Saturday, August 27, 2016

Gravel Worlds '16- WW4M: Nutrition And Gear Review

The nutrition during my 2016 Gravel Worlds ride was  99% these items
This post will detail my nutrition and a word or three about gear that I haven't already said much about. The "WW4M" in the title stands for "What Works For Me". This should point out to you that what I am about to detail here may not work for you or anyone else. However; I hope that these ideas might help out someone reading to fine tune their own endurance riding nutrition strategy.

On The Bike Food: If you have been reading along here this Summer you already know that I battled a stomach shut down during my Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational attempt and that I had to stop after a little over 109 miles. Well, I tracked that back to a heavy amount of sugary processed food in the form of a cookie sandwich I ate earlier in the day. I decided after that I wasn't going to utilize any processed sugary crapola like Gatorade or foods from convenience stores in my nutritional strategies for Gravel Worlds.

Fortunately, my friend Tony had shared with me several times about some items he relied upon. So, I decided to follow suit. I obviously was witnessing what it was doing and it was working for him. I did not know if it would work for me at all, and Gravel Worlds was my test ground. I didn't try some of this before at all, and none of it while riding a bike. Dumb? Maybe. Maybe I got away with it because I didn't know I shouldn't! But I think in reality it was more that I had seen the results with Tony and figured I could benefit as well.

  • Flattened Bananas- This actually was a suggestion by a Trans Iowa rider that wasn't able to process any convenience store fare and rode in T.I.v12 on these. They are a Trader Joe's item, and he sent me a couple packages of the stuff after T.I.v12. I opened one package and used food scissors to cut the flattened mass into ribbons and then placed those into sandwich bags for easy on bike eating. 
  • Justin's Almond Butter packets- I found these at a local grocer's natural food aisle and Tony is a big fan of these. 190 calories in each packet. They can be a bit hard to consume because unless you kneed them up inside the packet before opening one they can be a bit dry and thick on one end where the oils separate out from the solids. Make sure you down this with water! But other than that, they work. Not the most pleasant deal, but not terrible either. 
  • Epic Bison and Uncured Bacon meat bars- These are a natural foods aisle score and another thing Tony uses.Not easy to rip open the original packaging while riding, so you may want to pre-open these or better yet, repackage them. This is a form of pemmican, which Native Americans used as an energy source.  
  • Elete electrolytic add in- I have been a fan of Elete for over a decade now after learning about it from my former co-worker and 24 hour solo racer, Jeff Kerkove.  This is a clear-ish liquid that you mix in with water and it keeps your electrolytes in balance. I've never cramped while using this, and it is super easy to pack along and to administer to your water as you are on a ride. 

The Fargo Gen I as used at Gravel Worlds
The Gear: I won't go on about the Fargo, but I did pick the bike due to the Luxy Bar and my left shoulder issue. I also had the Revelate Tangle Bag, (an old, outdated version)on the bike which held some maintenance items if needed and a rain/wind breaker in case the weather went sour or if I had to ride after dark. An old Velocity aluminum water bottle cage, (made in Australia), allowed for a lowered water bottle position due to the design of the cage, which can be adjusted. I was able to pack four large water bottles due to this. The bottle under the down tube carried repair bits, tools, tire levers, a roll of black electrical tape, and a chain tool.

I used a Trelock 950 headlight, a Grateful Red Planet Bike tail light, and Bike Bag Dude Chaff Bags and Garage Bag for storing food, a few more tools, and my cameras. Shifters are Gevenalle with 9 speed Ultegra levers. Long pull levers close up ancient Avid BB-7 calipers on a front Avid rotor and a rear Ashima rotor. Tires and wheels are the same I've had since the Kanza ride. Teravail Sparwoods and Sun-Ringle' Black Flags. The Sparwoods were a mixed bag at Gravel Worlds. There was good and bad things, but I am still not impressed enough to keep them on for anything other than hard, solid based or sandy conditions where they seem to excel.

The one item which I felt was well worth its price, for my ride anyway, was the Cirrus Cycles Body Float seat post. It is a sprung post which is designed to take the edge off bumps and absorb the smaller chatter. It does that so seamlessly when set up properly that I don't even notice it. However; I did notice that I didn't have any issues with washboard surfaces out there. Let me tell you- there was a LOT of washboard out on that course. Many riders were getting jostled around and losing speed when they hit this but I could keep pedaling uninterrupted and not lose speed. I noted this several times during the day. In fact, so did other riders. I heard several comments from other riders on how active the post was as they passed me.

Grinding the final miles into Lincoln. Image by Kevin Fox
Conclusions: The new nutritional idea was a grand slam. No issues with fueling at all, with the exception of one element. That would be my falling asleep/battling sleep issues. I was noting that soda pop seemed to kill this issue. Coke, regular grocery store lime soda, regular grocery store cola, it didn't seem to matter. I suspect it was the kind of sugar that I was getting versus what kind of soda it was. Hmm.... Going to have to work on that part.

There were two other things I ate outside of the basic plan. Beef jerky and one gel that was chocolate and had caffeine, which I was trying as a "wake me up" gel. I cannot recall if it worked though! Ha! That said, I am trying to keep what works here and I will test this out on my next long ride which I hope to do just for fun soon.

On the gear side the wool jersey, base layer, Louis Garneau bibs, and my new, gifted to me Omaha Jackrabbit Hundy hat made by Walz, (Thanks Scott Redd!!) were all flawless. Interesting factoid- I didn't like wearing sun glasses that day. Something about it pestered me in the wrong way, so I ditched them for most of the ride. The Gen I Fargo? Well, no words need to be said there. The Body Float post was awesome. I am super happy I used it.

Okay, any questions? Feel free to hit me up with those in the comments or via e-mail.


glenn said...

Thanks for the nutrition suggestions. I like the "real food" on the bike ideas. Will have to check out the nut butter.

phillip Cowan said...

Great post and especially interesting about the nutrition. We all like hearing about the latest shiny stuff from Shimpagnolram and I'm as guilty as anyone. But let'face it the hardware is pretty good these days. Any serious gains are gonna come from tweaking the "motor". Anyway as you continue to experiment I hope you'll keep us in the loop. Also congrats on your good ride!

MG said...

Agreed... I typically drown out the sleepy time with a Red Bull or a Monster at a gas station stop, or carry some Jelly Belly sport beans in the caffeinated watermelon flavor. They are amazing...

Oh, and the G1 Fargo and BodyFloat seatpost are a solid combo too. Every time I ride that post on a group ride, I get questions or comments about the post from riders who notice how well it works. An increasing number of these folks are turning up on BodyFloat posts of their own now. It's a product that's just starting to gain traction, but is one we'll be talking about for some time to come, I suspect.

Delan said...

I was there riding (I was on the Schwinn haha) and was glad to see your Fargo out there. Love those bikes. I too was trying to avoid the c-store fare with some homemade pb& honey sammies, nuts and raisins. I usually get a Coke going though here and there. I also came across a 'Gatorade' substitute called switchel by old timey farmers. Recipes can be found online but I made a consentrate of apple cider vinegar, honey, ginger and turmeric. Mix this in with water along the way. Definitely restored the gumption. Great write up on the event!

Kevin Collings said...

Those Epic bars are amazing. I carried & ate 2 at Worlds, they served as my on the go lunch. Never needed to stop longer than a few minutes at a time to refill bottles.