Believe you me, It's something that has vexed me for well over ten years.
And I've tried lots of things. Sometimes I hit upon something that works, but that same strategy might fail me in another instance. It's maddening. rather than muse on what might work, let's see what I know definitely does not work for me. And let's be clear: THIS IS ONLY MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. Your experiences are yours. We all react differently and are uniquely made. What you do may be great, but it may be the worst thing for me and vice versa. Okay, on with it then........
- Gels: Nope! Don't work after a couple hours. They turn my gut and I won't ever consider them for long rides.
- Processed foods with a lot of sugar/corn syrup, etc. Same. Works maybe up to two hours, but as soon as I have something like this after a few hours, its the end.
- Powdered stuff: Cannot be bothered to mix up stuff in water during a ride. Although it may work for some folks, it seems like a hassle whenever I've tried it in the past. Many times it doesn't have a good effect, or it doesn't have what I need to keep going.
Now, I have has success and some good rides with some other products.
- Protein-rich foods like Epic brand bars, jerky, Almond butter packets, etc.
- Small, prepackaged packets of olives.
- Potato chips, but nothing weirdly flavored.
- Flattened bananas from Trader Joes. Basically dried bananas.
- An occasional full-bore Coca Cola (Typically wakes me up if I get drowsy on the bike)
|Another look at that Level B road from my "Ride To Indy"|
And I've been practicing eating on intervals during rides for a long, long time. Someone suggested that I try that. Well, I do this, and have done it regularly since 2015. Now, yes- sometimes I get off-schedule. But I try not to, and last Saturday I was on point but for my missed opportunity at the Vinton Casey's. Had I eaten there? Who knows......
Someone mentioned that I may have gone out too fast. I won't argue that. But also- you don't know if you don't try. We used to have a saying back in the early 90's in regard to mountain biking: "If you don't crash, you aren't riding hard enough". Part of these 'events' I've set up for myself is to test myself out.
I barely finished the Single Speed Century earlier this year. I suffered like a dog the last 30 miles. But that course was flat coming home and despite toasted legs, I was able to hobble home. My guts didn't rise up against me on that ride, but I also did get to eat something a bit more substantial at the last convenience store stop that day. That was why I finished, mostly. Missing eating at Vinton was really what killed last Saturday's ride, from the standpoint of finishing my planned route.
And that's on me. I have a hard time dancing the same steps more than three times, so staying on a very disciplined nutrition strategy is mentally tough for me. Believe it or not, it is very draining on me to keep up with a schedule like that while riding. Probably one of the hardest things I try to do. Religious repetition is not in my DNA. I find that eating regularly, and drinking regularly is challenging for me. Again- you might laugh, but we are all different.
So, there ya go. I keep experimenting. I keep pushing, and as my friend Ari says, "I keep getting out there and throwing punches." I'm a lot better at this than I used to be. Part of that has to do with some big changes in diet I made late in the Winter. I'm more fit now. Things are better that way than ever. But I am not getting any younger either, and my body is changing. What worked ten years ago is not going to work now. So I feel this is an ever changing game. I'm going to keep after it though.