eat (gels) during a medium distance endurance race.

    I also agree with many of the above posts in that the most important nutrition happens the day before and the morning before the race.

    It is almost too late to do anything meaningful during the race.
    I drink protein drinks and eat yogurt prior; generally with a banana or two. Too many people think energy drinks and replenishment drinks are the ticket, but they all contain too much sugar. Simple carbs are not much better than sugar. Your body burns fat and protein on long rides. Carbs are for short 20 to 30 minute bursts of energy, but you need to train your body to burn fat for endurance training. As long as there is ample sugars in your blood, your body will never burn fat. You will bonk before fat consumption begins. Too many carbs, too many energy bars/drinks will hurt your long term endurance.

  43. #43
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    When I go on group rides I start with oatmeal about 7am, egg mcmuffin 8:30ish (prob not best choice but I am the road), preworkout drink 10am as we leave, then I do a apple sauce pack and maybe a protein bar if its along ride. Then I eat before I head home after the ride.


    If I eat too much I will get sick while I ride, the apple Sause dose really good on picking me up and keeping my sugar up (it likes to drop) so I don't crash. I tried some jells and they didn't seem to work any better then the apple sauce.

  44. #44
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    Don't forget at the end of a hard days ride to hit the "magic" hour (actually ideally half hour I think) and get something in you for recovery. Friends use Endurox. Some people will do chocolate milk. I've found for my stomach Ensure (the higher protein ones are a plus) works well, and you can often find it cheaper and easier than those marketed as sports recovery drinks. Its supposed to get absorbed better and aid recovery faster. I've found it also staves off the post ride super munchies for an hour and allows for a more sane meal. Otherwise you end up wanting to eat everything you see!

  45. #45
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    My best pre ride meal is carb only. No protein or fat. A medium bowl of cereal 2 hours pre ride. Then an apple 20 minutes before clipping in. That combo gets me an hour of glycogen, and after that I'm into GCN bars during the ride.

  46. #46
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    I have found that big meals before rides, or races is detrimental for me. Smaller breakfast with long term carbohydrates seems to work better.

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