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  1. #1
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    Quick nutrition question about early AM rides

    Hi Gang- Hoping to get some advice and guidance: I'm noting that AM rides are always tougher and I tend to bonk. PM rides, including fast-paced A-rides at the LBS are fine and I think it's the fueling during the day that makes evening rides so much better.

    I'm not sure what I should be doing, but for AM rides, I generally eat breakfast along the lines of a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit. I take a long an energy gel and some Lara Bars, but at about 40 miles out, I'm bonking. The same ride in the PM is generally no problem and I often feel like I have energy to spare on those PM rides. If it helps, I'm 6'1" and about 163-165 lbs. Hoping to get some guidance on how to beat the bonk and do better on AM rides, via nutrition adjustments. Cheers!

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    Eat more the night before. I like to indulge on Friday nights; take in a few cookies and ice cream I may otherwise skip because Sat is a big kJ day and you can't get all of the necessary calories in in the morning.

    Performance nutrition is about the days before, not the hours.

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    I agree that it sounds like you're not properly fueling ahead of time.

    I get up and don't eat anything. After a few hours of morning things I'll go ride up to 80 miles with no food and not bonk or break or anything. Just working off of energy stores from the previous day(s). And of course plenty of sugar water in the bottles.

    If you're eating breakfast and can't make it past 40 miles, something's wrong.

    Eat as soon as you get up maybe, give it more time to digest before leaving.

    What do you put in your bottles? Try making one as sugary as you can stand. Use it as fuel on the road.
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    Is there a significant difference in temperatures? For example: If your morning ride is at 35 Celsius or 95 Fahrenheit, but your PM ride is a night ride at 20 Celsius or 68 Fahrenheit, your body is likely to have a very varied performance.

    Is your morning ride in direct sunlight, but your PM ride sheltered from sunlight either by the terrain or because it's nighttime? I know that my performance drops under prolonged sunlight. Kind of like the opposite of Superman, hahaha.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by skhan007 View Post
    Hi Gang- Hoping to get some advice and guidance: I'm noting that AM rides are always tougher and I tend to bonk. PM rides, including fast-paced A-rides at the LBS are fine and I think it's the fueling during the day that makes evening rides so much better.

    I'm not sure what I should be doing, but for AM rides, I generally eat breakfast along the lines of a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit. I take a long an energy gel and some Lara Bars, but at about 40 miles out, I'm bonking. The same ride in the PM is generally no problem and I often feel like I have energy to spare on those PM rides. If it helps, I'm 6'1" and about 163-165 lbs. Hoping to get some guidance on how to beat the bonk and do better on AM rides, via nutrition adjustments. Cheers!
    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Eat more the night before. I like to indulge on Friday nights; take in a few cookies and ice cream I may otherwise skip because Sat is a big kJ day and you can't get all of the necessary calories in in the morning.

    Performance nutrition is about the days before, not the hours.
    Got it! I'll have a look at the overall diet, not just the morning of the ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    I agree that it sounds like you're not properly fueling ahead of time.

    I get up and don't eat anything. After a few hours of morning things I'll go ride up to 80 miles with no food and not bonk or break or anything. Just working off of energy stores from the previous day(s). And of course plenty of sugar water in the bottles.

    If you're eating breakfast and can't make it past 40 miles, something's wrong.

    Eat as soon as you get up maybe, give it more time to digest before leaving.

    What do you put in your bottles? Try making one as sugary as you can stand. Use it as fuel on the road.
    Wish I could cycle like that without eating! I have nothing but water in the bottles, so I'll start to supplement. I just watched a cycling nutrition lecture on-line, which was quite informative:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeIA261_gSw

    I tried what the professor stated, and got up earlier, ate and allowed sufficient digestion time, and hydrated a lot more (pre-ride hydration is something I was not aware of as being so important) and had a much more tolerable AM ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Renzo7 View Post
    Is there a significant difference in temperatures? For example: If your morning ride is at 35 Celsius or 95 Fahrenheit, but your PM ride is a night ride at 20 Celsius or 68 Fahrenheit, your body is likely to have a very varied performance.

    Is your morning ride in direct sunlight, but your PM ride sheltered from sunlight either by the terrain or because it's nighttime? I know that my performance drops under prolonged sunlight. Kind of like the opposite of Superman, hahaha.

