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What to eat on an 8+ hour ride

dstev55dstev55 Posts: 742
edited May 2016 in Road general
Hi all,

Doing the Peak Epic in a couple of weeks where it's likely I'll be on the bike for over 8 hours. Obviously gels along are not going to keep me fueled for the day. I'm lucky in that my mum and step dad want to come and watch me at some point so I'm planning on getting them to come to the 2nd feed station where I'll stop and have something proper to eat. Any suggestions on what best to prepare to keep me properly fueled until the end? My first instinct is to go with what I take to work which are chicken and spinach wholemeal thins but not sure if this will be right half way through a bike ride???
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  • grenwgrenw Posts: 799
    Whenever I've ridden that far the key has been variety.

    Banana and nutella sarnies plus a variety of energy bars. I particularly like the Powerbar wafers for this sort of ride as they are just like a normal biccy. Stuff like dried fruit and nuts and jelly babies are also nice to snack on. Tend to eat pretty much every hour and not much at a time. One small roll or one bar, that sort of thing. Mind you by the end I'm often craving savoury food so maybe it would work.

    Gels, for me, are for emergencies or an end of ride burst.
  • AK_jnrAK_jnr Posts: 717
    Cheese finger rolls cut up in small pieces.
    Same with flapjack

    I definitely need sweet and savoury on a ride of that length.
  • _Jon__Jon_ Posts: 366
    I always take flapjack on long rides.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Bento box on the top tube. Flap jack bites in there.
    Stopping and having a big feed will make it hard to get going again.
  • dstev55dstev55 Posts: 742
    cougie wrote:
    Bento box on the top tube. Flap jack bites in there.
    Stopping and having a big feed will make it hard to get going again.

    Not really, I only see it the same as having the usual coffee shop stop on a Sunday. I'll be stopping anyway regardless as my body won't cope with being on the bike for 8 hours.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,877
    You can't eat very much at the feed stops... I generally grab 2-3 flapjacks, all I can stomach. During the Fred Whitton I ate 4 flapjacks, half a sandwich, 3 Clif bars that I had in my pockets and went through 6 gels... I also had energy drink in one of my water bottle. Just about enough.
    Breakfast is key... avoid anything sugary, including cereals and muesli... try weetabix or a lot of porridge if you have time to cook... if you can eat 1000 calories of breakfast early, you are on a good path
  • dstev55dstev55 Posts: 742
    You can't eat very much at the feed stops... I generally grab 2-3 flapjacks, all I can stomach. During the Fred Whitton I ate 4 flapjacks, half a sandwich, 3 Clif bars that I had in my pockets and went through 6 gels... I also had energy drink in one of my water bottle. Just about enough.
    Breakfast is key... avoid anything sugary, including cereals and muesli... try weetabix or a lot of porridge if you have time to cook... if you can eat 1000 calories of breakfast early, you are on a good path

    Thanks, I have porridge before every morning ride, so that is something I will be repeating for this (THE best cycling fuel ever in my opinion). I was also planning on having one of my bottles as a proper energy drink so we're on the same wavelength there too. I would like to have a sandwich at one of the feedstops, any ideas on what is best to have on it? Also, do you have standard flapjacks or sport specific ones?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,877
    dstev55 wrote:
    You can't eat very much at the feed stops... I generally grab 2-3 flapjacks, all I can stomach. During the Fred Whitton I ate 4 flapjacks, half a sandwich, 3 Clif bars that I had in my pockets and went through 6 gels... I also had energy drink in one of my water bottle. Just about enough.
    Breakfast is key... avoid anything sugary, including cereals and muesli... try weetabix or a lot of porridge if you have time to cook... if you can eat 1000 calories of breakfast early, you are on a good path

    Thanks, I have porridge before every morning ride, so that is something I will be repeating for this (THE best cycling fuel ever in my opinion). I was also planning on having one of my bottles as a proper energy drink so we're on the same wavelength there too. I would like to have a sandwich at one of the feedstops, any ideas on what is best to have on it? Also, do you have standard flapjacks or sport specific ones?

