Sometimes, you’ve just got to get on your bike and ride all day. Not a 1 hour or 2 hour ride. But, a 5+ hour ride that allows you to comfortably get into the rhythm of cycling, while not-so-comfortably pushing your limits. I love long bike rides.
If you want to feel almost as good in the last hours as you do the first, though, you’ve got to dial in your nutrition (and I’m not just sayin’ that because I’m a nutritionist). It’s true! It’s the difference between a smile and a bonk, a good recovery and legs that are shot for days, a PR and call home for a pick-up. Ouch.
First and foremost, you’ve got to give yourself the 3 basic keys of training nutrition: the fluids, carbs, and electrolytes that allow your body to keep going and going (and going and going). This week, I’ll give you my recipe for long-distance sports nutrition. It’s a lot like the recommendations for shorter rides, but simply requires more nutrition per hour. Every hour. I’ll also review a product, Carborocket HalfEvil 333, that provides a concentrated fuel source for these long rides and races. We’ll even throw in a Carborocket giveaway.
Loving the BITE: Recipe for the Long Ride
- 20-24 oz. fluid (and more for heavy sweaters and hot/humid weather) per hour
- 90 grams carbs per hour
- 400-700 mg sodium per hour
- 100-300 mg potassium per hour
- 1.5-3 grams each l-glutamine and BCAAs (optional bonus)
Begin by finding a drink you like that provides a good amount of carbohydrates and fluids. While some cyclists prefer a lighter taste and less concentrated drinks, it can be difficult to give your body all the nutrition it can use when your drink only provides 24-30 grams of the 90 grams needed per hour. In this case, you’ll have 60+ grams of carbs to make up every hour from other foods. This can be daunting while pedaling.
If you tolerate concentrated drinks, and many cyclists do when consuming a “light-tasting” easy-to digest one, it can make obtaining nutrition needs much easier (one such drink is Carborocket Half Evil 333 – see review below). On the other hand, I’m all for individual preference, so once you find one you like, you can build off it with other fuels. And if you haven’t yet, I’ll let you know why you might want to give CarboRocket a try (and no, I’m not paid by CarboRocket).
Next, choose fuel options that help you consume the goal amounts of carbs, sodium, and potassium, after taking the amount in your drink into account. With many (many, many) posts regarding carbohydrate fuel options in the last few years, I’ve highlighted gels, bars (homemade and commercial), and many foods like salted dates, licorice and honey as possible fuel options. You can use these every 30-60 minutes to make up the gaps IF needed.
If you’d like more substantial foods, you can also add in a savory, real food option every 3 hours or so. I recommend our Bacon Rice Burritos, Sweet Potatoes, or regular foods for this. Keep the portion small as to not overload your gut (causing stomach cramps and risking low blood flow to the legs). Don’t go bigger than the size of a 1/2 sandwich at any one time.
Put all these fuel together, meeting hourly goals every hour from the beginning, and adding in the real foods as “icing on the cake” for 90 grams carbs, 20-24 (or more) oz. fluid, 400-700 mg sodium, and 100-300 mg potassium per hour.
And, lastly, if you want to get crazy, add in 1.5-3 grams l-glutamine, and 2-3 grams Branch Chain Amino Acids per hour to reduce both muscular and mental fatigue during your adventure.
Sound like a tall order? Well, you’re in luck because this brings me to my review and giveaway. If you want to make it easy on yourself, simply add a few scoops CarboRocket Half Evil 333 to your water bottle and start riding.
Carborocket Half-Evil 333 is a concentrated sports drink. It doesn’t seem to care that some say you should only drink a 3-4% carb solution. It doesn’t seem to care that others insist that loading in maltodextrin, amino acids, and sodium may cause stomach upset. It simply provides the nutrition your body can use hour after hour of a long ride.
When you add 3 scoops to your water bottle, each bottle will provide 333 calories, 82 grams carbs, 427 mg sodium, 210 mg potassium, 217 mg calcium, 110 mg magnesium, and 200 IU vitamin D.
And my favorite part, you’ll also get 1.5 grams l-glutamine and 3 grams BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids).
Personally, I’ve ridden my bike for many 10 hour days on all sorts of different drinks. On variations of my homebrew. On Gatorade. And on Carborocket. And, my clients have use many different fuel sources as well. There are many ways to get it done. But, I do appreciate getting most of my nutrition from one source, especially when it goes down as easy as this.
The only potential issue I find with Carborocket 333 is that many of my clients need more sodium than it provides. Since many cyclists use it as almost an all-in-one fuel source for long rides, they may not always realize they need to add sodium into their fuel plan. I can understand why more sodium is not in it – taste preferences and nutrition needs of sodium vary…and, some simply don’t need 700 mg sodium per hour. However, many do. In fact, if you estimate that most sweat contains an average of 1000 mg sodium per Liter, and many cyclists lose close to a 3/4 to 1 liter of sweat per hour during the summer, they may need as much 625 additional mg of sodium per hour beyond that in CarboRocket.
If this is the case for you, there is an easy fix. Simply add in salt to the drink (make sure to taste test while adding only small amount of salt), add in a sodium supplemental pill like Salt Sticks or S-Caps, or make sure any supplemental fuel sources have adequate sodium (Powerbar gels (200 mg sodium), salted dates, salted honey, etc.). This fix is necessary with many drinks, and only one addition is the best I’ve seen.
Want some CarboRocket Half-Evil 333 for yourself?
Brad at CarboRocket has generously offered to give one very lucky Loving the Bike reader a trial of CarboRocket HalfEvil 333. To win the prize, simply leave a comment below describing any 5+ hour ride you’re planning during 2014. We’ll pick the winner at random from the comments.
It’s time to plan a long ride. Just you, your bike, your buddies, and hours and miles of cycling ahead of you. Your nutrition plan can be the difference in it being an epic day in a good way vs. an epic day in a bonking-and-never-trying-that-again way. Dial it in, use the right fuel, and enjoy your ride.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.
image c/o: http://www.bikingbis.com