    Sent from my SM-G900M using Tapatalk
    Yes, it is indeed full-sun and about 80-85 Fahrenheit. Perhaps I'm simply not adjusted to those conditions. Looking to build that endurance, so I'll keep at it.

  7. #7
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    How long and how hard are your AM rides?

    You mentioned being ok on fast-paced A - PM rides. Is there a difference in distance/intensity?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skhan007 View Post
    Hi Gang- Hoping to get some advice and guidance: I'm noting that AM rides are always tougher and I tend to bonk. PM rides, including fast-paced A-rides at the LBS are fine and I think it's the fueling during the day that makes evening rides so much better.

    I'm not sure what I should be doing, but for AM rides, I generally eat breakfast along the lines of a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit. I take a long an energy gel and some Lara Bars, but at about 40 miles out, I'm bonking. The same ride in the PM is generally no problem and I often feel like I have energy to spare on those PM rides. If it helps, I'm 6'1" and about 163-165 lbs. Hoping to get some guidance on how to beat the bonk and do better on AM rides, via nutrition adjustments. Cheers!
    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Eat more the night before. I like to indulge on Friday nights; take in a few cookies and ice cream I may otherwise skip because Sat is a big kJ day and you can't get all of the necessary calories in in the morning.

    Performance nutrition is about the days before, not the hours.
    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    I agree that it sounds like you're not properly fueling ahead of time.

    I get up and don't eat anything. After a few hours of morning things I'll go ride up to 80 miles with no food and not bonk or break or anything. Just working off of energy stores from the previous day(s). And of course plenty of sugar water in the bottles.

    If you're eating breakfast and can't make it past 40 miles, something's wrong.

    Eat as soon as you get up maybe, give it more time to digest before leaving.

    What do you put in your bottles? Try making one as sugary as you can stand. Use it as fuel on the road.
    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    How long and how hard are your AM rides?

    You mentioned being ok on fast-paced A - PM rides. Is there a difference in distance/intensity?
    I've been going for rides that are about 40-50 miles (or more if time permits), and generally about 1500-2000 feet of climbing. Group rides in the PM are much shorter (about 20 miles), about 1200 feet if climbing, but faster paced. So in summary, the evening rides are shorter but more intense.

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    OP is doing a 40 miles fast paced ride. That's at least 2 hours of fast pace, he ain't gonna last without a FULL store of glycogen!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    OP is doing a 40 miles fast paced ride. That's at least 2 hours of fast pace, he ain't gonna last without a FULL store of glycogen!
    That's right. I smash in the rice and pasta and potatoes every day. Mass amounts. Without it I'm worthless the next day(s).
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    That's right. I smash in the rice and pasta and potatoes every day. Mass amounts. Without it I'm worthless the next day(s).
    yeah, if I were in OP's case and eating early is not an option, then i'd do just 1 hr of intensity and then 1 hr of zone 2-3 to go home. Eating is not really an option for AM rides unless he can eat about 2.5-3 hours ahead of the ride. Stuffing a bowl of oatmeal 1 hr before a fast paced ride is not sound, sure the oatmeal will suppress the hunger, but he'll throw up lol

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    Thanks guys. I may try to get up earlier (maybe up & eating at 6 AM for an 8 AM ride) and see how that goes. Most of the motivation to get up and cycle early is to beat the heat. I can also try to slow my pace a bit and not focus on speed, but rather watts, so the 40-50 miler doesn't have to be about speed, but more qualitative, such as beating the bonk and having energy to spare. I like the idea of an hour of intensity and an hour of zone 2-3.

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    Try a ketogenic diet and get off the sugar train. Eat real food like bacon and eggs for breakfast. I pack walnuts or macadamia nuts as a snack on my rides. I use UCAN for really tough rides and UCAN electrolyte powder in my water bottles on most rides. I have not bonked since I became fat adapted. I also do a lot of zone 2 training midweek and then hammer it on the weekends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldriverdude View Post
    Try a ketogenic diet and get off the sugar train. Eat real food like bacon and eggs for breakfast. I pack walnuts or macadamia nuts as a snack on my rides. I use UCAN for really tough rides and UCAN electrolyte powder in my water bottles on most rides. I have not bonked since I became fat adapted. I also do a lot of zone 2 training midweek and then hammer it on the weekends.
    That may work if you're trying to ride slow as hell, not if you're trying to ride fast or for performance. THAT requires ample calories from carbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    Stuffing a bowl of oatmeal 1 hr before a fast paced ride is not sound, sure the oatmeal will suppress the hunger, but he'll throw up lol
    I can. Well not a bowl of oatmeal, but my typical morning meal before riding is 1/2cup oatmeal, brown sugar, and some fruit. Haven't thrown up yet.
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    Not true. The OP was asking how not to bonk on early morning rides and I gave him an alternative. I used to think like you a couple of years ago. I ride stronger now that I changed my diet and I use fat for energy. No more glycogen spikes and then having the lows afterwards from eating grains and consuming sugar. Do what you want, but promoting pounding sugar is not a healthy lifestyle for me. Not to mention it is a great way to put on weight. Before you attack me and accuse me of riding slow, look into it or give it a try.


