What are approved drinks for long cycling rides 3+ hours


Smileysmitty

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Smileysmitty I have a suggestion for you--along with the salt add a squeeze of lemon juice and a light sprinkle of citric acid to the water. Both add a zippy taste to the water which really helps after hours of biking and still tastes OK after the water gets warm. You'll see citric acid in some fake-food powder formulations, that is an ingredient that imparts a tangy flavor. But don't add too much or you'll get too much tang and instead get a dry feeling in your mouth (I'm speaking from experience...). You'll have to experiment with it to find what you like.

What I do on long rides is bring an extra smaller bottle or gel flask and fill it with a ~5x concentrated version of the lemon/citric acid. When I stop to refill your bottles, I add some of the concentrate to the appropriate taste.

You can find citric acid in most baking supply stores (not sure about baking aisles in grocery stores though), wine and beer making stores, and the like.

Also, I find coconut water to be YUCK when it gets warm in the bottles. So make sure you like it warm before rolling out with it.

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If its just a ride... Water is great.... If you've been training for a 100 mile time trial and its race day and you will be going all out ..... Well .... You need to prioritize..... As for me since I've become fat adapted, as long as I don't cross my anaerobic threshold for extended periods I can go for hours and hours without refueling but that took me a while to adapt....

If you are comited to W30 prioritize the meal templates and back off the workouts a bit for a few weeks until you get the "magic" it's well worth it!!!!!

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Double thumbs up for what Fenderbender said.

Here are some related thoughts.... You said 3+ hours. That's good information, but not enough to talk strategy for training or racing. I just did a 3.5 hour ride last weekend and took nothing but water. But I did stop half way for a W30 lunch. There was no need to eat on the bike or bring food with me, because I had planned on being casual and thought I might stop for lunch.

However, there are plenty of times during my training season where I will go for 3-4 hour rides with nothing but water. Some of those rides will even be at "race pace". To Fenderbender's point, if your effort is in a lower effort zone where you're conditioned to metabolize fat instead of carbohydrates, then you should be able to go for a nearly indefinit period of time on just water (and depending on weather/heat adding in electrolytes). You don't have to be fully "fat adapted" to experience this. But if as he points out, you get to fat adapted, then POW! you get this magically boost at higher and higher efforts.

Now, what to do if you're not yet fat adapted, and/or you need to train or race at a higher level of effort than your "fat metabolic efficiency" zone. You will need fuel. But liquid fuel is probably the least best option. Because basically all the liquid fuel out there is carb-crazy... and current science suggest that metabolizing CHO will surpress fat metabolism and you end up needing more CHO... it's a bad downward spiral.

I have two alternative products/ideas that I am using. They each have pros and cons, and I've had success and failures with both. Here they are, you can decide which sounds better for you and experiment. This is my fuel choices for RACE PACE efforts over 4 hours (ultramarathons, Ironmans, or 100+ mile rides):

1) Whole Food/Solid Food - I will make and carry my own "whole food" metabolically efficient, W30 compatible food. One recipe is: nut butter mixed with protein powder wrapped in a date. I use butters like macadamia nut, almond, pistachio, or hazelnut butters. I will use hemp or pumpkin seed protein powder. I mix it to a consistency of uncooked cookie dough, and then roll it in a ball, and wrap a pitted date around it. I can make these to be about the size of golf ball, and have 100-150 kCals in them at a ratio of 40% CHO 30% FAT 30% PRO. This ratio of FAT+PRO to CHO will generally lower the glycemic index in a manner that will help prevent the insulin spike, and help keep your fat metabolism in order.

2) Generation UCAN - This is a product, that I have no affiliation with, but I love it. You can google it, and read all about it. Many experts in the "low carb/high fat" nutrition world who are also endurance athlete experts are starting to evangelize the virtues of this product. It's a "super-carbohydrate" is basically a very very large starch, and it has the effect of passing through your stomach and into your intestines before it gets metabolized. The result is no/lower insuline spike, and sustained energy that doesn't compromise fat metabolism.

