Thursday, July 31, 2008

Something to think about


In my first Ride to Cure, I wasn't thinking much about nutrition and food (mostly, just quick acting carbohydrates for blood glucose levels). It is listed right up there at the top of my many mistakes before doing a century ride in extreme conditions (which, just so happens, a few of you will be doing next weekend!).

So, take this as what it is, simply: a non-professional cyclists food advice.

Eat a mix of food offered on the course. Do not stick with one thing. Be sure to eat those peanut butter and jelly sandwich halves at each stop. The shot-blocks and clif bars, and what not are good for a quick pick me up, but you really need some slow/complex food to digest. I'm not talking oats and granola. I'm talking small amounts of carbs w/ protein of some sort. Remember this at mile 67 - peanut butter sandwich is your friend! They have them out there for a reason.

Same goes for the drinks... don't just keep consuming energy drinks all day. Give your body some plain old water as well. A good routine might be water during riding time and energy drink at the stopping points. (a little shout out to our team sponsor here: XS Energy Drinks! - love 'em, just not ALL the time).

Even if you don't follow my advice, be sure you have a good plan of how you are going to handle food while you are riding on the course. 100 miles takes a while and your body needs nutrition.

Like I said, I had not thought about it much before my first century attempt in Death Valley and by mile 60, my stomach was a mess and the fast carbs were flying through me because I didn't have any of the slower digesting foods in my body. I paid a lot more attention to what I was eating on my 2nd attempt and feel those little peanut butter & jelly sandwich halves were the thing that got me through (ok, to mile 87).

I'd like to hear comments from other veteran riders about what you ate on the course when you rode. Mistakes you made?


ZipMike said...

Great article Katie, I was thinking about the same thing on Sunday when I ran out of gas. I don't remember them having PB&J at the stops - I need to pay more attention.
My past mistakes revolve around dehydration. Last year was better, but I still think I didn't drink enough (not enough for me being 2 - 3 bottles between stops.) Not having enough is physically and mentally bad. I get really grouchy and tired of the ride when I'm not taking enough.
This year I plan on getting a water bladder in addition to the 2 bottles I normally carry. I'll also have the powder of my fav drink, so I can fill up with water and have what I like available. (Last year they had a drink I didn't care for.)
My advice would be to strictly follow the coaches advice in regard to water. They aren't being dramatic. Drink a lot the day before, make sure you need to use the bathroom at every stop. Eat something with some salt to retain it (chips, pretzels, etc.)
You may have to pee behind a bush at some point, but that's way better than getting the free ride back!

Tom & Mary Scheidel said...

Hydration is very important. On long rides (60+ miles) I use a Camelback and two water bottles. One bottle has a sports drink, the other has plain water. The advantage of this is that, in a place like Death Valley, I can use the water in the bottle to pour ON my body to keep cool and still have plenty to drink in the Camelback. I've also noticed the Camelback water stays cooler longer than the water in the bottles.

For me protein is important. I eat a good sized breakfast with eggs, bacon, fruit, maybe some cheese and pastry/bread. I also have coffee and juice and sometimes milk. This may sound like a lot, but I have found if I eat a large breakfast I can snack at lunch and then eat a big dinner. This works for cycling, hiking or even sight seeing. As we ride I eat the power bars, energy bars, bananas, pbj, chips, etc.
During the DV ride I really try to follow Coach Mike's advice at the breaks, "Eat, refill, pee and back in the saddle."

club-velo said...

Good advice here, from veteran riders. The weather forecast for the Asheville area next week is for temps in the mid to upper 90's and high humidity so hydration for our Asheville squad will be EVERY bit as critical as it always is for the DV team. You're gonna want to start hydrating from the momement you arrive down there....'cuz if you wait 'til Saturday morning it might be hard to keep up. The "good" news about riding in heat AND humidity is that it's easy to be conscious of the need for fluids, since you're sweating like a pig. (I meant that in the nicest way!)Besides...we know humid, yes?

It can be touhg to find anything that sounds good to eat when it's real hot.....but you need the calories so be sure to have learned what you can stomach no matter how hot you are. I like fruit, PB & J, cookies and such far better than all the fancy energy food but that's just me. The real problem w/ taking nutritional advice from anyine else is that we are all so different. There are the basic "rules" but within those rules there's a whole lotta latitude! There's no substitute for first-hand knowledge!'s a good excuse to eat cookies!

Nicole said...

Listen to your body. If you're thirsty, you're already on the way to being dehydrated. Imagine Rob Andro wearing pink bunny ears and shouting "DRINKING!" in the pace line behind you, giggle, then take a drink too. Someone once told me, "You shouldn't ever feel thirsty."

Like Tom, I wear a Camebak and carry two bottles with me on Ride day (and, on the longest training rides too). I just about drain that Camelbak between each stop--and I am 100% convinced that is why I've been able to get through DV twice. I like having the little tube thing right there by my face to drink, rather than having to reach down for the bottle every time. Frankly, I drink more if it's more accessible.

I'm not scientific about my mix of water/Gatorade/salt tabs/etc. I drink a mix of all, and it seems to work for me (I know some riders have it down to a percentage of each. Maybe I should look into that.).

I like Katie's encouragement of the pb&j on the course. They are really great--fast sugar in the jelly, protein in the pb, and slow carbs in the bread. Plus, it's just sorta...comfort food, when you're in the middle of doing something that at times isn't very comfortable.

One last least for me...consider avoiding the Subway sandwiches. My body rejects cold cuts after 60+ miles of riding, and yours may too. I've tried each of my two rides to have a one for lunch--and my tummy hated me about 5 miles later each time. If you had something working well for you in those first 60 miles, it might be best to just stick with that plan of action for the home stretch.

Rob A said...

E-tabs, e-tabs, e-tabs...I never use them unless 100+ miles is on the agenda, but they have become a staple. Sean Geary suggested them to me on my first DV trip and they saved me. The pb&j's are a great idea too, but I try to eat half-a-sandwich at every other rest stop. Other than that, stick what wat you know your body likes!