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Nutrition for longer rides have many options. Here is one that has worked for me.

I haven’t always used a powder in water for my race nutrition, but since several years ago when I switched, I haven’t looked back.

As I learned more about the human body, it made sense that we need to fuel on longer rides. Just like your car, once the fuel tank is empty it stops, so once you have depleted your body of onboard fuel, you too would come to a stop (well our shut down process is a little less abrupt than a car but there is not much worse in a race situation than having your power drop out and you very quickly discover you can no longer sustain any intensity (also know as bonking or hitting the wall).

Our body has more than one fuel source, but the most effective for fueling exercise like bike racing or endurance training is carbohydrates. Some enter the blood stream quicker than others too. Gels for example great for an emergency situation to dump a fuel load into your body quickly but you may find they burn up faster also.

Foods have been given a glycemic index that rates the rate of release into your blood stream. High GI foods are like the gels mentioned above. Low GI foods are better for a slower release sustaining longer less intense efforts. A good example of this is a low sugar porridge which makes a great breakfast on race day.

Efforts longer than the fuel you can store in your body require you to add fuel along the way too.  This is best done at regular intervals rather than attempting consume a large in one intake. I tell my athletes consume early and consume small amounts often (from 20 minutes into the ride) as once you have a fuel deficit, they can be hard and often impossible to make up causing your performance to decline.

The rate your body can consume carbs varies too, but the good news is this can be trained. This makes it important to train with your preferred food source not only to test that it doesn’t upset your stomach (so don’t try new a nutrition product which are quite often made available by event sponsors on race day) but to practice digesting carbohydrates on the bike.

The average human will typically digest 60-70g of carb per hour. More recently we have seen elite athletes who have trained their digestive system consume up to 120g per hour providing them with a huge advantage when burning carbs at a rapid rate over extended periods of time.

There are also other things the body needs for these extended periods of exercise. Top of that list would be water. This plays several important functions when exercising, one of which is cooling the body. The most effective ways the body has to cool itself is by sweating, where as the sweat is evaporated from your skin the heat exchange in turn cools the body. When you sweat you also lose important minerals hence the need to replenish electrolytes on the longer rides too. It would make sense that the hotter the day the more rapidly you will lose these from your body too.

So short of carrying a supermarket full of supplies, how and when will you get all of this in whilst riding a bike? Fortunately there companies around like Infinite Nutrition which products specifically designed to mix into your water to replenish all these elements at once. I use a product called GoFar that over the years I have been able to customise to not only my taste preference but have gradually dialled up the carb per serving my body can digest, without issue. Their online custom blending allows you to fine tune the mix and save it to your account for future reuse of further tuning ongoing.

If you would like to give their products a go, we have a discount code you can use being MBCB which will give you 10% off. They mix it fresh in the Sunshine Coast and deliver it all in a couple of days from your order, so it’s super convenient too. They have other products too so check out their website for other nutrition products and level up your fuelling in the future.

Discount code MBCB.

Feel free to share the code as we are always happy to know more riders are getting the nutrition they need to fuel their pursuits.

Happy (long) trails!

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