Eating & Drinking in preparation for a 50 miler ?

JimmyK Posts: 712
edited September 2008 in Workshop
Before Id go out on a 50 miler, I always eat some high carbohydrate food like cereal or baked spuds and high calorie nosh like peanut butter etc, I drink a fair bit of water to hydrate myself before I go also. I keep my water bottle on my bike filled with gatorade and have a bottle of gatorade and a bottle of water in the back pocket of my jersey. I also keep a banana too ,

I find that my legs are fine but seem to hit a brick wall around the 40 mile mark. The course I was out on today is a toughie, plenty of uphills to deal with around the Downpatrick, Ballynahinch and Saintfield areas. On the flats there are no issues, but once another incline has to be tackled, the driving force in my legs is weakened . Heartrate nor breathing is affected negligibly, its just the leg muscles arent producing anywhere near as much turning power.

I dont stop for breaks or anything, I just get on the bike and go , though today I had to stop and eat the spare banana I brought. What changes should I make to what I am eating and drinking that will spread the power my legs can generate over the duration of the 50 miles ? On a more level 50 mile course, there wouldnt be any problems, but todays course was a hard one with too many bl00dy climbs :wink:



  • richa
    richa Posts: 1,632
    IMO it doesn't sound like a nutrition issue. Could you just be going out a little too hard and running out of steam?
  • Are you "over thinking" the challenge?

    It's easy to get hung up on one part of your excursion: in this case you may have a subliminal block about climbing. Try breaking the ride into smaller sections with a conscious slow down or rest stop between each section.

    Also try riding in company - inevitably there will be some competition which will distract your legs from the hills...
  • simbil1
    simbil1 Posts: 620

    If you are interested in more structured training, you will be able to sort out your energy problems. It's often the case that a cyclist will cycle quite hard on every ride they do and this does little to develop your aerobic base. With a good aerobic base your body will metabolise fat more effectively and you will not get as hungry.
    The other thing is to pull back the pace between climbs - get a full recovery between each effort and you will be able to go for longer. Also consider spinning up the hills and conserving energy rather than attacking the hills - save the attacks for the end of the ride.

    Personally, I don't take energy drinks on training rides as I think the readily available energy will get the body out of the habit of metabolising fat.
  • JimmyK
    JimmyK Posts: 712
    i appreciate the posts guys

    what do you think of this idea , the roads i was on are very much flat, incline, flat, steep incline, flat, incline and so on, there are very very few sections that are coasting declines. the 5 mile section to home is reasonably flat and good speeds can be obtained there , only snag is that the toll of all the uphill gradients before it tends to sap the power from my legs by that stage.

    if i set my cateye strada to the average speed setting and was careful not to push beyond 17 mph average , with the obvious exceptions of the few downhill sections where little effort will achieve up to 26 mph with negligible effort on my behalf. with all those ups to come , i think the average speed by the time i hit the last stretch where i can gun it will be in the 17.0 to 17.5 mph range and ( in theory ) my fresher legs would allow me to add that remaining 1.5 mph to that total and hit a respectable 19 mph average for the 50 mile journey.

    is this a feasible plan or one likely to die on its @rse ? 19 mph average aint a problem on less leg draining rides, but i so want to achieve it on the 50 mile downpatrick ride which is a total bastid.

  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    I'm not sure what you have against stopping and eating something. You carry a banana,
    so why not eat it. Even if you don't stop. 50 miles is a bit of a distance and takes time
    (2 1/2 hours - give or take a bit - on a good day). You seem to not want ot eat for some reason and I don't follow your reasoning. Why not eat something? I don't know too many people who ride 50 miles or more and don't at least "do a gel shot" or eat part of an
    energy bar. Keeps the energy up so when you start getting to the end you don't have a slight bonk problem. Or run out of gas. Whatever you want to call it. Why wouldn't you eat something?

    Dennis Noward
  • JimmyK
    JimmyK Posts: 712
    when i stop , i find i can feel it in my thighs getting heavy , just like if you stop in the middle of a jog . i also find that i lose my rhythm , if im going to eat something, i prefer to eat it on the move to be honest.

  • simon_e
    simon_e Posts: 1,706
    This article might help. Written for MTBers but the same rules apply.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • JimmyK wrote:
    if i set my cateye strada to the average speed setting and was careful not to push beyond 17 mph average , with the obvious exceptions of the few downhill sections where little effort will achieve up to 26 mph with negligible effort on my behalf. with all those ups to come

    Try this: don't take your comp with you next time.

    I used to row a lot. Despite being 6'3" of skinny feck, I always used to surprise crewmates with an ability to keep on going and going and going until the ergo tests because the bloody LCD display was staring me in the face.

    Every little change in average speed was blinking away, telling me how unlikely I was to make selection, so I'd start trying harder instead of relaxing into it and I'd row worse which would make me tense and my speed dropped so I'd try harder and row worse...

    One day, I just covered the display up and had a mate let me know when my 7 mins 30 seconds (or whatever the limit was) was up. Previously, I'd always scored really badly / missed selection criteria / felt like sh#t. That day - and all days thereafter - I exceeded the distance I needed to travel and felt better at the end.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is.... feel the force.