Struggling after the tea-stop ....



fastcat

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Here in the UK, the tea-stop is a traditional part of the weekend club run.

But I often struggle afterwards with light-headedness and getting back up to speed.

For example, at the weekend we did about 30 miles before stopping and I was going fine at a fairly steady pace at the front of the group A couple of cups of tea, some cake and 20 minutes later we were off again. A few minutes in to the ride (at much the same steady pace as before) I felt light headed and really struggled for the next 10-15 minutes, hanging off the back. After drinking the rest of my energy drink I got through this spell and was okay for the rest of the ride home, but not great.

I think the combination of cooling down, sugary snacks and hot tea (coffee is even worse) isn't working for me - I seem to suffer much more than others I ride with.

So I'm wondering how best to combat this - suggestions welcome !
 

Spunout

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Sep 21, 2005
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If the food is very sugary, you are suffering from an insulin spike. High GI foods cause a sudden increase in insulin, depleting blood glycogen. You mini-bonk before things even back out.

Lay off the simple sugars, have something with a larger portion of complex carbohydrates. Look at a GI scale.
 

fastcat

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Spunout said:
If the food is very sugary, you are suffering from an insulin spike. High GI foods cause a sudden increase in insulin, depleting blood glycogen. You mini-bonk before things even back out.

Lay off the simple sugars, have something with a larger portion of complex carbohydrates. Look at a GI scale.
Thanks - I was wondering about that - so I just borrowed my wife's low GI diet book.....
 

dhk2

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Aug 8, 2006
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fastcat said:
Here in the UK, the tea-stop is a traditional part of the weekend club run.

But I often struggle afterwards with light-headedness and getting back up to speed.

For example, at the weekend we did about 30 miles before stopping and I was going fine at a fairly steady pace at the front of the group A couple of cups of tea, some cake and 20 minutes later we were off again. A few minutes in to the ride (at much the same steady pace as before) I felt light headed and really struggled for the next 10-15 minutes, hanging off the back. After drinking the rest of my energy drink I got through this spell and was okay for the rest of the ride home, but not great.

I think the combination of cooling down, sugary snacks and hot tea (coffee is even worse) isn't working for me - I seem to suffer much more than others I ride with.

So I'm wondering how best to combat this - suggestions welcome !
I had these symptoms many years ago, confirmed by a glucose-tolerance test as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). My doctor then advised a protein breakfast with some fat; ie, egg and cheese or meat, and of course avoidance of sugar and starch on an empty stomach. Protein and fat seem to "buffer" the insulin response.

Not familar with the choices in a british tea shop, but perhaps you could substitute a low-sugar biscuit or scone with clotted cream or cheese. A bagel and cream cheese would be good if those are served.

I can tolerate sugar pretty well now in the middle of a tough ride, but I don't do well on too much Gatorade during a long ride or century event.

My favorite rest stop snack is a packet of cheese or peanut butter crackers; these are sold everywhere here. Chocolate milk and V8 (tomato/veg juice) have become a popular drinks here, particularly for those who don't tolerate the sugary sport drinks.
 

fastcat

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1963 said:
I assume you mean 'too much caffiene' ?

I've thought this too, as the response seems worse if I have a coffee than if I have tea .... don't really understand why though, given that a cup of coffee before a ride with breakfast doesn't have any adverse effect, but once at the cafe after a couple of hours riding a snack + tea or coffee is having a dramatic effect.

Whereas if I don't stop, but carry on cycling (but continue to drink energy drink whilst cycling) I don't seem to get the effect ....
 

j.r.hawkins

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Jan 13, 2007
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How much sugar in the coffee or tea?

Caffeine has apparently been shown to improve fat metabolism by up to 8% during aerobic activity and, interestingly, on my morning commute my average speed is about that much higher (on the basis of comparable uninterupted runs). I don't have a citation to hand for that, perhaps another poster could help or you could do a google on caffeine and sports performance. I doubt the caffeine is the issue.