    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    That may work if you're trying to ride slow as hell, not if you're trying to ride fast or for performance. THAT requires ample calories from carbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldriverdude View Post
    Not true.
    Not true that it isn't true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Not true that it isn't true.
    I'm done with you. You are a waste of my time. I will burn calories on my bike not replying to douchebags like you.

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    So, Gold, do you have a power meter?
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldriverdude View Post
    Not true. The OP was asking how not to bonk on early morning rides and I gave him an alternative. I used to think like you a couple of years ago. I ride stronger now that I changed my diet and I use fat for energy. No more glycogen spikes and then having the lows afterwards from eating grains and consuming sugar. Do what you want, but promoting pounding sugar is not a healthy lifestyle for me. Not to mention it is a great way to put on weight. Before you attack me and accuse me of riding slow, look into it or give it a try.
    You gave him an alternative all right. One not based in reality.
    If you were pounding sugar... yea you were definitely doing something wrong.

    With all the money invested in Pro racing and entire teams of nutrition experts feeding them, how come none of them are using fat for energy? Are we to believe you have a magic diet they are unaware of?

    This is what you have to eat to compete in the Tour de France - Cycling Weekly
    09:00 Breakfast
    Riders have their breakfast around three hours before the race — carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, muesli, cereal, fruit, coffee, smoothies, orange juice and even noodles help top up glycogen stores.

    “One thing all riders avoid is eating heavy food,” says Judith Haudum, sports nutritionist to the BMC Racing team.

    “They have to resist the enticing pastries from the hotel breakfast bar because this type of food isn’t fully digested in time for the start, making riders’ stomachs feel uncomfortably heavy.”

    10:30 Pre-race snack
    Transfers from hotels to stage starts can be long, offering an opportunity to top up carbohydrate and calories — typically, rice cakes with honey, raisin bread or a sports bar are consumed with fluid. Studies show Tour riders are consuming less on the bike (possibly due to more aggressive racing), meaning greater reliance on pre- and post-race nutrition.

    12:00 During the race

    Different stages at the Tour require different fuelling strategies, according to duration, intensity and temperature. Fat metabolism can be utilised during mid-stage low intensity periods when a rider can shelter in the bunch and get towed along. In contrast, tougher stages will see the body rely on carbohydrate, which means more gels and bars.

    Solid foods consumed on the bike include small rolls with jam, rice cakes and energy bars. Quick-to-consume gels — especially caffeinated ones — will provide the majority of calories as the pace increases as riders will struggle to chew and swallow solids.

    On big alpine climbs SiS expects its riders to consume six electrolyte drinks, three energy bars, two isotonic gels and a caffeine gel; more if the heat ramps up.

    17:00 Post-race recovery
    As soon as the stage ends, recovery begins. “Recovery drinks with carbohydrate and 25g of protein are waiting for the riders as soon as they finish a stage, which they drink whilst cooling down,” says Slater. Depending on how long the transfer is, riders shower and change in the bus before eating a snack prepared by the team chef — sandwiches, rich cakes and cereal bars are standard fare.

    20:00 Evening meal
    Post-massage evening meals start with salad, soup or juice for a nutrient boost, followed by meat or fish and carbohydrate-rich foods — but gone are the days of overcooked pasta. At the 2014 Tour de France, Garmin’s chef Sean Fowler tweeted photos of flaxseed crusted turkey and pumpkin soup, while Team Sky’s Søren Kristiansen served up halibut with apple, peach and fennel salsa. The aim is to use colourful foods to encourage riders to eat and keep them nourished while avoiding food repetition. Homemade cakes, yoghurt, fruit and flans are often served for dessert.

