cycling + nutrition

Eileen about to go for a ride

In preparing for the Best Buddies Challenge 100 mile ride in 3 weeks, I have been asked by many about how and what to eat on the bike. The answer I give is pretty simple. I eat what fuels me and what settles in my stomach the best. It is all about trial and error. I have played around with different foods and liquids over the past several years and have finally found a good combination that works for me. Remember that everyone is unique and what works for one may not work for another.

Before I start my training for the day, I like to start out with eating a well balanced nutritious meal - oatmeal with walnuts and raisins, a splash of skim milk, and a dash of sweetener. This is my all time favorite pre-training breakfast. It gives me the energy I need to get going and fuel my body for the hard work to come.

During a long training ride, I consume 200 cals per hour in the form of liquid as well as gels. Throughout the duration of the ride I also eat solid food in energy bars, nuts, or sometimes a PB&J sandwich. I like to make sure that I am never at any point super hungry. Once you hit this point of being overly hungry, you risk the chance of bonking. Bonking, also know as "hitting the wall", is not fun. To avoid this, I monitor how much I eat by keeping track of the time I am out on my bike. Make sure to hydrate even more if it is hot out.

riding along

Have fun out there....Cheers to safe riding!!

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Do you use S!Caps, or another form of sodium, to replace electrolytes? I have a hard time with the sports drinks: I don’t actually like salt and they make me feel icky. But I am a “salty” and “heavy” sweater (that is not a garment) so I really need to get it in. I take one before a workout, and then at LEAST one per hour, depending. Where do you store your PBJ when you’re riding?!? Gonna get kinda squishy in my bento box ….


Comment by Connie — September 16, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

Love these tips! I am training for my first century ride (next wknd in SLO County!!) and found for long rides that I need to consume and drink waaaay more than expected. I break up the long rides by times I need to consume/ drink. Found that alternating a slug of water w/ a slug of my elecrolite-enhanced beverage every 15-20 min. and eating something every 20 miles (I use Starburst fruit chews instead of Clif Blocks/GU and Greens protein bars as the fuel) works well. My recovery drink is always coconut water – natural beverage, no additives or sugar and more potassium than a banana!

Comment by Lauren Clapperton — September 17, 2009 @ 8:18 am

Hi Connie,
I do use salt tabs when it is super hot out and I am riding for more than a couple of hours. I find that my gels, blocks, bars, and drinks contain enough sodium for me. But if you are a heavy sweater, then salt tabs will definitely do the trick. Good Luck!

P.S. I store my PB&J in my back jersey pocket. It works well ;-)

Comment by ESwanson — September 17, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

NICE bike! Powermeter?

Comment by Jorge — September 18, 2009 @ 8:25 am

Hi Jorge,
No powermeter in that pic ;-)

Comment by ESwanson — September 18, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

I like the idea of tracking food intake by time. For centuries, I have adopted the routine of drinking every 10 minutes and making sure I eat at every rest stop. Makes it simple for me to follow.
I learned this the hard way at my first Livestrong Challenge

Comment by Marty Sliwicki — September 23, 2009 @ 9:38 am

Sweet bike!!! Specialized? Good luck on your upcoming ride. BTW have you heard of or tired Infinit Nutrition (personalized drink mix company)? If so, what are your thoughts? I know as an athlete myself that what works for one does not necessarily work for the masses, but it’s always good to bounce ideas off of others and experiment in training to find what works for you. Well again, best wishes :o)

Comment by Leslie — September 23, 2009 @ 10:10 am

Hi Leslie,

Thanks! It’s actually a Kuota Kueen K. I love it. Yes I actually have a couple of athletes that I coach currently using Infinit Nutrition. The great thing about Infinit is that you can design your own drink, with the specific amount of protein and carbs that you prefer. My athletes swear by it and have had no stomach issues with it either. Give it a shot and see how it works for you in training first.


Comment by E Swanson — September 23, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

Indeed what works for one may not work for the other. I myself hate PB&J sandwiches. I prefer to bring 2 bananas and lots and lots of energy bars. I’m a Gatorade fan but I’m willing to try out the coconut water. I’ve heard they’re good for the kidneys too. Where can I get one?

Comment by Pedals Cycling — November 18, 2010 @ 2:07 am

Hi this one is great and is related stuff and is very much useful for me. Very well written I appreciate & must say good job. Really a good post. I think it will help me a lot in the

Comment by cycling training dvd — December 23, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

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