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Any cyclists?

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  • Any cyclists?

    I went on a ride a couple weeks ago (getting a little cold now) after eating primal for a couple of days and was dead tired after like 30 minutes. Usually I don't start feeling tired until approximately 2 hours into a trail ride. For breakfast I had a big shake with some fruit/veggies, and some cereal (figured it would help), and before the ride I had part of a cliff bar. I pushed through the ride, but it was not enjoyable at all. I wasn't riding super hard, and the trail wasn't exceptionally difficult, but I still felt like I was breathing through a straw. Am I not getting enough carbs pre-ride? Is my body still tuned to carb burning? How long does it take to get efficient at burning fats as a primary energy source instead of carbs? Has anybody else had this problem? (I realize I may not be asking the right questions, and I'm open to criticism and advice!)

  • #2
    Oh yeah, I'd also like to add that I am 20 years old and in decent shape. I do ride a little harder than some, but I don't plan on racing, competitively anyways, so my nutritional needs may be different than some.


    • #3
      Depending on how carb adapted you are, a few days is not enough. It could take weeks.

      Plus, the clif bar just told your body that carbs would be the fuel source du jour and since you had very little, it totally hosed your body up.

      If my 40 year old ass can play a full LAX game as a mid-fielder with nary a carb in my system, then your punk ass should be able to ride a bike for 6 days non-stop once you are fat adapted. That last statement has no scientific backing, but you get the point.

      Just keep on with the Primal eating (at least 80/20) and you will become fat adapted in a few weeks probably. It may take a little longer or a little less time. And quit eating candy bars (aka "energy", "cliff", etc.) all the damned time. Just sayin.

      And while I am not a cyclist, I know a shitload of them. My wife works for USA Cycling and I go to a lot of the events and stuff. Most are skinny enough to tread water in a test tube, except the mountain bikers.
      Last edited by IcarianVX; 12-09-2011, 10:49 AM.
      People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.


      • #4
        OP you're gonna be bonking for a few weeks. It took me 4 wks to stop bonking on rides, almost 6 wks for my husband. Don't expect to have any good rides while you're transitioning.

        however, once you've transitioned to running on fat, you're gonna be real happy with how long you can ride w/o having to refuel like a hungry shrew.


        • #5


          • #6
            I cycle everyday, everywhere I don't do hardcore mountain biking (yet - heh heh) but i do put in a lot of daily miles. I have been eating clean primal for a bit over 6 weeks and i cannot believe the amount of energy i have. I simply do not get tired, my muscles just don't get fatigued, or - if i do a bit of "sprinting" they seem to recoup soooo much faster. I may never drive again....... (grin)


            • #7
              Thanks for the great advice. Dado, trust me when I say I am not one of the guys dressed up in full lycra talking about how cool my bike is haha. I ride trails mainly for the adventure, downhills, and the fun of it. Getting back on the main topic though.. Does riding actually help speed the process of carb to fat burning? I know that may seem like a weird question, but if it doesn't, i'd rather just stay home and do some other kind of training, to save some gas money. Also, if carbs aren't the way to go before a workout, what do yall eat before you ride, or do any kind of 2-3 hour long, semi-intense activity?
              Last edited by alovice; 12-11-2011, 10:09 PM.


              • #8
                I just bike commuted 11 miles to work in 25F temps! I've done that for about 2000 miles so far this year. I rarely have a problem in the morning. I'm not trying to win a race and I am 42, it's a commute for me, not the Tour de France and my bikes are heavy and slow and weighted down with a pannier with a thermos and clothes, etc. In the afternoon going home after sitting at work for 9 hours, it can be a bit more challenging to summon the energy.

                My advice would be to take it a bit easier for the first month, err on the side of taking it lighter on your body overall on your rides. You can work in bouts of intense activity, like intervals, but otherwise take it easy on your rides for a few weeks while your body adapts. While I rarely eat things like Cliff bars anymore, in the summer when it is warm and I sweat a lot, I will put a spoonful of Vitalyte (has about 10 grams of carbs) in my water bottle.

                Also, I would keep doing what you want to do while your body adapts. I'm not sure why you cannot bike around town wherever you are without taking your bike on your car somewhere.
                Last edited by JeffC; 12-12-2011, 06:56 AM.


                • #9
                  In general if you are riding at an endurance pace you should have no problem riding at least 2 hours and perhaps more. If you do this multiple days you will likely experience low glycogen and feel weaker.

                  If you ride at I higher intensity (lactate threshold and higher) you will need carbs. You will eat through your stores fast and you need some carbohydrate to operate even at a lower intensity. Hitting the wall is likely.

                  What you did, eating cereal, cliff bar fruit/veggies is not at all low carb. It is even possible with that amount of carbohydrate, that you experienced low blood sugar from a rapid upswing and then the big CRASH If you drank coffee as well that makes if worse.


                  • #10
                    I'm maybe not a good source of advice, since I'm 56 years old, and you're a lot younger. Mostly I ride according to Mark's "moving slow" dictum, average speed on a 30 mile ride is about 13.5 mph, on mostly level bike trails. About once a week I'll use the bike to do a sprint for 5 minutes or so.

                    I'm not 100% compliant with the primal blueprint, but energy is never a problem on my rides. Fuel for my most recent morning 30 mile ride: coffee with cream and a glass of coconut milk.

                    Since going primal, I've done rides over 50 miles and not had any issues with energy.


                    • #11
                      I am a senior serious cyclist. Frankly, I just heard about Mark's nutrition and just pulled up this site. Interestingly, I came to the same nutritional conclusions a long time ago. However, the diet will not work for competitive cyclist during hard rides (averaging over 20 mph), unless you enjoy bonking. Personally, I pre-load before any hard ride over two hours with carbs (usually Carbo Pro) and an egg. During the ride I use Acceleraide and a 50/50 goo/honey mixture. The latest thinking is that the weight that cyclists loose during a ride (except for fluid) comes from the decrease in the weight of the liver. The liver needs fructose (honey) and that is why the goo/honey mixture will give added performance over straight goo. Many TdeF riders do training rides of ( 1 1/2 hours or less on nothing but coffee, in order to train their bodies to burn fat, and this is good but burning fat also depletes the liver and and you will need fructose to replenish it before extending the ride or riding later. Most serious cycling is about maximum performance and you cannot afford to have any lack of carbs (and a little protein) for good performance. Stick to Mark's diet between rides.