Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Early and Often

I've recently been on a couple of longer rides where friends have bonked and seemed to have had nutritional problems. I think I've got a formula for my self that works pretty well. But that formula depends on convience stores for refueling and I couldn't find one when I needed one this past sunday when I rode out and up Wachusett Mt.  I think my hydration was off.  But here's what I usually do:

I start with one bottle of full strength and one of half strength Gatorade (or preferably Clif Shot Electrolyte ;), a few Clif Shots, a bag or two of Clif Blocks, 2 energy bars, a small pack of twizzlers and a snickers. For long rides I think it's better to head out the door with too much rather than too little. Plus the food general doesn't weigh much nor take up room. For the latter two componets of my jersey pocket pantry; Sometimes the sport specific food just doesn't cut it in terms of palatability. Also I don't usually eat candy bars, but isn't a 5 hour ride, where you're burning thousands of calories the perfect excuse to have a bit of nutrition naughty? It's good to have a couple of options, and regular food can also be a really nice alternative to choking down yet another sweet, carbo laden energy bar. For instance I have a friend who likes ham and cheese sandwiches on his long workouts.  Maybe not the best power food, but it gets him through.

Once I'm on the bike I find that I have to eat pretty consistently throughout the ride. About 45 minutes in I'll start with a bite of a bar and continue to eat something every 15-30 min. It's frequent that a longer ride will be at a slower pace than a shorter training ride, but in my opinion it's just as important to start eating just as early. If you wait 'till you're hungry you're going to be in for a world of hurt. What's nice about that pack of Twizzlers is the 10 easy to eat pieces with 20 calories each. Strip off just a couple for a little munch and work on the rest later.  (I also knew a pro triathlete that work through a big bag of Twizzlers on her long training rides)

The early and often rule applies to drinking too.  I try to put down a bottle every hour if I can.... Which is where things went wrong on Sunday.  I ran out of water before summiting Wachusett, thinking there'd be a store around the mountain.  Short of it is, I didn't get to drink enough before I stopped for to refuel.  Refuling is: a 12 oz coke and a little bag of chips, maybe a little ice cream sandwich, plus fluids and more bars for the pantry.  Unfortunately I forgot to buy gatorade and had to settle for water for the rest of the ride.  Not choice.  End result was a discontent stomach the last hour or so.  Not upset, just off.  
Hey, back at it this weekend and we'll see what happens.

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