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Nutrition for Long-ish rides

sjclarksjclark Posts: 64
I realise that there are quite a few posts on this topic but none of them seem to reflect the experiences I have had recently.

I rode the 185km version of the White Rose Challenge on Sunday and had an absolute nightmare of a time with my nutrition. Here's how it went:
- Up to 45 miles - fine. Drinking plenty (of High Five 4:1) and eating Torq bars
- At 45 miles, the leg cramps begin to kick in. So I back off the pace and put some more effort into drinking.
- By 80 miles (Malham), the leg cramps have subsided to be replaced by stomach cramps that left me doubled up in pain and belching like I have never done before.
- The last 35 miles were spent "surviving" (I walked up Lanbar!). I eventually finished in a time of 10hrs 30 mins. However (according to my computer) only 9hrs 15mins was actually spent cycling.

This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. In an effort to beat leg cramp, I end up with stomach cramp. I also tend to bonk after 45-50 miles if I don't get some food / drink down me.

It has now got to the point where I don't think I will bother entering any more long Sportives and just go for the short / medium courses until I can sort this.

Anyone got any advice on how to beat this?

Thanks in advance

Steve

Posts

  • Homer JHomer J Posts: 932
    edited June 2009
    Are you having a decent meal before you ride? Sounds like you are lacking in calories. Or getting them in too late
    Might be a reaction to high 5?
  • Chaz.HardingChaz.Harding Posts: 3,228
    Take on protein and carbs pre-ride.

    Eat more carbs and protein during ride. Every other hour, smash down a protein shake. You can buy the sachets, so isn't really a problem.

    All the ELECTORLYTE drink you can stomach, mixed strong. Sounds like you are doing it though.

    Keep eating flap-jacks, banana's, sandwhich's - anything you can eat. More carbs and protein in, the better.

    Afterwards, a big dose of protein and carbs. Recovery drinks or body-builing protein is good. Milk too, actually, but you need alot (minimum 1 litre).

    And arguably, most importantly,


















    *****TRAIN!!!!*****

    :twisted: :wink:
    Boo-yah mofo
    Sick to the power of rad
    Fix it 'till it's broke
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    sjclark wrote:
    I realise that there are quite a few posts on this topic but none of them seem to reflect the experiences I have had recently.

    [..ouchie story of pain..]

    This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. In an effort to beat leg cramp, I end up with stomach cramp. I also tend to bonk after 45-50 miles if I don't get some food / drink down me.

    Anyone got any advice on how to beat this?

    Steve,

    If your feeding schedule doesn't work...then change it.

    Go on some long training rides at a similar pace to your sportives and see if you can get past the 50 mile mark feeling good.

    Next time, skip the high 5 and drink nuun tablet water or some other electrolyte stuff with minimal carbs

    Also before you begin the event try and take on some "low impact" food. I find that a lucazade sport 30 minutes before go works for me. It doesn't have much in it (32g of carbs per 500ml bottle) but means you start in a good way

    Torq bars contain approx 30g of carbs. Try and eat 2 1/2 of them per hour. Or given that Torq bars are potentially part of the problem, try something else instead

    bananas :) contain just under 30g of carbs. Well, it depends how big the banana is
    jam sandwiches are good
    malt loaf is good
    I am a big fan of home made flapjack. It might be a bit fatty for sportives however.
    There are zillions of brands of energy gel
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    sjclark wrote:
    I realise that there are quite a few posts on this topic but none of them seem to reflect the experiences I have had recently.

    I rode the 185km version of the White Rose Challenge on Sunday and had an absolute nightmare of a time with my nutrition. Here's how it went:
    - Up to 45 miles - fine. Drinking plenty (of High Five 4:1) and eating Torq bars
    - At 45 miles, the leg cramps begin to kick in. So I back off the pace and put some more effort into drinking.
    - By 80 miles (Malham), the leg cramps have subsided to be replaced by stomach cramps that left me doubled up in pain and belching like I have never done before.
    - The last 35 miles were spent "surviving" (I walked up Lanbar!). I eventually finished in a time of 10hrs 30 mins. However (according to my computer) only 9hrs 15mins was actually spent cycling.

    This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. In an effort to beat leg cramp, I end up with stomach cramp. I also tend to bonk after 45-50 miles if I don't get some food / drink down me.

    It has now got to the point where I don't think I will bother entering any more long Sportives and just go for the short / medium courses until I can sort this.

    Anyone got any advice on how to beat this?

    Thanks in advance

    Steve

    So up to 45 miles you are WELL HYDRATED and WELL FED but you still get cramps. Doesn't this suggest that hydration/food is NOT the cause of the cramps?

    You then back off the pace i.e you have dropped your power and the cramps go. In other words the cramps are a product of the power you are trying to produce. You weren't fit enough to ride at the level you desired so as the poster above suggests 'train' might be the easy answer.


    Something that works for me (so please take with a pinch of salt) when I do 50 mile rides now, I try to eat as little as possible. When I now do longer rides I don't need to eat as much as I used to. So have you been training yourself to get by on a limited amount of food?
  • sjclarksjclark Posts: 64
    Thanks for all of the input here...

    Reading this and speaking to a couple of other cyclists, I had also come round to the conclusion that I needed to drop some of the High 5 in favour of something like Nuun to sort out the hydration. I think that I can then use food (not drink) to keep the carbs up (although I really can't get on with bananas ;-( )

    I also accept that it may be a fitness issue. Whilst I virtually never get cramp when training even when going over 50 miles, this may be down to not working as hard as I do on a sportive - that obviously needs to change!

    Thanks for all of the help.

    Steve
  • NackNack Posts: 61
    By 80 miles (Malham), the leg cramps have subsided to be replaced by stomach cramps that left me doubled up in pain and belching like I have never done before.

    I used to experience the exact same thing during longer sportives - I'd feel really fine for the first 50 - 60 miles, then I'd start feeling terrible, stomach cramps, belching, etc... I used to ride with two bottles, one with plain water and the other one holding some energy drink (tried different ones, including the SIS stuff). Recently I decided not to carry any energy drinks with me, just carry water and rely on food provided at food stops and I felt much better: all the pain gone, could ride much longer and much faster too! I was just using water to hydrate/rehydrate myself. For the Tilff Bastogne Tilff sportive (250 km), that 'strategy' worked a treat - also carried dry apricots on the day and that worked very well.

    Cutting energy drinks whilst riding might not work for you, but I thought I'd mention it anyway as it made a huge difference to me.
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