“What in the world are we supposed to eat while we train to ride 200 miles?” I’ve heard this question time and again from the many women I know who are doing Tour de Pink for the first time to take their bodies back from cancer.
I had the unfortunate experience of learning what it felt like to have my body run out of fuel on a bike ride recently. This experience is often referred to by cyclists as “bonking” or “hitting a wall.” No matter what cute name you give it – it sucks.
So, this is how I understand it: We are supposed to eat a big breakfast before we go on a long ride, which is counter-intuitive from everything we were taught as kids. Remember having to sit by the pool and wait an hour after eating lunch? And now they’re telling me I’m supposed to eat a large meal before I exercise … Ok, strange, but I’ll go with it.
You are also supposed to eat EVERY HOUR. Deciding to eat every hour would be fine with me if I could stop and enjoy a nice meal. But that’s NOT what this means. You are supposed to eat something WHILE you are riding, every hour. Very different.
Again, it really contradicts everything we learned as children. But, I don’t want to repeat myself.
I’ve also found that everyone seems to have a different magical food choice for these on-the-go meals. Some people keep it real with a granola bar they keep in their jersey pocket. Other people go to the extreme with this substance called GU. It comes in a pouch and has the consistency of slime – and you’re supposed to eat it willingly every hour.
I’ve been told that after a long ride you should eat protein and drink a lot of water. I understand a beer is also fine since it has calories, which makes me happy.
Back to my unfortunate experience of learning the hard way the importance of keeping your body fueled …. I “bonked” on a 30-mile ride and, thank God, was surrounded by experienced riders. I had no idea what was happening to me … the next thing I knew they were shoving this GU stuff down my throat. I wasn’t happy at first, but then I felt my senses starting to come back. I thanked the owner of the GU for sharing his magical jello shot with me.
My plan is to try the GU Chomps since the chomps seem to be more like eating gummy bears (more my style) … and maybe a granola bar … ‘cause going old school is just more fun sometimes.
Any other ideas on fuel for us newbie cyclists?