Monday, October 16, 2006


Eating and drinking the correct amounts of the right things to fuel long distance rides can be a challenge. Many of the DNFs I have read about were due to problems in this area.

The best source of information I have found on this subject is this e-book published by Hammer Nutrition. Not surprisingly they push their own line of supplements in the book, but the principles they discuss seem sound and you can use whatever supplements you like or (gasp!) real food.

One interesting fact they point out is that an endurance athlete can only absorb 750ml & 300cal per hour while exercising. Trying to eat or drink more (or less) than this will cause problems - especially too much water.

This page has more articles on sports nutrition by the Hammer folks.

This page has even more articles about nutrition for endurance cyclists care of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA).

Here is an Arnie Baker cycling article on maltodextrin nutrition.

My plan is to use a 65/35 mix of real food and Hammer sports supplements. I'll mix a water bottle with 4hrs worth of Perpetuem or Sustained Energy and make sure I consume a quarter bottle every hour on the bike. If I come across a gas station or control with real food I'll eat it and hold off on the sports drink until later. I will keep plain water in a camelback and drink it as needed separately from the sports drink. Both of these energy powders taste gnarly so use some flavoured carb gel or Crystal Lite to make it more palatable. This is part of the reason I am using concentrated 4hr bottles vs. a 1hr bottle that combines all my water/energy needs. The 1hr bottle means you need to drink 4 times as much of the energy drink.

In addition I'll keep some carb gels and a couple cliff bars with me as emergency bonk fuel. This gives me a back up if I get tired of the energy drinks.

I will also carry electrolyte capsules to balance loses from sweat.

If you live in the US E-Caps is a convenient place to order sports fuel products from. In Canada you can either order from the US (which can be a lot cheaper) or contact your local supplement store and see if they can do a special order.

Everyone is different so make sure you try out and a new nutritional plan well in advance of an important event.

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