Good luck!

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Brad,

I'm going to jump in here and ask my own cycling/nutrition question. I'm training for my first ultra long distance ride (160 miles in July) and I have been completely lost on the nutrition front despite searching for some paleo oriented cycling nutrition info. So here goes: how often is it necessary to eat on your bike if you're in it for the long haul? Also, how much do you need to drink per hour? Do you eat to hunger when off the bike or is there some rough calorie minimum requirements you feel you need to reach each day? I'm petite but between CrossFit and cycling I'm starting to develop a man sized appetite. I was hungry constantly today and I only did 35 miles.

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I just posted some of this same information on another forum post about fueling for "long runs"... I wouldn't normally cross-post, but these topics are very similar and so some people may find my experiences useful.

I ran 20 miles today on water only. About an hour before my run I ate a couple tbsps each of Cashews, Macadamia Nuts, Raisins, and a smallish 6" banana.

I'd say my run was "good" but not great. My goal was 7:50-8:00min/mile. I ran the first 11 miles in 7:49/mile pace, but then I started fading. I don't think I was low on energy, but it started raining, the wind picked up, and it was cold. So mentally I felt sluggish for the next 6 miles.

If that had been how it ended, I would have chalked it up to a below average early season run. But at mile 18, I ran 7:31, mile 19 at 7:49, and mile 20 fastest of all at 7:25! I ended up averaging 7:59/mile for the entire run, which is right around my marathon race pace, but not a marathon PR pace.

Again, this was WATER ONLY for 2:40 at a solid zone 2 workout pace for me.

This is day 27 of my Whole 30, so if you're wondering if "it's possible" to run long runs on a whole 30 program... this is one example of it being possible.

Although this is my first whole 30, I have been eating a very similar diet for the last 10 months. My pre-Whole30 diet was near-paleo gluten free/dairy free (with an occasional ~1/month cheat), but more importantly it's been about 50% FAT, 30% Protein, and 20% Carbohydrates. I eat mostly green leafy vegetables: ~6 cups per day. I rarely eat fruits: most days NO fruit, some days like today 1-2 servings. I probably average 5 servings of fruit per week. I also rarely eat higher CHO vegetables, like Sweet Potatoes. In fact, I've only had my first serving of sweet potatoes on W30 last night for dinner and this morning as part of my breakfast. The point is my average daily CHO intake is ~90g. Granted, being only 135lbs with a BMR of about 1,200kcals, I don't need a lot of calories anyway.

Although I've never confirmed this, I don't believe I am in nutritional ketosis, but I do believe I have reached a state of "fat adaptation" that allows me to achieve these types of performance results.

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Robin,

I'm not an expert. I have no certified nutritional, sports physiology, or medical training. So, anything I tell you, consider it to be purely anecdotal for my own personal experiences and body type.

I am 5'4", 43yo man. Ten years ago, I weighed over 200lbs - >30% body fat, I'd never exercised a day in my life. I lost 50lbs by exercise and eating a VLC diet. I've kept the weight off, and dropped another 10% in body weight to get to where I am today. I am now 135lbs, ~13% body fat. I have been an active endurance athlete for the last 9 years. I have completed 8 one-day double century bike rides, and 7 Ironman races, as well as several 50 mile ultramarathons and Quadzillas (4 Marathons in 4 days back to back).

As I mentioned in the post above... the last 10 months, I've been eating a diet designed to be "metabolically efficient". That mostly means eating a ratio of 50% Fat, 30% Protein, and 20% Carbohydrates. Most of my CHO comes from green vegetables.

With that background - here's how I approach my longer bike rides.

1) Water! Water is job 1, it's never going to give you GI distress. Every organized ride will have it. It won't spike your blood sugar and mess up your metabolism. You can't go wrong with water.

