Long Haul Journeys & Carb Loading



LukeSidney

New Member
Dec 17, 2010
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Hello all, looking for a bit of advise.
I am planning on doing a 250mile cycle for charity this summer, opting on doing 50 miles a day (Not much I know) but as it is from where I live to Lands End in the UK then there are going to be a lot of hills!
Traditionally when I go for smaller cycles I haven't had any problems with eating before hand or running out of energy, the most I have cycled in a day is about 60 miles.
However, if I am doing this in a matter of days/ a week, I need to know what to eat exactly.
Now I know Carbs are a must, but when to take them is what I am wondering? Would using the Carb loading method that starts 1 week before the event to build up glycogen in your muscles be best, or are there other methods that you recommend?
Also concerning electrolyte replenishment are there any products that you really recommend?
Also during the cycle are there any energy (aka glucose) products you also recommend?
I hope you can help!
 

MMMhills

Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2010
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This is a tough question to answer as everyone has there own fitness level. Temperature and humidity will also play in to the equation. Some people would not be able to make that trip and then there are some that could do it with no training or special foods at all.

You stated that you had done a 60 mile ride so you should know how your body will handle the 50 mile rides. Before the event you need to do 3 days of 50-60 miles in a row to see how your body will deal with that. Multiple day rides will add extra fatigue. I find that after three days your body gets in groove and the days actually seem to get easier.

I would not worry about carb loading or anything special just eat healthy before and during the event. I personally love Hammer Products and they make more than you will need for that ride. Follow this link to their website and read. They have lots of information about fuels and supplements that will help you answer your questions about what to eat during the ride. Again everyone is different but you know your body better than us.

last but not least don't worry about it and enjoy the ride, multi day tours are a blast and a great way to meet new friends.
 

kerri38846

New Member
Apr 4, 2011
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I did a solo trip across Canada averaging about 70 miles a day for several weeks in close to 100 degree heat the entire time and didn't do anything special before or during and certainly didn't do gels or Gatorade that would have thrown my blood sugar for a tailspin and would have likely caused severe fatigue. I just brought and ate FOOD. Just real food. In the entire time, I would eat before riding and when I needed it on the road and I did fine. Nothing special, no carb loading, drank beer at the end of the day and didn't worry about it. What I DIDN'T do was drink sugary drinks and eat sugar filled gels before or during rides, and I suspect that probably contributed to my lack of problems the entire trip.
 
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swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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I wouldnt stress to hard about all of this. Just eat what you normally eat and just take a couple of bottles of carbohydrate drink with you for the ride. SiS (Science in Sport) have products that are readily available at most good bike shops overthere. They do one drink that's a mix between carb and electrolytes and one that's just carbs only. Either will work for what you're doing.

You might want to take some food to nibble on while you ride. Bananas are good - and come in an easy to open biodegradable wrapper ;) Those little red boxes of Sun Maid Raisins are convenient to snack on too. Peanut butter and jam sarnies... Mmmmm. Low tech, high calories and protien and tasty. Avoid chocolatey stuff as it will melt and the last thing you probably want midway through a ride is melted Milky Way over your mitts and handlebar tape - and give anything that's dry a miss. Nothing worse than trying to choke down something that saps the last remaining moisture out of your mouth while you're riding.

Carb loading - not really applicable for what you want to do. Also, I'd avoid the binge feeding on massive amounts of pasta the night before too - something that seems popular with most folk. You only really need massive amounts of food if you've used up massive amounts of calories and do you really want that much stodge sitting in your gut until you take an enormo-dump? No... didn't think so. ;)
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by kerri38846 .

I did a solo trip across Canada averaging about 70 miles a day for several weeks in close to 100 degree heat the entire time and didn't do anything special before or during and certainly didn't do gels or Gatorade that would have thrown my blood sugar for a tailspin and would have likely caused severe fatigue. I just brought and ate FOOD. Just real food. In the entire time, I would eat before riding and when I needed it on the road and I did fine. Nothing special, no carb loading, drank beer at the end of the day and didn't worry about it. What I DIDN'T do was drink sugary drinks and eat sugar filled gels before or during rides, and I suspect that probably contributed to my lack of problems the entire trip.

Kerri Knox, RN
Functional Medicine Practitioner
I have Kaiser - so I'm only familiar with the non-functional medicine. What is this "functional medicine" that you speak of?
 

jpr95

Well-Known Member
Oct 11, 2010
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I just finished a (second time) 7-day, 360-mile tour. Most days were 50-60 miles, with one 70-miler and one 22-mile day (last day, kind of ceremonial). Anyway, my approach is this:

1. I only drink Gatorade while I ride. If I'm putting something in my stomach, it better have calories in it. If I'm drinking the right amount of fluids in the form of Gatorade, it's also about the right amount of calories per hour, but I keep some gel chews with me just in case I start to bonk.
2. I don't snack much while I ride. Sometimes I'll have a banana at a SAG stop.
3. I eat a relatively normal lunch. For a little while before and a little while after lunch, I find myself lacking in energy
4. About an hour before I ride, I eat a large breakfast with a mix of simple and complex carbs and protein. Any fat is incidental.
5. When the day's ride is over, I munch non-stop until I go to sleep, except for the time when I'm having a large supper.

I figure I probably eat/drink at least twice what I normally do while I'm on this tour. Even more fluids if it's hotter, and even more food if it's cool.

Jason