Saturday, August 20, 2011

Eating on the Road

Ride Day
time- 2:28
distance- 49mi

Today was an experiment on the bike. How would I react to taking on nutrition while riding? The verdict? Pretty damn well.
I went with a PowerBar Energy Gel and a Clif Bar. Why? Because we have a good stock of Clif Bars in the house for my post-swim breakfast on school days, and I was given the PowerBar Gel at some race I did. You use what you've got. Also, the Clif Bar splits up nicely and I figured it would be easy to eat on the road.
After 45 minutes or so I popped the Gel. I decided to go with that first because I was taking on Pineapple Hill in the next few minutes and thought I could use the energy, assuming I'd be able to feel anything. And I don't know if it was that I'm getting stronger, the Gel worked, or both (probably that last one there), but today's front 25 felt good. I got up Pineapple without much to do, and no stomach issues from eating on the go. My Gel was Green Apple, not the choice I would have picked for myself, but it actually wasn't that bad. I'll be experimenting with different brands and flavors over the next few weeks until I find what works best for me.
Normally, I guess I'd keep popping Gels but I only had the one. So at about 1:30 I went for my first chunk of Clif Bar. Before leaving I broke the bar into three pieces and put them into a small snack Zip Lock. Ate the second at around two hours and the third as I was nearing home, around two hours forty-five minutes after I'd left. I probably didn't need that last piece, but what am I gonna do with 1/3 of a Clif Bar?
Never once did I feel as tired as I've felt any other time I've done this distance. Eating a little something every 45 minutes or thereabouts seems to do the trick, keeping Dirtbag blood sugar up and fending off bonk. I guess I shouldn't be shocked. Basically every blog, book, and magazine article about distance cycling mentions something about nutrition. I just had to jump on the bandwagon.
Also, eating on the bike adds one more piece to the Feeling Like a Real Cyclist puzzle. I've got the aerobars, the fancy tight pants, a few jerseys, clip-in pedals, skinny tires, and now this. I'm such a nerd.
I'm also trying out a new fitness tracking app on my Android called Runtastic. I might start using this more than the JogTracker I've been using because it tracks elevation. Here is the link to today's ride. I don't know about you, but that elevation chart looks like a lot of up and downing.


  1. Good to hear today was a better workout day. Surprised to see eating and riding went well for you. YAY!!

  2. Awesome! So nice when everything clicks!! I still and I wonder if I'll ever, get my nutrition right.. sigh

  3. Hard mile 22 I see. Interesting that 21 and 23 had more climb, but were faster. Any idea what happened there? Just curious.
    I like that it gives you calories, however inaccurate. Probably high for you cause you're more fit than the average bear. Eat back like 70-80% of them, counting your on the bike calories, and then add another 2200 or so on top of that.

    And Wheeeeee 42 mph!! Scary!!

  4. I think I stopped right in there actually. There was another rider stopped on the side of the road near the top of the climb so I stopped and made sure he was ok. His legs had cramped up but he was starting to feel better and told me to go on. So that's what that pace dip probably is. I adjusted my pedal once right around there too, so might be that.
    I wonder why the elevation graph isn't showing up. Hmmm...

  5. Here's some unsolicited comments on training with food. :)

    1) Race how you train: If you train with (for instance) Clif gels and you go to a race and they hand out Power Gel...unless you have an iron stomach--expect some serious GI issues. Ironman hands out PowerBar products at the 1/2 IM and full IM races. (Not because they're better, just cause PowerBar pays them the most). I use GU gels so I make sure to bring a sufficent amount for my races. (I didn't once...the last 1/2 of my marathon leg was not pretty)
    2) If you have not figured this out already, then get rid of the little gel packets and use a squeeze bottle instead. Individual packets are fine for a 10-15 mile run where you are only going to use one or two at most, but for bike rides the squeeze bottle rules. No fumbling trying to tear open packets, no sticky fingers, no trash to dispose of. The bottle will fit into the back of your tri/bike jersey or in a bento box on the bike frame. Most squeeze bottles hold 6 gels and can be stored in the fridge between rides.
    3) Buy your supplements on-line. I like to support the local running stores, but be aware there is a 25% mark up on gels and bars. Local stores are a good place to try various brands/flavors but once you decide on a brand, it's far easier to buy it by the case. I think Zombie Runner does free S&H when you get over $50.