    Typically these events strat at 6 AM or so, hard to cook... anyway
    You'll eat what's available, tuna is easier to chew and digest than cheese, so is ham, which is however typically the low end mechanically reclaimed one with 50% preservatives in weight, best to avoid. peanut butter would be good, but nobody seem to do them. I find it hard to eat as much as I should straight off the bike, hard to chew, which is why I prefer events that have 3-4 feed zones, rather than 1-2, you eat less but more often. The Fred organisers try to keep the costs down to maximise the amount they give to charity, so they only offer basic food and only two stops, no fancy energy bars/drinks and such
  • Big GeordieBig Geordie Posts: 49
    A good breakfast is the way to start the day. Porridge is best, failing that wholemeal toast. Something with a low GI anyway. Once on the road you want a quick energy hit, so low GI- jam sarnies with white bread are good. I try to stay off the gels until the last couple of hours as I quickly get sick of the taste of those, but by that point need the quick energy hit. Some sort of carbohydrate mix in the bottles (of which there should be two) also helps to get the energy in.
  • dstev55dstev55 Posts: 742
    A good breakfast is the way to start the day. Porridge is best, failing that wholemeal toast. Something with a low GI anyway. Once on the road you want a quick energy hit, so low GI- jam sarnies with white bread are good. I try to stay off the gels until the last couple of hours as I quickly get sick of the taste of those, but by that point need the quick energy hit. Some sort of carbohydrate mix in the bottles (of which there should be two) also helps to get the energy in.

    Thanks. I use the High Five 2:1 Energy drink which I think is what you mean. Unfortunately I can't stand jam or peanut butter so they're out of the question but I'm thinking maybe a meat paste sandwich on white bread
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,877
    dstev55 wrote:
    A good breakfast is the way to start the day. Porridge is best, failing that wholemeal toast. Something with a low GI anyway. Once on the road you want a quick energy hit, so low GI- jam sarnies with white bread are good. I try to stay off the gels until the last couple of hours as I quickly get sick of the taste of those, but by that point need the quick energy hit. Some sort of carbohydrate mix in the bottles (of which there should be two) also helps to get the energy in.

    Thanks. I use the High Five 2:1 Energy drink which I think is what you mean. Unfortunately I can't stand jam or peanut butter so they're out of the question but I'm thinking maybe a meat paste sandwich on white bread

    You can't realistically carry sandwiches with you in a sportive... you want stuff that won't disintegrate or melt in your rear pocket, hence energy bars (non chocolate ones) are ideal. You also want something you can eat while you cycle, which rules out sandwiches... you don't want to hit the deck because you are too busy eating
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    Eat "normal" foods, avoid gels like the plague.
    - As you already do, energy supplement in your drink helps - its free energy. I use the High5 isotonic stuff which is great in the summer as its provides both some energy and salts
    - If away (like for the Dragon sportive), I'll have a couple of the "just add water" porridge meals for breakfast, as you only need a kettle
    - on the ride, what they have at feed stations is normally fine but a mix of flapjack, jelly babies, fig rolls or whatever else takes your fancy. Breakfast bars are also quite good. Some energy bars are easier to get down than others, I bought a couple of boxes of Zipvit chocolate bars at about £1 each, easy to carry, quite filling and not sickly.

    zipvit-sport-zv8-energy-bars-55g-uncoated-chocolate-2.jpg
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  • CptKernowCptKernow Posts: 467
    Bananas, flapjacks, couple of gels for emergencies....

    I do find after a few hours all the sweet stuff starts making me want to puke.

    I know a guy who swears by boiled potatoes - seems to work for him...
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    CptKernow wrote:
    I know a guy who swears by boiled potatoes - seems to work for him...

    I've seen salted, boiled potatoes at a feed station, I think the Dragon last year. Actually quite nice. It is nice to have a mix of sweet and savoury. Jaffa cakes are lovely but also sausage rolls.
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,877
    drlodge wrote:
    Eat "normal" foods, avoid gels like the plague.
    - As you already do, energy supplement in your drink helps - its free energy. I use the High5 isotonic stuff which is great in the summer as its provides both some energy and salts
    - If away (like for the Dragon sportive), I'll have a couple of the "just add water" porridge meals for breakfast, as you only need a kettle
    - on the ride, what they have at feed stations is normally fine but a mix of flapjack, jelly babies, fig rolls or whatever else takes your fancy. Breakfast bars are also quite good. Some energy bars are easier to get down than others, I bought a couple of boxes of Zipvit chocolate bars at about £1 each, easy to carry, quite filling and not sickly.

