Published by Nick Clark, July 25, 2018
One of the first things a new cyclist learns is that without on-bike food and fluids, you can't pedal very far or very fast. Here's what to eat and drink on rides of various lengths for stronger rides.
Short Rides •Ride Duration: 1 hour or less •Primary Concern: Fluid replenishment •What to Drink:
Plain water or a low-carb, electrolyte hydration drink •What to Eat: Most people start with enough stored energy for a 60-minute workout, but carry a banana just in case you’re out longer than expected or you start to fade.
•Bonus Tip: For optimal recovery, eat a full meal within an hour of finishing an intense workout.
Medium-Length Rides •Ride Duration: 1 to 3 hours •Primary Concern: Carbohydrate replenishment •What to Drink:
2 bottles low-carb, electrolyte hydration drinks, at least •What to Eat: 30 to 60g of carb per hour from food. •Bonus Tip: Don’t wait until your hungry or thirsty to eat and drink. Take small nibbles and sips from the get-go.
Longer Rides •Ride Duration: 3 hours or more •Primary Concern: Carbohydrate and electrolyte replenishment; food boredom •What to Drink:
2 bottles low-carb, electrolyte hydration drinks, at least •What to Eat: 30 to 60g of carbs per hour, total. Digestion can get harder as rides get longer, so eat more solids at the beginning of the ride, and switch to blocks, chews, and other easily digested foods during the final part of the ride. Just be sure to drink plenty of fluid to chase down gels, so you don’t get GI upset.
•Bonus Tip: Supplement bars and gels with carb-rich, low-protein, moderate-fat “real” foods. Don't worry about specific amounts of protein or fat; just eat what tastes good so you keep eating.