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  1. #1
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    Nutrition for Road riding (newer road rider)

    I know...another nutrition question.

    Coming from mountain biking I am finding nutrition to be a bit different from what I was doing. Never road quite as long on the mountain bike as I do on the road. Just started riding road about 3 - 4 weeks ago...been mountain biking for years.

    I am currently riding about 3 times a week about 23 miles over about 1.5 hrs. There are a lot of signals so it takes a lot of time to stop if they are red.

    My longest ride was 47 miles that took 3 hrs. My goal is to work up to a century ride.

    I have been browsing around looking for advice on what people eat before, during and after a ride. I have found bits and pieces on it, but kind of looking for a better defined list of what works for people who ride. A lot of GU, Hammer and other supplements are mentioned.

    I was thinking about how well a spreadsheet would work for this...something like...going for a 1.5 hr ride with a heavy effort...what do you eat before, during and after. Or going for a 3 hour ride with moderate effort what do you eat before during and after.

    Does anything like that exist?


    Could be like this...with the understanding that heavy and moderate are subjective to the rider

    Ride Duration / Effort / Eat Before / Eat During / Eat After
    .5 - 1.5 hrs / Moderate / /
    .5 - 1.5 hrs / Heavy / /
    1.5 - 3 hrs / Moderate / /
    1.5 - 3 hrs / Heavy / /
    3 + hrs / Moderate / /
    3 + hrs / Heavy / /

    Finally, how much do you typically spend in supplements a month? Looking at some of them it seems that it can get quite expensive.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Eat a fairly neutral meal before hand. Like cereal or a sandwich.

    If your ride is under 2 hours, I wouldn't recommend eating DURING the ride. No point. Just use energy drink mixes of some type.

    When you get done, try and take in carbs and protein. I usually drink a protein shake, but chocolate milk or similar works great.

    Moderate rides, you'll be burning around 500 to 600 calories an hour. If you are going really hard/hilly ride, you might burn 800 calories an hour. So account for this after the ride when you get home.

  3. #3
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    You can find formulas online for how many calories to consume per hour based on your weight.

    I'm under the opinion that anything under 2 hours doesn't require food, but you still may want to eat a little since it will help in recovery.

    The new Feedzone Cookbook is very interesting. I bought it right after Christmas and plan to make some of the "portables" to carry on rides.

    The book isn't keen on drinking your calories or using gels. But then again, guys spending 7-8 hours on the bike likely appreciate something to CHEW on.

    Feedzone Cookbook has a website (or blog) that links to some videos of their recipes. Check it out. http://feedzonecookbook.com/

  4. #4
    The Slow One.
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    For most of my 3-4 hour, moderate intensity rides, I fuel well before the ride with some neutral, slow burn types of foods. Grilled chicken and stuff like that works for me. On the bike, I generally go with electrolyte drink mixes, chews like Honey Stingers, and the occasional Fig Newton bar. When I get home, it's usually Endurox R4 or chocolate milk as soon as I walk in the door to prevent me from going on a simple carb binge.

    If I want to ride longer, I'll add a fueling-type drink mix or bring something like beef jerky to supplement the snacking food I usually bring along.

    I usually don't do steady rides that have a consistent intensity, so my fueling is usually directed more towards the preparation for and recovery from hard sections. I may ride a relatively flat course for two hours at a moderate pace towards an hour-long hill climb, then ride two hours home. Obviously I need to make sure I arrive at the hill with a good amount in the tank, and when I descend I need to be able to make it home. It's all about planning and managing resources.

    I just got the FeedZone cookbook, but I haven't had a chance to make anything in it. Looks good, though.

  5. #5
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    The FeedZone book is great.

    I don't eat a lot of processed food when I'm not riding, so I have been experimenting with using "real" food on rides. So far it works well, in that my stomach is not bothered like it often is on long rides and I finish the ride feeling strong. The disadvantage is real food takes up more room in the jersey pockets, and you have to make it.

    Ride Food Suffer-o-rama

  6. #6
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    Gatorade with creatine 30 minutes before a ride and during seems to work for me.

  7. #7
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    Wow! I use free water and buy fruit and nut bars in bulk @.20 each. That is all I have ever needed for 100 mile rides. Otherwise I eat a normal diet.
    Happy Riding!!

