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Really long bike rides - how to sustain energy levels

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  • Really long bike rides - how to sustain energy levels

    Towards the end of 2009 I began training for a 1200k (k=kilometre) bike ride that starts in Paris, France this year in August. We have 90 hours in which to complete the event, and that includes sleep time - the slower you ride, the less time for sleep. Prior to that, qualification for the event includes doing a series of 200k, 300k 400k and 600k rides. In addition to these rides, there will be a hilly 600k to see how prepared we are for the French ride.

    I have been reading the other threads about what people are eating/training for triathlons and century rides but the longer rides I am undertaking last over 24 hours. I didn't want to hijack one of those threads as I am looking for something different. On these events, it seems that fuelling comes solely from what you eat during the ride.

    Does anyone else undertake events similar to these and are the manufactured energy drinks/foods or high carb foods the only way to go? I have also read that endurance events and a paleo diet are not very compatible but it can be done.

    Hoping someone can answer well.

  • #2
    Never done cross-country biking, but I am an endurance athlete.
    You will need lots of carbs, but they don't have to be frankenfoods. Instead of Clif bars and gatorade, why not take Larabars and juice?
    Subduction leads to orogeny

    My blog that I don't update as often as I should: http://primalclimber.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      Thanks, AmyMac. I think I have seen Larabars being sold in Trader Joes but have not considered them before. I checked out their website already. I normally have one bottle of water and the other bottle of energy drink and keep filling up on the way. On last year's 600k, I felt sick of all the energy drinks I was gulping down. Juice? I need to read up a bit more on that.

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      • #4
        Are nuts practical on a bike? Macadamias are excellent for an energy boost, I find.
        Odille
        F 58 / 170cms / SW 131.5 kgs / Current 112.4/ GW 65
        following Primal Lifestyle and swimming my way to health

        My Primal Blog / Photo Blog / RedBubble shop / My Calendars / My Facebook

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        • #5
          Organic dark chocolate bars, steamed sweet potato\yams, some white rice if you are not allergic to it, bananas for the glucose and potassium.
          My Blog: http://fitafter40vancouver.blogspot.com

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          • #6
            Forget pb for the week

            Hi Mr Far,
            I know I'll probably get some flak for this but if there's a time element, stick with the carbs. Your muscles must have the carbs to keep going at that kind of pace. When I do endurance events, I eat cliff bars, nuun tablets, larabars, and even the pb& graham cracker sandwiches. You WILL bonk without enough easily available sugar. Mostly I train on a vlc diet, with long rides before breakfast. But I am at least 20% slower than I am with sufficient carbs.

            Your body is burning that sugar as fast as you can take it in. Your blood sugar will not spike while your muscles are crying out for the glycogen. For those 90 hrs, stick with what you already know works for your body.
            Good luck!!!

            Ps where are you training for the hills? I've found the east end has some decent climbs - Hither Hills out to Montauk, but I imagine you have to leave LI to do any real training.... That's tough.
            Last edited by Boston biker; 01-08-2011, 06:13 PM.

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            • #7
              Mr Far....good luck preparing for Paris-Brest-Paris! You can experiment somewhat while riding the brevet series, but I would want a good back up for fueling just in case (like Perpetuem or some other energy drink). As you know, you have to finish all four rides. Having been to PBP, I can tell you that things can get pretty crazy and throw a wrench into your plans. Personally, I wouldn't obsess about being primal at this event. Do the best you can, but go with the flow as far as food goes. You can't afford to run out of energy on this ride.

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              • #8
                it looks gross but I've found that the pemmican bars from US Wellness Meats are good on the bike for long rides. I tried it for a 50 mile and an 80 mile on/off road ride (done on mtb). Those aren't nearly as long as the ride you're going to do. But I liked the combo of nuun & pemmican + something sweet. We use those gel clif blocks or other gel product in a flask sometimes & yesterday I had a small 8 oz can coca cola mid-ride. I was thinking it might be a bad idea, but it was perfect, like i needed that sugar.

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                • #9
                  in the past i've also used Perpetuem in combo w/ Heed & gels with good results.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks, everyone, for the replies. 8 months down the line, I think I should be aware of what my body needs for this event and if my primal lifestyle will support it. This is a once only attempt at doing it and I don't think I will be too upset if I have to bear a non-primal diet for the event. What I am looking forward to is seeing how I perform on the qualification rides this year. I shall be trying everyone's suggestions to see if I can find a best fit.
                    @Boston biker - yes, the struggle here is training for the hills. On the Northshore there are some short climbs around Port Jefferson which I loop around to repeat on a ride but other than that, not much. I do the brevets in New Jersey which is probably my only exposure to proper hills. Where I grew up in England is all hills so they don't scare me and I just bought a new bike towards the end of last year with better climbing gears.

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                    • #11
                      Hi Mr. Far,
                      Port Jeff does have some great hills now that I think about it, I've just never ridden them, so it didn't occur to me! Glad to hear you grew up with some hills - I grew up on LI and so hills are my nemesis. The closest thing I had to a hill on my rides as a kid was a highway overpass!!!

                      I forgot to mention my ace, which Catherine already mentioned - Clif Shot Blocks WITH caffeine (I like the black cherry) Play around with those, they're amazing. Also, I forgot to mention that I find most larabars completely gross. I only like the apple and cherry pie varieties. Make sure you try them at home before you bring them on a 50 mile ride as your only fuel (it's a tough one to learn the hard way...)

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                      • #12
                        Boston biker,

                        I just bought a couple of Larabars from Whole Foods the other night. I tried one last night. Sure not going to forget them any time soon!! Cliff Shots next but with our recent dumping of snow, may have to wait until it melts before I get outside again.

                        Highway overpasses were my favourite when I lived in Babylon. If it wasn't for the traffic on Montauk Highway, cycling down there would have been quite sedentary.

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                        • #13
                          I like Perpetuem as my main fuel source for long races. I have found that I do best with the unflavored version, but that's just me. I also like Hammer's older product, Sustained Energy. I like a little something solid. I want something I find reasonably palatable even when I am hot and tired. Variety helps. Remember that a lot of your energy for a long effort like that will be coming from burning fat -- don't try to take in as many calories as you are putting out, or you are likely to get stomach problems. Have fun in the brevets!

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                          • #14
                            Wow, those are some long rides. I've never really done anything over 150mi at one go, but the Paris ride looks awesome. I would say go with your one water ans one sports drink bottle combo, that's the same thing I do for long rides. Usually, i dilute the sports drink bottle 50/50 with water or else the sports drink stuff upsets my stomach.
                            I see you tried some Lara Bars, but not sure which flavors. If you haven't tried it yet the Cashew Cookie flavor is a really good choice for rides. It's just cashews and dates, so that's primal to me. I think Amazon usually has it for less than a dollar a bar if you order the 16 pack case.
                            Also, you could make your own with a food processor. I usually throw in a couple cups of nuts,(almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecan), some sort of dried fruit (dates, mission figs, cranberries), and some coconut oil for a smooth consistency.

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                            • #15
                              Mr Far- how is the training going? have you decided ona fueling strategy?

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