2) Bring my own food. See my notes above about Whole Food (whole 30 compatible) options. Basically, I bring my own fruit/nut/protein fuel that works for me. I've been gluten free for years, so I'm rarely able to take advantage of the typical "rest stop" food. Bagles?! Wraps!? Chips!? etc... worthless to me. So I just bring my own. If I'm riding <=100 miles, I can easily fit all I need in my jersey pockets. If I'm doing a double century, then I often I have a friend or family member driving "personal support" who brings a cooler with my own food. This might include treats like a GF sandwich. But that's not Whole 30 compatible.

3) Be Picky about Rest Stop Food - I will always check out the food at rest stops. Some race/ride directors are more aware of special needs and will have options that are not only healthy but whole30 compatible: fresh fruits, nuts, etc.

4) Generation UCAN - I mention this above. This is not Whole30 compatible. So I won't discuss it a ton. But it's my new (last 10 months) fuel of choice for RACE efforts over 4 hours. You can google it for more info on why it may be useful.

How much do I eat a day? How much do I eat on training rides? How much do I eat on races?

  • My daily caloric consumption on an "easy day" is about 1,500 kcals. On a hard day, it's ~2,000 kcals. As I mentioned above my BMR is around 1200kcals, and so I don't need a lot of fuel even when I go out on a hard effort.
  • Training rides under 4 hours... I only drink water.
  • Races under 4 hours -- water + ~200 kCals TOTAL during the race.
  • Races over 4 hours -- water + ~100kCals per hour.
  • Long training efforts at race pace I will treat like races. I will usually use race prep foods as a test for how those foods will work over the distance/effort I am training for.

Your mileage and macronutrients may vary. Good Luck.

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On the Theme of what Brad has been very knowledgeably discussing....

Here is an article.. http://www.freedomsrun.org/Training/TrainingAerobic.aspx

It discusses building your "electric engine"

It's running specific but can and should be adapted to any sport..... My left knee is 3/4 degenerated so long runs are out of the picture if I want to keep the little cartilage I have left. ( I really miss long runs!!!)

But, I apply the articles techniques of building massive stores of cell mitochondria during my " conditioning phase". Then even if I do a three day 14-16 hour per day combat/ fight conference ( trust me they are not for the timid) I have energy to spare while most of the twenty something's are passed out crying for mommy! And I eat relatively little and 100% compliant ....

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Along the lines of the article Fenderbender references. The run I describe above, was at an average HR of 141bpm, even with the faster efforts for the last 3 miles.

I've done metabolic testing for both running and cycling, and so my "zone 2" or "endurance zone" is known to be 137-149bpm. In this zone I'm getting 90% of my fuel as fat.

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  • 3 weeks later...

In layman's terms, can you please explain fat adapted. On a superficial level I understand it from skimming the book. But I need a more elementary explanation to better understand (simply because I like to know) what my body is doing. Thanks.

And, I found your date rolled concoction very interesting. I will not be doing long rides until the weather in my area warms up. But know from my past, I was just always hungry. I guess when the fat adaptive kicks in in my system, this may no longer be the case?

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Here's a good explanation in Layman's terms...

https://www.marksdai...be-fat-adapted/

A fat-burning beast can rely more on fat for energy during exercise, sparing glycogen for when he or she really needs it. As I've discussed before, being able to mobilize and oxidize stored fat during exercise can reduce an athlete's reliance on glycogen. This is the classic “train low, race high†phenomenon, and it can improve performance, save the glycogen for the truly intense segments of a session, and burn more body fat. If you can handle exercising without having to carb-load, you're probably fat-adapted. If you can workout effectively in a fasted state, you're definitely fat-adapted.

Furthermore, a fat-burning beast will be able to burn glucose when necessary and/or available, whereas the opposite cannot be said for a sugar-burner. Ultimately, fat-adaption means metabolic flexibility. It means that a fat-burning beast will be able to handle some carbs along with some fat. A fat-burning beast will be able to empty glycogen stores through intense exercise, refill those stores, burn whatever dietary fat isn't stored, and then easily access and oxidize the fat that is stored when it's needed. It's not that the fat-burning beast can't burn glucose – because glucose is toxic in the blood, we'll always preferentially burn it, store it, or otherwise “handle†it – it's that he doesn't depend on it. I'd even suggest that true fat-adaptation will allow someone to eat a higher carb meal or day without derailing the train. Once the fat-burning machinery has been established and programmed, you should be able to effortlessly switch between fuel sources as needed.

