Windy Rides


New Member
Oct 4, 2005
Whenever I do a long ride 75 miles or more I get really bad wind, not just a lot of farting but agonising trapped wind to the point where I can't straighten up.

I initially thought it was my stomach reacting to gels so swapped brands but stilll happened. I stopped using gels altogether and I still get it.

Someone suggested that my usual Pasta carb load the night before could have too much fat so I stick to Tomato sauces rather than cream or cheese sauces, no joy there either.

My breakfast prior to starting a long ride is a bowl of oats with raisins, a banana and an oat bar or power bar. Although I've previously had bagels, croissant, toast and cereal for breakfast in an attempt to identify a cause but still get the problem.

The only constant is Gatorade but I discounted that as a cause when I was in Europe last year and could only get Isostar or Water, it was so bad that I had to stop 8 or 9 times on the way up Alpe D'Huez as the pain from the trapped wind was unbearable.

Days where I do shorter rides I don't get it and if I have a day off I don't get it, only when I get over 75 (ish) miles.

Once I've finished riding it normally takes about an hour of spectacular comedy farts to get back to normal.

Does anybody of any ideas of the cause or even a cure?
At least for me, oats and raisins are big "wind" culprits. They taste great and provide great energy...but oh boy do they give me gas. I get bad gas from clif bars as a result...and since they are my favorite ride food...that often means bad gas on the bike. When i begin to feel it, I often find that alternating between standing and sitting helps move it to the point where I can "pass it."
from what i've read, the cause of wind is usually undigested food that passes into the gut and gets broken down by bacteria, which produces the gas. this is normally due to eating more that necessary, i.e. the body can only digest so many Calories per hour (and this diminishes when the body is under load from exercise).

additionally, certain carbs are easier to process than others. a lot of the cheaper energy drinks tend to use a high proportion of simple sugar (glucose and fructose). simple sugar is fine in low quantity (or during pre/post ride) and to get 100 Cal per 500ml, the manufacturer tend to put a lot more simple sugar compared to complex carb (e.g. maltodextrin). a simple tell-tale of this is the sickly sweetness of the drink. most of the time, the simple sugar doesn't get digested and gets broken down by bacteria in the gut causing gastrointestinal distress (i.e. gas). some manufacturer say a 100% maltodextrin energy drink is not as good as a drink that uses both simple and complex carbs. i'm no scientist so i won't comment on that.

by the way, is your breakfast 3 hours prior to the ride? you have described quite a lot of food for a breakfast, which is fine if allowed to digest properly. i normally have a light breakfast (e.g. 3/4 cup of muesli with yoghurt = 400 Cal) if i don't get 3 hours to digest.

best thing to do is to experiment with different brands of energy drink/gel, look at the ingredient label to see what type of sugar is used and consume the right amount. one thing i find that helps when i get gas is to stop, get off the bike and let it rip! thankfully, it's a very rare occurrence.

Something else to consider is your position on the bike. I've noticed that I tend to get more G.I. problems if I am in the drops for extended periods of time - such as days when I must fight a strong wind on exposed terrain. Try finding your ideal position as well as nailing down a "safe" meal strategy.
Thanks for the advice, playing with different diet strategies, I think the problem might be either eating too much or too soon before riding, Position doesn't appear to be a problem.

Trouble is If I'm going for a long ride then I need to start off around 6am otherwise it gets too hot, so to eat 3-4 hours before the ride then I'm going to be getting up between 2am & 3am, that's not going to work. I was thinking I might have a bigger meal later in the evening and skip breakfast and then just eat a Powerbar before I start riding and then Granola bars when I need them.

I cut out Gels last weekend but that didn't make a difference.
I would have to guess that there are several things working together to cause the problem as most of the steps you've taken seem to be offering little relief. One thing many people overlook and most people should consider is the effect of dairy. I'm not sure of your ethnic background but world-wide, Caucasian whites are a bit of abnormality in their ability to digest milk as adults. A look at world populations reveals that most of the world is lactose intolerant and one of the prime symptoms is gas. It's potentially a part of your problem. Perhaps after your 75-mile barrier, your body, for whatever reason, loses it's ability to produce lactase, leaving the unprocessed milk sugar to cause gastric problems. Just one more of the many places to look.