  8. #8
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    I really don't think one needs to over think this. We're not competing in the Tour here ya know. Eat a well balanced diet. depending on ride length and intensity (and amount of rides/week) you may want to emphasize carbs. For regular rides of moderate intensity (2hrs or so) with some hard efforts, consume something about 1-2 hrs per ride. Big glass of chocolate milk post ride.

    I know lots of guys do gu and other stuff during th ride. If I eat on a ride it's almost always real food - pb&j, fig newtons, etc. I mix 3/4 water with 1/4 fruit juice - again nothing fancy necessary. I try and reduce all the drama, not add to it.
    I ride mostly in the honorable pursuit of being kissed on both cheeks at the same time by one blond and one brunette. But not redheads, they scare me.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonG View Post
    I really don't think one needs to over think this. We're not competing in the Tour here ya know. Eat a well balanced diet. depending on ride length and intensity (and amount of rides/week) you may want to emphasize carbs. For regular rides of moderate intensity (2hrs or so) with some hard efforts, consume something about 1-2 hrs per ride. Big glass of chocolate milk post ride.

    I know lots of guys do gu and other stuff during th ride. If I eat on a ride it's almost always real food - pb&j, fig newtons, etc. I mix 3/4 water with 1/4 fruit juice - again nothing fancy necessary. I try and reduce all the drama, not add to it.
    This is good advice, some of the fun can be taken out of riding when it becomes too much like work to plan your food.

  10. #10
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    I'm a budget racer and so are some of my friends who include some world class athletes in both cycling and triathlons. If they're not getting their stuff for free they're eating PBJ, nutella/banana/torillas wraps, GUMMY WORMS (best ever), fig newtons, pop tarts and home made bars for ride food. There are a number of recipes online. Check out Ted King's blog. Plain old gatorade mix ($3.50@ FoodMax) with a little added sea salt makes a great fluid/electrolyte replacement and lasts weeks. I haven't bought a GU/cliff blocks/Cytomax in over a year and never looked back unless of course someone gave it to me.

    For recovery: CHOCOLATE MILK!!!

    Cheers.

  11. #11
    but thinking about it
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlamb View Post
    This is good advice, some of the fun can be taken out of riding when it becomes too much like work to plan your food.
    I generally prefer regular food and water to food or drink marketed for endurance athletics, but I think it's actually less work and planning to rely on the packaged stuff, not the other way around. Once you know what you like and what works among the packaged stuff, it's just a matter of having some on hand. Isn't that its appeal?

  12. #12
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    Ease of use

    Quote Originally Posted by Undecided View Post
    I generally prefer regular food and water to food or drink marketed for endurance athletics, but I think it's actually less work and planning to rely on the packaged stuff, not the other way around. Once you know what you like and what works among the packaged stuff, it's just a matter of having some on hand. Isn't that its appeal?
    My long distance rides are always the same: salted fig bars to eat while riding, salted mixed nuts, 2 oatmeal-raisin cookies, and a couple of antacid tablets to eat at the break. For shorter rides, no fig bars.

    No planning challenges for me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    My long distance rides are always the same.....

    No planning challenges for me.
    Come on! Put a little "spice" in your life. You aren't married to food!

    I ate fig newtons until I couldn't stand them any longer. Always ate bananas too, and somehow still like them.

    We'll see how my bread cakes from the cookbook work out. They really were not what I anticipated. My wife thought it just ended up being quiche. I'll try them next weekend but will take some other reserves just in case.

    I'm really anxious to use the waffle recipe so I can fill them up with jelly & creme cheese.

  14. #14
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    My advice would be to start experimenting with what you think might work for you. When you figure something out, stick with it only making small changes to suit a specific ride. No changes during an event, just stick with works.

    Personally, I like hammer products, gels specifically, and diluted gatorade in my bottles.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMB145 Driver View Post
    My advice would be to start experimenting with what you think might work for you. When you figure something out, stick with it only making small changes to suit a specific ride. No changes during an event, just stick with works.

    Personally, I like hammer products, gels specifically, and diluted gatorade in my bottles.
    +1. I have and still am experimenting with foods and hammer products. I agree that once you get things dialed in, or in my case, close to being dialed in, you should be able to stick with it and have minimal adjustments depending on the ride. Most importantly, enjoy the ride
    2013 Lynskey R230. Campagnolo Chorus 11 group-set. Campagnolo Neutron Ultra wheel-set. Easton EC90 aero handlebars on 3T team stem. Specialized Romin Expert 155mm saddle. Look Keo Carbon Blade pedals. Garmin Edge 800. Lizard skin tape.

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