Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nutritional musings

This came across in the roadbikerider newsletter today:

Cycle through your ride foods.

We subscribe to the nutrition e-newsletter published by Carmichael Training Systems. In each issue we find interesting and helpful information about eating for better performance.

We particularly liked a recent article by Kelly O'Boyle, a registered dietitian who works for CTS. Titled "Make It a Buffet," the article speaks to a problem most of us face on a long ride. That is, eating enough when our stomachs say they're getting sick of the stuff we're sending down.

O'Boyle calls it "food fatigue." It happens when we stick to the same type of food. After a while, taste buds don't like it and the digestive system can't handle it.

The solution, writes O'Boyle, is to cycle through a different nutrition product each hour. Here's her example of an eating plan for a six-hour ride (feel free to substitute foods you like better):

1st hour: 1 bottle of sports drink (20 oz.)
2nd hour: 1 energy bar and 1 bottle of water (20 oz.)
3rd hour: 1 energy gel each 30 minutes and 1 bottle of water (20 oz.)
4th hour: 1 bottle sports drink (20 oz.)
5th hour: 1/2 energy bar and 1/2 bottle of water (10 oz.) plus 1/2 bottle of sports drink (10 oz.)
6th hour: 1 energy gel each 30 minutes and 1 bottle of water (20 oz.)

Caution! "Don't shovel down more than 60 grams of carbs every hour," O'Boyle warns, reminding cyclists not to treat sports drink like calorie-free water. "If you down too much fuel, you'll more than likely experience some uncomfortable gastrointestinal stress.

"This condition kicks in whenever you overdose on carbs, since the stomach can only absorb roughly 50 grams an hour. Any significant excess sits in your stomach waiting to be processed and can leave you feeling like a bloated cow."

Of course, everyone is different. Experience will teach you how many grams per hour your system can handle.

Finally, O'Boyle emphasizes water's importance for digesting gels and energy bars, as well as for staying hydrated. During a long, hot ride, drink more water than the above schedule calls for.
I am wondering if in my race this past weekend I took in too much carbs. I got bloated and queasy, but I've been using the same products as in training. One issue may have been the high intensity. In training I 'try' to go race pace, but it's never like a real race.

But when I think back on the race, maybe I did take in too much carbs. Recently, I've had to get myself to learn how to actually take in enough and had been shooting for 50+ grams carb/hour. But maybe I did take one too many pulls on my gel flask, and maybe the Gatorade was mixed to thick. And maybe not enough water taken with the gel hits.

Several have suggested HEED and I've used the Power bar drink in the past and liked the taste. Oh well, something to keep working on.


At 7:21 PM, Blogger Carol said...

Hey Ashwin -- Questions: I went 11 miles tonight on town trails with David's bike and steep hills are getiing easier! Many questions come to mind while riding, but I will only bug you with three;1) handle bars height may be wrong for me because my hands ache a little and fatigue -- any suggestions? 2) I'm new to all this so forgive, but what is best rule of thumb for gears on a 7 speed bike in a city with hills? 3) Is David's bike suited well enough for black asphalt trails and city streets (Do you recall what kind it is?) Maybe I am going to get a bike of my own in the next few months, that is why I am asking.


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