Fuel for Long Rides
For your long ride, nutrition is going to play a big role in how well you ride, how you feel after the ride, and how you recover and reap the benefits of that hard training.
For the sake of this article, we’re going to assume that you’re not riding to lose weight. So, the eating that you do is to fuel your performance. We want to give the body what it needs so that it can perform at it’s best.
The night before
If you’re riding early in the morning (about 7am), then the meal you ate the night before is where you’re getting most of your fuel. Saturday night dinner should be mainly a carbohydrate dish (e.g. pasta, rice, potatoes) with some protein (e.g. cheese, chicken, or beans).
Your Energy Drink
Depending on your riding you’ll burn between 550 and 750 calories every hour. Because you don’t want to end up severely depleted, you should start taking in calories the first hour. Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are great to start off your first hour of riding. Have one bottle per hour.
If you have stomach distress that can be from too much sugar in your stomach, if that’s the case try half a bottle per hour plus water or try a different brand of drink.
Along with the sports drink you still need more calories, which you can get from an energy bar, sports beans, gel, or banana. Eat something every hour to keep your energy reservoir from completely depleting. You can ride on sports drinks alone for rides less than 40 miles or 2 hours.
Study Your Body
How much every hour? That is up to you. Monitor what you’re doing now and how you’re feeling. Everyone is different and the long training rides you’re doing now is not only to prepare your legs for Tour de Simcha, but an opportunity to fine tune your nutrition plan and see what works best for you.
If you’re feeling sluggish and weak towards the end of the ride then you probably need some more calories.
In the 30 minutes after your ride your body is like a sponge eagerly waiting to soak up good calories and start the regeneration process. It’s a small window of time that you want to get 200-300 calories of mostly carbs and some protein (the optimal ratio is 4:1 but you don’t need to be that meticulous). A peanut butter sandwich, energy bar, or a bowl of cereal are all great options.
Your recovery meal isn’t lunch. Go back to your regular healthy eating for the rest of your meals. As with every diet, have a variety of fruits and vegetables everyday and keep away from the junk food.
We all have different needs and it’s important to find what combination works best for you. When you ride Tour de Simcha you should know what your body needs that day to keep you working at peak performance.
If you have any questions on this, please leave it in the comments below. Any questions on other topics can be sent to MarkIzhak@gmail.com with Tour de Simcha in the subject line.
Mark Izhak, RD
Tour de Simcha Coach