    23:00 Lights out

    Carbohydrate-rich snacks like small cakes, fruit, nuts and cereal ensure glycogen levels are constantly being topped up after dinner. Hydration is also an ongoing struggle and it’s rare to see a rider without a bidon in their hand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    I can. Well not a bowl of oatmeal, but my typical morning meal before riding is 1/2cup oatmeal, brown sugar, and some fruit. Haven't thrown up yet.
    Yep, same 1/2 bowl of oatmeal for me, except with cinnamon and dried fruit. Maybe a small portion of some sort of protein for an extended ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldriverdude View Post
    Try a ketogenic diet and get off the sugar train. Eat real food like bacon and eggs for breakfast. I pack walnuts or macadamia nuts as a snack on my rides. I use UCAN for really tough rides and UCAN electrolyte powder in my water bottles on most rides. I have not bonked since I became fat adapted. I also do a lot of zone 2 training midweek and then hammer it on the weekends.
    I don't follow a ketogenic diet and have bonked once in my life.

    If you aren't monitoring you blood work, you don't know whether you are in ketosis either. FWIW, nuts have carbs. UCAN has 21 grams carbs per serving (link). Cheaper to drink a coke. IOW, you are violating your own (BS) theory during rides.

    I suspect OP is not really bonking. OP is simply fatigued (used up available W') and getting dropped.

    Rather basic question to answer is after op gets dropped, can he slow up and ride at his normal pace. If the answer is yes, then he is not bonking. If the answer is, "i can barely manage to ride my bike fast enough to balance and it takes me two or three days to feel ok again", then i buy "bonking". I suspect the answer is the former.
    Last edited by crit_boy; 07-12-2017 at 07:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    I don't follow a ketogenic diet and have bonked once in my life.

    If you aren't monitoring you blood work, you don't know whether you are in ketosis either. FWIW, nuts have carbs. UCAN has 21 grams carbs per serving (link). Cheaper to drink a coke. IOW, you are violating your own (BS) theory during rides.

    I suspect OP is not really bonking. OP is simply fatigued (used up available W') and getting dropped.

    Rather basic question to answer is after op gets dropped, can he slow up and ride at his normal pace. If the answer is yes, then he is not bonking. If the answer is, "i can barely manage to ride my bike fast enough to balance and it takes me two or three days to feel ok again", then i buy "bonking". I suspect the answer is the former.
    OK, thanks for the clarification. Perhaps I'm using the 'bonk' term incorrectly. Given what you've said, then yes, it's fatigue. An example would be going out on the ride and at some point, much earlier than planned/expected, I'm lacking the resilience, energy, and fortitude to sustain what I believe is the proper speed/watts.

    I appreciate the input from all. I also understand there are some who are debating the best/correct approach, so I'll study up on all info provided. For example, I'm going to plan for an AM 40-50 mile group ride on Saturday, which will start at 8:30 AM. I'll be up at 6 AM and eating. Per a suggestion, perhaps eggs & bacon. The Team BMC interview posted above also referenced a pre-ride snack, so I'll do that as well. Lastly, in the days prior, I'll be cognizant of carb intake as well as hydration (well before the ride, as well). Sound like a plan? Please let me know if there are other thoughts.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by skhan007 View Post
    OK, thanks for the clarification. Perhaps I'm using the 'bonk' term incorrectly. Given what you've said, then yes, it's fatigue. An example would be going out on the ride and at some point, much earlier than planned/expected, I'm lacking the resilience, energy, and fortitude to sustain what I believe is the proper speed/watts.

    I appreciate the input from all. I also understand there are some who are debating the best/correct approach, so I'll study up on all info provided. For example, I'm going to plan for an AM 40-50 mile group ride on Saturday, which will start at 8:30 AM. I'll be up at 6 AM and eating. Per a suggestion, perhaps eggs & bacon. The Team BMC interview posted above also referenced a pre-ride snack, so I'll do that as well. Lastly, in the days prior, I'll be cognizant of carb intake as well as hydration (well before the ride, as well). Sound like a plan? Please let me know if there are other thoughts.
    Keep in mind the Team BMC info is for a Pro TdF racer requiring 6,000-9,000 calories a day.

    I'm kinda surprised as an A level rider that you'd require so much focus on eating for a 40-50mi group ride. That's less than 3hrs riding. It shouldn't require carb loading for several days prior. A decent dinner the night before, small breakfast the morning of and 100cal/hr while riding should be more than sufficient.
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