Friday, October 23, 2015

What to eat on a 100 mile bike ride?

In my previous post I wrote about a popular video that lists all the things every cyclists "needs" on a ride. It gets better! There are more videos from the same author who this time is trying to teach us on what to eat on a ride. Now I know that all those times when I went for a 60-100mi ride, I ate wrong things.
The video is rich in advice: "wake up at least 2 hrs before your ride", "eat soy or whey protein before the ride", "have some caffeine before you start", "don't forget your vitamins, just like you take them every single day", put "ice in your water bottles to cool down your body", etc.

That's all great. For an athlete who is getting ready for Tour de France. But for all others, us - mortals, that advice is questionable at the very least. I did a few 100mi rides and a bunch of 60mi ones. I never followed a rule to wake up 2hrs before the start, never ate protein before the ride, never had coffee (don't like it - weird, I know), never put ice in my water bottles, not to mention using any vitamin pills. You don't need them, provided that you eat healthy. I never did all those things and I managed to not only survive my rides but actually truly enjoy them.

But that's OK. Maybe some people like to use a whole bunch of chems, pills and supplements. My main problem with the approach presented in the video is simply stated by one question (to quote one of the comments under the video): "Where is the food?!"

Seriously, where is it? Maybe I'm weird, but I actually like to stop for lunch. You know, a real lunch, like a panini, burger or something else delicious. If I was forced to eat gels, tabs and some powdered stuff exclusively on my rides, I would start hating cycling very quickly.
The second video covers nutrition "problems" on short distances - about 20 miles. My favorite part is when we are told to drink the content of one water bottle for every hour of the ride. First I thought that in the peak of summer heat this may make sense, only to realize that 20mi is only 32km (I'm a metric guy). It would take me about 1.5hrs to ride that distance and I have done it many times.

Usually I don't take any food with me on such a short ride. Just eat something before it and take 1 water bottle with you. You're all set. Drinking so much water within 1.5hrs would likely give me a heavy stomach feeling. Even in summer.

If you are about to become a pro athlete then by all means, use all those special food products. But if you, like me, just want to ride 100mi for fun, then better stop for a grilled Reuben sandwich, freshly-squeezed juice or a delicious burger. Why give up on real, good food if you don't have to?

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