    zipvit-sport-zv8-energy-bars-55g-uncoated-chocolate-2.jpg

    So gels no, but jelly babies yes? Who TF wants to eat jelly babies... why not marsh mellow then? You Brits are weird... :roll:
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 7,228
    Heathen.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    So gels no, but jelly babies yes? Who TF wants to eat jelly babies... why not marsh mellow then? You Brits are weird... :roll:

    Yes we are a bit weird! I hate marsh mellows, but jelly babies are a little chewy, nice n moist :P They're also cheap and easy to pop a couple in your mouth.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,877
    Heathen.

    Yeah and my nephew's favourite food are the doughnuts with the pink top and the marshmellow bits... they are totally revolting, I'd rather eat a beef's bolied penis...
  • dstev55dstev55 Posts: 742
    dstev55 wrote:
    A good breakfast is the way to start the day. Porridge is best, failing that wholemeal toast. Something with a low GI anyway. Once on the road you want a quick energy hit, so low GI- jam sarnies with white bread are good. I try to stay off the gels until the last couple of hours as I quickly get sick of the taste of those, but by that point need the quick energy hit. Some sort of carbohydrate mix in the bottles (of which there should be two) also helps to get the energy in.

    Thanks. I use the High Five 2:1 Energy drink which I think is what you mean. Unfortunately I can't stand jam or peanut butter so they're out of the question but I'm thinking maybe a meat paste sandwich on white bread

    You can't realistically carry sandwiches with you in a sportive... you want stuff that won't disintegrate or melt in your rear pocket, hence energy bars (non chocolate ones) are ideal. You also want something you can eat while you cycle, which rules out sandwiches... you don't want to hit the deck because you are too busy eating

    But I don't need to carry them with me Ugo. As I mentioned in my original post, my mum and step dad will be at the 2nd feedstation so they can bring anything I prepare.
  • debelidebeli Posts: 583
    Much good advice above.

    I detest gels - and had anyway already developed a 'menu' before they emerged on the scene.

    Soreen Malt Loaf, bananas, Jelly Babies, pasta salad, fig rolls, tea cakes filled with philadelphia and jam, brie & grape sarnies all do it for me.

    As to fluids, a bottle of water and one with a weak solution of orange juice with maybe some salt sprinkled into it. Sometimes you just want water and sometimes it's nice to have a little extra "Pizzazz!". I've used flat Coke in the past, too. It does the trick, but is really no better than a weak solution of fruit juice. I do not find energy drinks to my taste. Others do.

    Don't let yourself get so hungry that you binge..... you'll find a nice rhythm to eat at. Fluids are in some ways more important. Just keep glugging and be ready to re-fill your bottles.

    I find that in mile weather I can do 6-7 hours with 2 750ml bottles on the frame and a full Camelbak. But I arrive dry and thirsty. If it's hot and dry, I have to top up.

    The key issue with both solids and liquids is to take what works for you. No two cyclists enjoy the same snacks. You will settle on your favoured regime

    Don't forget the nappy cream or vaseline in the shorts.

    Enjoy the ride.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    WTF is marshmellow??

    It's marshmallow. So called because it was originally made by boiling up the roots of the Marsh Mallow plant. Bit too bulky for a jersey pocket though

    Jelly babies are so much cheaper than gels, easy to fumble from a jersey pocket and there's no sticky mess on your hands or wrapper to litter.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 4,313
    You could try grazing on the cannon fodder at the side of the roads. There are usually lots of fallen who have bitten the dust in these events.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,877
    keef66 wrote:
    WTF is marshmellow??

    It's marshmallow. So called because it was originally made by boiling up the roots of the Marsh Mallow plant. Bit too bulky for a jersey pocket though

    Jelly babies are so much cheaper than gels, easy to fumble from a jersey pocket and there's no sticky mess on your hands or wrapper to litter.