This portion of the article is also very interesting. But you should note that your RQ will change based on the level of exertion. So basically, you may be "fat adapted" to do exercise at a lower level of effort, and as soon as you push harder you begin to become dependent on more and more glycogen.

There's really no “fat-adaptation home test kit.†I suppose you could test your respiratory quotient, which is the ratio of carbon dioxide you produce to oxygen you consume. An RQ of 1+ indicates full glucose-burning; an RQ of 0.7 indicates full fat-burning. Somewhere around 0.8 would probably mean you're fairly well fat-adapted, while something closer to 1 probably means you're closer to a sugar-burner. The obese have higher RQs. Diabetics have higher RQs. Nighttime eaters have higher RQs (and lower lipid oxidation). What do these groups all have in common? Lower satiety, insistent hunger, impaired beta-oxidation of fat, increased carb cravings and intake – all hallmarks of the sugar-burner.
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If you're really into the science behind this, here's a really great presentation by Dr. Peter Attia. It explains how metabolism works in really great detail. And has a lot of detail on fat adaptation.

It also talks about a product that is not Whole30 compatible. But is great for post-Whole30 as it's designed to provide long distance fuel for you once you're fat-adapted.

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Interesting stuff Brad, thanks.

Having trained and raced with Gatorade and gels for years this is all new to me. I moved away from solids because they caused my GI issues (and I learned to "live of the course"). Now it looks like I'm going back to solids, Your dates, while looking tasty, are just too complicated for me. I like to KISS. I'm going to make a simple, compliant trail mix and use bananas. My concern is eating on the fly. I don't like to stop. Ever. It's the racer in me.

Trianinng for a 5+ hour Duathlon (5/30/5/30/5) in May so I've got some time to figure it out.

Thanks again for the insight.

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There's a great quote from someone else on another thread in this forum... it basically was "The best fuel for racing at the 5+ lbs of adipose tissue you carry on your body."

That said... I agree that I ain't stopping in a race to eat. So on the bike or on the run I want food substances that are easy. Trail mix works good for me on the run... but on the bike, it's to complicated, I waste too much. I'd prefer a liquid fuel for the bike, which is why I like Generation UCAN... but it's not Whole30 compatible. The dates I relatively easy to eat on the bike. They can be a little messy, but not too bad, and on the bike, I don't care if my hands get a little messy. I basically wrap them in wax paper so I can pull them out of my jersey pocket or bento box, rip off the wax paper and shove them in my mouth and chew. It's pretty easy on the bike. Prep is really only 3 ingredients... and I can do them a couple days before I need them and store them in the fridge.

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There's a great quote from someone else on another thread in this forum... it basically was "The best fuel for racing at the 5+ lbs of adipose tissue you carry on your body."

That said... I agree that I ain't stopping in a race to eat. So on the bike or on the run I want food substances that are easy. Trail mix works good for me on the run... but on the bike, it's to complicated, I waste too much. I'd prefer a liquid fuel for the bike, which is why I like Generation UCAN... but it's not Whole30 compatible. The dates I relatively easy to eat on the bike. They can be a little messy, but not too bad, and on the bike, I don't care if my hands get a little messy. I basically wrap them in wax paper so I can pull them out of my jersey pocket or bento box, rip off the wax paper and shove them in my mouth and chew. It's pretty easy on the bike. Prep is really only 3 ingredients... and I can do them a couple days before I need them and store them in the fridge.

Ok. you sold me. Do you ship ;)

When I finish W30 on 3/6 I may just go back to Hammer's Perpetuem. I had succes with that and would rather go back to that than Gatorade. Like you I prefer liquids on the bike. I said on another thread, I like figuring this stuff out in traininng. As long as I get right on race day!

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  • 2 weeks later...

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