If you have simple sugars before exercising you need to wait 30 minutes before commencing or you will get a spike followed by a crash (as in feeling like [email protected] - "bonking"). Low GI carb-rich foods are best. Bananas are excellent as are Weetbix (an Oz breakfast cereal), oats (porridge), wholemeal bread and rice, whole corn, pasta, dried fruit.

I don't use sports drinks on work-bound my ride as I get the same result as after your teastop - I feel absolutely awful almost immediately - but at lower intensities down in the fatburning zone on longer rides I suspect it might be different.
 

dhk2

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Read years ago that caffeine stimulates the production of insulin. Brewed coffee typically has about twice the caffeine of tea (ie, 100mg vs 50 mg/cup). Insulin is what triggers movement of glycogen from the blood stream into the working muscle cells; a good thing unless it causes blood concentrations to drop. If I recall, 100 mg/DL of blood is normal; around 60 the classic bonk symptoms show up; and below 40 becomes very bad news.

Don't know how hard you're going on the club rides, but intensity above the lactate threshold (where anaerobic pathways start to become important) is supposed to burn glycogen much faster than moderate aerobic efforts. If you're riding hard at the front, you may be low on energy after 30 miles. Suggestion would be to start consuming sport drink or snacks earlier in the ride. Perhaps every 10-15 minutes right from the start, have a good swig of sports drink or small snack to maintain your sugar levels better. Also, sitting in the pack more should help conserve glycogen....the old "conservation of energy" theory.

Also would try to eat a high-carb meal the night before the ride, and then a better breakfast with some protein and fat (and carbs) . Also, believe the more aerobic endurance riding you do the better your body will get at "staying aerobic", and generating and sustaining a good blood glycogen level.
 

ric_stern/RST

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fastcat said:
Thanks guys - some food for thought there. ;)

The obvious answer is to not bother stopping for a tea-stop. I used to have *exactly* the same issue as you (blood is being diverted to your gut to cope with the food; and is thus being reduced from where it needs to go - your legs).

Consequently, apart from the odd social ride (i.e., NOT training rides) i don't bother stopping (other than to pee, or buy some food or drinks from a newsagent to eat during my very long rides). I get much better quality training done this way.

Ric
 

rmur17

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ric_stern/RST said:
The obvious answer is to not bother stopping for a tea-stop. I used to have *exactly* the same issue as you (blood is being diverted to your gut to cope with the food; and is thus being reduced from where it needs to go - your legs).

Consequently, apart from the odd social ride (i.e., NOT training rides) i don't bother stopping (other than to pee, or buy some food or drinks from a newsagent to eat during my very long rides). I get much better quality training done this way.

Ric
I've told the guys here it's against my religion to stop unless absolutely necessary :). I've taken to being my own domestique with two large bottles on the bike and two in the rear jersey/jacket pockets. That plus 2-3 gels is normally enough for 4-5hrs.
 

fastcat

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ric_stern/RST said:
The obvious answer is to not bother stopping for a tea-stop. I used to have *exactly* the same issue as you (blood is being diverted to your gut to cope with the food; and is thus being reduced from where it needs to go - your legs).

Consequently, apart from the odd social ride (i.e., NOT training rides) i don't bother stopping (other than to pee, or buy some food or drinks from a newsagent to eat during my very long rides). I get much better quality training done this way.

Ric
I agree Ric - not stopping would make much more sense from a training perspective....it's a bit of a balance as I do enjoy the social side of the ride as well as the training (unstructured though a group ride certainly is ....)
 

ric_stern/RST

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fastcat said:
I agree Ric - not stopping would make much more sense from a training perspective....it's a bit of a balance as I do enjoy the social side of the ride as well as the training (unstructured though a group ride certainly is ....)

i don't know how your training and week is laid out, but off the top of my head...

1) if you ride two consecutive weekend days maybe have one as the social/easier ride and one as proper training
2) ride with everyone to the cafe stop and then train by yourself
3) maybe have one social ride every X weeks and the other rides are quality efforts
4) train better, get home earlier and then meet up for a social later in the day/week

of course, you may not want to lose your social ride... so ignore the above!

ric