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Lately I've taken to (metric) century rides first thing in the morning (I've recently graduated university so I'm currently unemployed and have the time on my hand (coincidentally if anyone knows of a mechanical engineering job available, let me know)) and have been trying to find ways of perking myself up for the rest of the day. My current method is chocolate milk, espresso and lots of fruit, but that doesn't seem to cut it. Does anyone else have any methods of getting going after a long ride?
Live life one century at a time.
You don't really want to completely deplete your reserves while riding so try to eat during the ride. During the Tour de France the riders consume up to 50% of their daily calorie intake while riding. You can get fancy energy drinks, gels etc. but you can also eat fruit, or drink fruit juice, basically anything that is easy to digest, but not chocolate, sweets (candy) or any food or drinks that contain refined sugars, these can actually lower your blood sugar levels.

If you eat refined sugars that are very quickly absorbed, the body over-releases insulin which can then quickly lower the blood sugar levels leaving them lower than they were originally, so you get a short initial energy boost which quickly declines. You want complex carbohydrates and sugars that are slowly released to give you sustained energy levels.

If your riding very soon after you wake and without having a carb rich meal a couple of hours before you ride, you will likely have very low blood sugar levels, which could lead to the bonk. You could try carb loading by having a meal a couple of hours before you go sleep the night before, something with plenty of complex carbs, wholemeal rice, pasta, porridge oats that sort of thing which are slowly absorbed and should ensure that your glycogen stores are topped up ready for your ride the next morning. Don't eat too much protein before a ride, it's hard and slow to digest and diverts blood from the muscles to the digestive tract which can make you feel sluggish. Protein after exercise is good as it helps repair and develop muscle tissue.

Cycling nutrition: - there are plenty of others on Google Smile
Xerxes, are you sure the TdF riders consume half of their caloric output while riding? That's a helluva lot of calories, especially for Tourmalet and the other bigger days. I thought I heard Phil Schwinn say that Andy Schleck and Contador went up Tourmalet at an avg of 19mi/hr. I bet the average rider burns 5000-8000 calories a day.

While riding, I'll drink energy powers (Gu, Clif, Nuun, etc) along with water. And every 45min to an hour I'll eat a gel. On bigger rides, I'll eat half a Clif bar and the other half in a future hour.

After a big ride (big is > 60 miles), I'll have a non-caffeine gel, Clif bar, or Bonk Breaker and some milk within the first half hour, along with plenty of water the rest of the day. I'll watch my output color to tell me if I need to drink even more.
(08-06-2010, 08:04 PM)AndrewB Wrote:  I'll watch my output color to tell me if I need to drink even more.

As long as it doesn't glow in the dark I wouldn't worry too much. Smile

I wouldn't swear on the TdF calorie fact, but I vaguely remember reading it in an article somewhere. I also remember reading that Lance Amstrong eats 7000 calories a day whilst on the tour, but I'm not sure where I read that now either. I spend far too much time trawling around the web reading random articles and picking up useless information. Smile
Heh. Just consider the math...

7000 calories a day. Assume a 8 hour stage ride time. And assume 100 calorie gels.

8*60 / (7000 / 100) = 6.9

So, they'd have to eat a 100 calorie gel every 7 minutes over 8 hours. That's a lot, and a good recipe for cycling induced indigestion.


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