Carb storage for unsupported ultra races

Definitely envious of your regular population centres in Europe/much of the US. My planned ride this saturday has a ~200k stretch between “towns.”

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Heed is full of shit. They call maltodextrin “complex carbs” even though its glycemic index is equal to or higher than glucose. They like many others are letting marketing run their business, not the science

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200 km could be either a day (or even two) or just 7 hours - depending on terrain or surface. Certainly doesn’t stop you from regular carb-intake. You just have to know how long you go between refueling possibilities and stock up accordingly.

I get (or guess) what you trying to transport though - having a) experienced being on low energy levels and being able to continue nevertheless and don’t indulge in self-pity and succumbing into the situation and probably a bit more into b) being metabolically flexible to also have an as optimal as you can fat metabolism.

The latter is twofold:

  • i) having a rather low VLa max which is part disposition, part can be trained. And the part which can be trained could be trained more efficient with low-carb rides. But this is still up for debate or rather, that is not for anybody and even for individuals which do indeed react in a positive way on this (and this is not everybody) you have to be careful with the dose of such rides. Result: when in doubt, don’t do it. If you do, you may chase the 2 or 3 % and by doing this desturbing the 97 % you would have safe if you fuel yourself before, during and after your training rides.

ii) being metabolically flexible means just this - don’t disturb your capability to run your glycolytic processes by trying fasted etc. rides (all the time). Instead, use it sparingly. Also here: when in doubt, just don’t do it.

You might want to read some papers from Asker Jeukendrup if you haven’t already. I consider him good input in that topic.

Here would be a podcast episode with him I can recommend: Are There Benefits to Carbohydrate Manipulation? With Dr. Asker Jeukendrup
Ep. 150 of the Fast Talk Podcast (Fast Talk podcast with Chris Case and Trevor Connor)

Agreed, both with your points and your summary of what I’m trying to express.

I just ran into this situation again over the weekend. A routine solo 300k ride (goal ~9h of Z2, with a 30min threshold effort in the middle during a climb) turned disastrous when a significant deviation in the weather from the forecast left me stranded in a hotel in a small town with no food available beyond what I had left on me and eating the sugar and milk packets from a coffee machine… Having not brought night-riding supplies, I was left with a very small window of appropriate weather to get home the next day, which required departing before 5am, and riding for 3 hours on an empty stomach before any stores opened up to get food.

Again, in no way a “normal” situation, but a good example of the sort of nonsense you can run into on long rides despite careful planning, and how some sort of preparation for biking in a carb depleted state can (hopefully) help you.

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In the greatest irony of ironies (in my very small sport-nutritionist mind) many of the supplements that are principally maltodextrin are marketed as “complex” or “not sugar.” Maltodextrin is viewed virtually identically as sugar by the pancreas, and other organs responsive to sugar because by the time it hits the blood stream (just as fast as pure sucrose, dextrose, or fructose) it is already fully broken down. The same thing is true for things like highly branched cyclic dextrin or just branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD & BCD). Body responds to it just like sugar. The primary reason any of them are used is actually to enhance the speed and ease of absorption in the gut (there are better ways and no it’s not worth your money), but the irony there is that is precisely the purpose of plain sugar too!

The fact that Hammer vilifies sugar but promotes maltodextrin is sheer hilarity to me.

I would just pack more sucrose especially if the ride was mostly flatter. I almost always over-pack our (wife and my) water bottles with sucrose and sodium citrate, because invariably something goes awry and elongates our rides, sometimes substantially. I may also be misunderstanding a portion of your particular scenario.

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Yeah, I’d packed light based on the assumption that I was not going to be out that long, and there were multiple stores on the route. Didn’t pan out, and was in a hotel from mid-afternoon till early the next morning with no meals, then rode for 3 hours the next morning on an empty stomach, until things started opening at 8am. 0/10, do not recommend at all.

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Bruuutal. Fat oxidation ability is useful for you for sure if that’s a feasible situation (clearly is!).