There’s no shortage of advice on what to eat for breakfast, and indeed the importance of breakfast in general. But, I have a problem. For as long as I can remember I have never been able to eat much, if any, breakfast. My stomach just can’t take food until I’ve been up and about for a 90 mins or more.
I’ve battled it; before setting out on a ride I’ve forced down a bit of toast and half a banana and sometimes been OK after about 30 minutes of feeling rough, but some days I’m distinctly not OK (I don’t think further details are needed:) ). If it’s a big ride like a gran fondo then I get a bit of The Fear too, which just makes the situation even worse. On one tragic day I abandoned what would have been an incredible event that I’d been building up to for months because of this issue.
So, I have to get around this. I’ve got to grips with the fact I just can’t get up, get dressed and eat. During the week when I’m at work I now skip breakfast entirely and I feel fine, I get by on black tea or coffee until around midday, then I eat a normal lunch.
Before a morning ride I have 2 strategies. Option 1, get up 2 hours earlier, use the time to get bike and kit ready etc and then in due course I can eat something and get out on the ride. When it’s a big gran fondo with a really early start this is hard to do, but it’s possible. Option 2, start the ride and eat when I feel like it. This works fine when on my own, and on low stress club rides it also works because I can get up a little earlier, ride to the meeting point and eat a bit of sandwich while I wait for the others, by this time I’ll have been up long enough so I can start to eat. I get a few comments, but it’s all in good humor. I take a bottle with a carb drink which also helps, I can tolerate drinking that as soon as I’m moving. If I remember to eat regularly I’m fine on moderate paced 4 to 5 hour rides.
I can’t think of any other options. I’ve mentioned this to other riders before and been met with looks of disbelief, to most other humans the idea of physically not being able to eat any breakfast is a concept they can’t grasp. Sure, a lot of people say eating super early before a big ride isn’t great, but they can manage. I’m surprised though, I would have thought at least some riders must get this, especially on a stressy day. Am I really alone? If anyone has any advice based on a similar experience I’d be really interested.