Great cycling starts here!

Nutrition 101 – Fuel For The Ride

One of the great things about this time of year as Spring takes hold, is the great cycling events coming upon us.  For many of us, we have big goals being realized in the Summer.  Maybe it is the Death Ride or the Davis Double Century.  You might have plans for your first century or metric century.  Whatever your goal may be, it is likely to involve a big ride with lots of miles.



2016 – Dutch Flat

Just over a week ago, many Cycle Folsom riders joined in the Train for the Tours (TftT) ride – TftT #5, Not Flat to Dutch Flat (a perfect ride description if there ever was one).  In the TftT series, I think this is where the rides go from difficult to hard (and then insane).  In this transition in difficulty, it is important to make sure you are prepared to with a good hydration and nutrition plan.  In the last post, we gave you a good rundown on hydration – Hydration 101.  This time, Aaron Terrazas gives us a great rundown on nutrition.

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Fuel For The Ride by Aaron Terrazas:
 

There are two ways to eat, fuel for your body (breakfast, second breakfast if you are a Hobbit, lunch and dinner), and fuel for your ride. Let’s talk about fuel for the ride.

 
When, what and how much you eat, is a little different for everybody, so it’s important to know what your body needs for different types of rides. I find it best to eat small, not big, and spread out your fuel intake over the entire ride. This allows your body to digest food easily, rather than having a brick in your stomach while riding. 
It is very important not to wait until you are hungry or feeling fatigued by staying ahead of your body and eat every 40-50 minutes. If your are pushing the pedals hard, you may find it beneficial to eat every 30 minutes. On the opposite spectrum, if you are on an easy recovery ride, you may only need to eat once an hour. Your ride intensity and ride duration will determine what and when you need to eat and how much fuel your body will need on a ride, so have your ride fuel plan and food ready the night before.
 
On a long endurance ride of 80-100 miles, I have found it beneficial to double up your food intake at 40-50 miles and again around mile 80. On longer rides, don’t not to wait for the rest stops, eat on the bike. This is where planning ahead with a ride fuel plan and having your food organized in your pockets comes in handy. You will find it much easier to eat while on the bike by having your food open and ready to eat (just don’t do this with gels or it will go bad really quickly – just saying).
 
Choose ride fuel foods that are natural, easy to eat, low in sugar (NOTE: pro-racers do drink soda, but they are on a different level than we are) and offer fuel that your body can process quickly during a ride. Fuel for the ride is the key here because it’s about fuel your body can use during the ride. This is why it is better to stay away from anything heavy like sandwiches and hamburgers because our bodies tend not to process the sandwich or hamburger during the ride quickly enough to be used during the ride.  
 
Some food bars may seem healthy, but are basically candy and do not offer a lot of nutrients your body can use during a ride. It is best to stay away from junk food like cookies and candy because our bodies need real food, nutrients and fuel that it can process and use quickly. 
 
Here are a few things I eat on the bike and why I eat them. 
I typically eat Enduro Bites (http://endurobites.com/why-enduro-bites/) because they are easy to eat on the bike quickly, they are healthy and easy to digest. I found that eating Cliff bars while on the bike can be challenging because they do not go down easily, while Enduro Bites are much easier to get down at 20-30 mph. 
 
I also include some gels on my rides, I personally like Cliff Shots, but there are many too choose from (http://www.clifbar.com/products/Athlete-Series/clif-shot/razz). These are great to get quick sugar into your body and get your energy back up.
Honey Stinger (http://www.honeystinger.com/), but they can’t be eaten while in the bike, so I only take them if I know there will be a rest stop.
 
Kind Bar (http://www.kindsnacks.com/store/types/kind-bars), l are one of my favorite pre-ride fuels and mid-ride fuels. They can be a little tricky to eat while riding because they stick to the wrapper.
 
On a long ride, I love a banana and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 
Pre-Ride fuel (the day before) is also important and what you eat depends on the type of ride (long vs short, hard vs easy). For the sake of discussion, let’s stick to the long endurance ride fuel. Depending on what you like to eat, you can go with pasta, veggies, and/or protein (steak or fish). Some people like to eat eggs, a bit of steak or potatoes right before a ride; personally I am not a morning person, so usually just have a Coffee Late, a banana and a Kind Bar.
 
Here are a few tips help you on your next long endurance ride:
 
TIP: Always take more than you will eat, you never know when your body will just need more fuel.
 
TIP: Plan ahead; know what you will eat and when you will eat it. 
 
TIP: Don’t wait to eat until you are hungry or your energy to drop out.
 
TIP: Listen to your body, learn how it responds to different foods on a ride, we all are a little different, so find what is right for you.
 
TIP: Eat every 45 minutes and double up midway through a long endurance ride and a again in the last 20 miles so you can have enough to finish well.
 
TIP: Eat real food that is easy to digest and avoid processed foods and junk foods with high sugar, and corn syrups (HFCS).

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