I’ve now had a couple of days to think about what went wrong in the ride Sunday. How could I have finished 50 and 62 mile rides last fall, and not make it past 37 now?
The answer was obvious. Those long rides were organized, with adequate rest stops. And I took full advantage of the rest stops. I ate bananas, energy bars, pretzels and goldfish, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches — and I always refilled my bottle with a sports drink. Sometimes, I drank half the bottle before getting back on the bike, and refilled it again before leaving the rest stop.
The ride Sunday was put together well by a group of volunteers, but it wasn’t big enough to warrant rest stops. The riders were on their own. I just didn’t come well enough prepared.
So the next time I decide to rack up some big miles, I’ll know what to do. Find an effective sports drink (not one loaded with sugar), bring along two — or three — energy bars (I’ll have to find one that I like), and maybe even experiment with gels.
I’d never even heard of gels until I’d been biking for two months last summer. Seems convenient, but I wonder. What the heck, I’ll buy some for my next long training ride.
I’ll even remember that five dollar bill to spend at a convenient convenience store. And breakfast will be more than a pair of frozen waffles.
I’ve found that all liquids work best for me if I’m riding hard. If I’m not riding hard, I can get by with some solid foods. You can get by with sugar on shorter rides but it can cause stomach problems later on.
Mike Weiland says
I’d suggest taking a look at the offering of Hammer Nutrition as they have been in the endurance game for many years. For rides under 2 hours I use Heed and their Hammer Gel. For rides longer than 2 hours I’ve used Perpetuem and Sustained Energy. Under both scenarios I use and drink plain water. If you get into gel I suggest the Gel Bot Water Bottle it holds gel and water and surprisingly works great for both. This way you don’t have to open a gel and get the package back into the jersey. With sweat on your hands I find it hard to tear open at times when I’m on the bike. With the gel bot that is not a problem.
Locally Bicycle Sport Shop carries Hammer products, at least powders and gels. If you want to order more or other products from Hammer let me know and I’ll hook you up with a 15% first time order discount.
I usually take along a Clif Bar and some Shot Bloks. The Shot Bloks taste a whole lot better than gels and are not so messy either. They come in lots of flavors but I prefer the strawberry. Give it a try.
Black Pearl says
Just remember once you start Jels your digestion shuts down and you will only process jels for the rest of your ride. Any other nutrients you take are secondary to the jels. I choose to stay away from them I have two or three boxes if you want them contact me and I will see about sending them to you.
Black Pearl says
Oh one other thing you need to take jels every 15 minutes for the rest of the ride. Once you start you got to keep going with them. The sugars are much too easily absorbed. I got real BONKED one time when I started jels too early and did not have enough with me to finish the ride and the last hour was probably the most miserable hour I have ever spent on a bike.
Definitely get some good fats and proteins for breakfast before you go out on longer rides! I try and go the “food” route whenever possible rather than using gels although Shot Bloks are pretty decent but I would rather eat a granola bar or clif bar.
“Sport” drinks don’t go over very well with me. I have one that I have made at home but I haven’t tried it out on the bike yet…it’s fairly simple and doesn’t contain a lot of sugar…it’s mostly flavored water with a little bit of salt and a little sugar and splenda.