Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fuel for the Ride

     Cycling, being a rigorous and energy taxing sport, requires consistent fueling both on and off the bike. Personally, I tend to take more of an old-school approach to fueling on the bike and do not eat if I am riding for three hours or less. Also, I will only drink water. However, while taking part in high intensity workouts, races, or rides of three hours or more, I must take on enough fuel to avoid the dreaded "bonk." "Bonking" or "hitting the wall" is feared by all cyclists and occurs when the human body is ill-prepared and not able to sustain a particular level of intensity for an extended period of time. In order to avoid breaking down, I suggest a few different types of foods and methods to absorb calories during a ride. Companies including CLIF, Hammer Nutrition, Gu Energy Labs, PowerBar, Skratch Labs, and Osmo Nutrition, all provide cycling nutrition supplements and recommendations on how many calories and how much liquid  to take on board per hour. In my experience, fueling is strictly personal and no one knows the limit of your body better than you.
     While cycling, many people will consume a mixture of whole foods, bars, gels, and liquid fuel to continue advancing. Below, I have listed a variety of foods and drinks to assist in helping you feel better and last longer on your next ride. These are only recommendations and some options may work better than others. I tend to eat a wide variety of foods throughout the course of a ride for both variety and pleasure.

Whole Foods/Non-Cycling Company Branded Food:
-Rice Cakes
-Bananna
-Apple slices
-Fig Newtons
-Salt and Vinegar Chips
-Snickers
-Flat Coca-Cola

Cycling Related Foods:
-Bars
-Gels
-Blocks
-Energy Bites
-Drink mix
CLIF Bar, Hammer Nutrition Gels, PowerBar Energy Shots, and CLIF Blocks
     During your next adventure, try to consume a wide variety of foods with sustainable energy, (rice cakes, bars) mixed in with instant energy (Snickers, gels, blocks). Hammer Nutrition provides wonderful starting points for both food and liquid consumption. The recommendations may be viewed here. For any additional questions on proper nutrition and fueling throughout the course of a cycling ride please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading.