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Calorie confusion

davej100davej100 Posts: 2
A friend of mine is competing on the Fred Whitton challenge in May. He has done the Etape Cymru for the past three years but the Fred is a few steps up for him and we are trying to work out his fuelling needs for the event. He trains at much shorter distances so we don't have much experience to go on. The only guide we have as to how many calories he uses is his Endomondo stats which I have read elsewhere are considered by many to be of a dubious accuracy. On a recent training run Endomondo showed a distance of 22miles, a climb of 3500ft (we know this is wrong and should be 2500ft) and a calorie consumption of 1600 calories. Allowing for the over-estimation of climb the calories should maybe be around 1200. The distance of the Fred is 5x this and the climb 4x this so an estimate of approaching 6000 calories is indicated by Endomondo.
Now I know that the general guide is 1g of carbs per hour per kg of body mass. My friend is around 63kg so 63g of carb per hour for an estimated 10 hour (possibly 9) is 630g of carb for the whole event. Now 1g of carb = 4 calories so 630 x 4 = 2520 calories for whole event. Somewhat different to the 6000 cals predicted by Endomondo.

Also I find conflicts in information. On the British Cycling website under the "Event Day Nutrition" for sportives it states the 1g of carb per 1 kg of body mass per hour guide but a few sentences later states that the body can only process 60g of carb per hour. How do riders weighing more than 60kg survive?

I suppose basically I am asking for opinions on how many calories a 63kg person of medium to good fitness would consume riding at a steady pace on a 112mile event with 4000m (12000ft) of climbing. I know weather conditions would prove a factor but just looking for a ball park figure based on anyone's personal experiences.

Thanks guys


  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    That is definitely over estimating.

    It's tricky in cycling to be 100% sure of calorie burn but it's not even 1200 I think.

    If I run it's about 100 calories per mile. A 22 mile ride is nowhere near the equivalent of a 12 mile run.

    I'd not get too hung up on theoretical nutrition. Your mate needs to be out and building up his mileages.
    Set an alarm for every 20 mins to take a swig of energy drink or a bite of a bar and he won't go far wrong.

    He needs to practice this on his long bikes.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I'm a bit confused by what you're calculating.

    Calories burned is one thing and about 600kCals per hour isn't a bad estimate - maybe a bit less for lighter riders going on the slower side.

    That said, on a long ride, you're never going to be able to cope with taking on board the calories you've burned. But you don't need to as some will be fuelled from fat of which we all have plenty.

    The trick is not to let your glycogen/blood glucose levels drop too low (the infamous Bonk) - that's where the 60g of carbs comes in. Provided you keep yourself topped up, you'll be fine because having enough glycogen/glucose will ensure you can burn fat to fill the gap. Also, ensuring, before the ride, that your glycogen stores are fully topped up (eat well the two days before the event) will give you a head start. Long very steady rides also apparently help your body adapt to fat burning allowing you to rely more on that source.
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  • dw300dw300 Posts: 1,642
    Tell him to carb up and get well hydrated in the 2-3 days prior to the event, to make sure he's not running on fumes on the start line. He'll have 1000-1500kcals on board to begin, say half of the ride energy comes from fat, and then just try to bang in as much of the 60g/hr during the ride as possible.
    All the above is just advice .. you can do whatever the f*ck you wana do!
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