    I'd rather carry the above mentioned boiled beef's penis in my rear pocket and munch at it, hoping the event photographer is nowhere near :lol::mrgreen:
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 820
    If I were you, I'd meet them somewhere else. The feed stations are always busy and you can lose time there. If you've got support, and they don't mind, then somewhere in between the other feed stops can work better, and gives you another option.
    I eat anything, try to avoid the "sports science" stuff as it is a sweet but not nice taste. Wine gums and jelly beans for me - jelly babies make me feel like being sick after 2, and I have a very sweet tooth.
    I crave savoury stuff on these rides too, I took a mini pork pie wrapped in silver foil on Ridelondon, it was the nicest thing I ate all day! Fig rolls are good because they are quite small and stay together in a jersey pocket stuffed with other things.
    The feed stops on the Fred were good, but they didn't have anything you could take on the bike with you really. Your feed strategy can go out of the window on a long hard ride, especially if the weather is really bad (or good!) and you can be a long way from getting any more scoff.
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    I have carried a filled bread roll in my pocket during sportives wrapped in foil and they don't fall to pieces or melt (?). I can also open and eat them just as easily as an energy bar whether that's riding or stationary.
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    I occasionally ;) ride for more than 8 hours.

    I get around on boiled beef's penis.

    But in all seriousness, a lot of it depends on whether you are riding hard and fast or at a more moderate pace like myself.

    8 hours might only be 160-200km for me as I am generally riding at a moderate pace, but for extended distances of 3-400km a day.

    I tend to keep it real food wise. Plenty of protein (I do eat quite a bit of cheese, eggs and sausages etc!).

    But if I were riding hard for that 8 hours my needs might be different and real food can be slower to digest. I have used cheese and cooked sausages on things like the 24hour TT.

    I generally try and avoid much sweet stuff as it really can mess up your stomach on long rides. Certainly no gels other than in real emergencies. Cake on the other hand.

    Anyway - as with most stuff, it is very personal and it takes time what works for you. I have eaten curries plenty of times on 1000km+ events, but I would not recommend it for most people!

    Work out what works and what doesn't.

    Actually the most important thing for me is to keep hydrated. I do use NUUN tablets in one bottle to keep everything ticking along mineral wise. But a packet of ready salted crisps probably has about the same effect!
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Just to echo what others have said - keep off the sweet stuff if you can.

    Sausage rolls - or just the sausage ...
    fig rolls - excellent
    the mini-pasties or mini-egg rolls look nice and taste nice, but they do break up in your back pocket ...
    It's much easier to carry around jellybabies and other sweet stuff - so if you've got support crew I'd definately have them have a selection of refills for you - fluid and solids - and something savoury to eat - Tuna sarnie has been mentioned - sounds nice - I'd like one now!
    Potatoes have been mentioned - how about some cold roast potatoes ... 5 or 6 of them could be eaten quite quickly - especially if they've got a crispy skin ...

    Definately have them sat there with replacement bottles - prefilled and if it's a hot day - chilled too ... might be worth stashing a few other spares there too - spare tubes & tyres - other popular things to go wrong are chains breaking - so perhaps a spare chain? plus the emergency toolkit along with standpump - they could find themselves quite busy whilst waiting for you if they had a standpump!
    Spare clothing might be handy - if it's wet then nice dry gloves are a godsend ... if it's dry then some wetwipes to get rid of the sweat buildup ...

    Ok - I'm starting to sound a bit OTT ... ;)
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    A nice cold wet flannel to wipe away the sweat...I have a small/thin one I sometimes carry with me, just need to make sure one of my bottles has just water in it. Isotonic ain't much good at cleaning one's face.
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  • thomasmorristhomasmorris Posts: 373
    I work on the basis that if the ride stretch over a period in which I'd eat a meal, I'll try and eat some proper normal food (sandwich, pasta, rice cake).

    I'll only really use gels in road races, and that's really just because they are easier to eat rather than digest. The rest of the time I'll go with bananas and cereal bar.

    As for drinks, I don't get on well with energy drinks, I usually just go water or squash. I'm better eating my food and drinking my water!

    One thing I would say is, you never get back the time you spend stopped. You're always better picking the food up and eating it on the move even if that means going slower whilst you eat.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    One thing I would say is, you never get back the time you spend stopped. You're always better picking the food up and eating it on the move even if that means going slower whilst you eat.

    So you don't suggest a sit-down 7 course meal - complete with candles and silver service then ... ? :wink:
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