Eat every 45min? 6-7 hour ride

Trying to nail my food intake, planned a century+ this Saturday and being completely self-reliant. Will make stops at gas stations every 2 hours (so 3 stop approx), and have a frame bag to carry all the food and some tools for mechanicals.

Anyway: trying to find out EXACTLY how much I should eat. Did three centuries so far and my strategy has been: eat an extreme amount a carbs day prior (rice, oatmeal, and candy) to stock up carbs. In the morning, large portion oatmeal (75g) and three boiled eggs, for a head start. And then I start eating 1h30-2h in.

But it has been suggested you should eat every 30 minutes… but if you are just doing Endurance, Tempo max in terms of power… is it really necessary?

I was planning to eat about 40g carbs every 45mins. Is that such a stupid idea? I weigh 73kg and the advice is 1g of carb of every kg of body weight per hour… but I am only doing endurance/tempo…

I take a gel every 20-30mins (depending on ride)
30g carbs/gel 2:1mix


2 gels before hand & gel every 45 mins with carb drink in between works for me during 100 mile TTs.


If you’re doing it at Z2-3 I think there’s a pretty big margin for error as at that intensity you can get a lot of your energy from fat burning, and it’s easy enough that your stomach will be quite forgiving on what and how much you eat.

I’ve done those kind of rides with a “little and often” approach, e.g. just having things like jelly babies, Haribo or dates in my jersey pockets and popping a few in my mouth frequently to keep the carbs constantly topped up. I’ve also done the complete opposite where I’ve pretty much only got water and an emergency gel with me on the bike, and then do 1 or 2 big stops where I take on a load of calories in one go. Which is a terrible idea if you’re pushing the pace hard as a) you might be running low on carbs before you even get to the first stop and b) when you’re going hard your body doesn’t have a lot of bandwidth for digestion so that food is likely to just sit uncomfortably in your stomach for quite a while. But can be fine for a steady day when you’re not in a rush.

If you’re looking to optimise nutrition, maybe with an eye on racing those kind of distances at some point, then little and often is the way to go, and that probably means more like every 20-30 minutes rather than every 45. Gels are convenient though personally I hate the things and only use them on race days or in emergencies. Carb loading with candy the day before probably isn’t a great idea either! I would stick to the rice and oatmeal the day before and save the candy for during the ride.


If you’re not racing, don’t over complicate it. Grab a couple of bars or whatever you like, eat them now and then, have a lunch break at the half-way point or a bit after (cafe stop or just buy some real food in a shop), then ride back home, eating again now and then.



And no “extreme carb loading” the night before.


Why not?

For a 6hr ride thats 12-18 Gels :open_mouth:

Fair play if it works for you but no way could I take that many. For me a mix of bars / food. I take 2-3 gels “in case emergency” but rarely use them


Thanks for all the input. Will try the gummy bears + 30min 30g carbs + NO sweets day before.

But why is it important to eat more frequently but less, if you even out the carbs over time? I mean your body can store 45carbs right? Or is that pushing the limit already. I think most sources I can find say you can store “for up to 1h-1h30 of riding”, which should amount to approach 30-60g cars than (1g per minute exercise approx).

I have been training with the Gels that I intend racing with, to get my gut trained - it makes a big difference.
Also I keep my salt, fluid, and carbs separate - I often race in hot parts of Europe - so that way I find it easier to control.

Also, being a triathlete, I have to run a marathon when I get off the bike, so I aim to try and keep the gels going on at least part of the run


As I said, fair play if it works (I’m not criticising you)

Genuie question; for an Ironman, maybe 5hrs on the bike (10-15 gels) and then a 4hr marathon, another (8-12) making maybe 18-27 over an event :open_mouth:. Do you use zero bars and just gels? all the same brand or a mix?


figure out how long you’re going to ride, at what power, roughly.
Get that figure converted to Kcal.
Figure out how much of that is going to come from your pre-ride meal, how much you will eat on the ride, and how much you will need to replenish after.
As mentioned, it’s pretty forgiving at this intensity.
my +1 experience:
Last time i did a ride in the 100k region, i had a large breakie, a couple of cliff bars, a pack of cliff bloks, a gel before my climb, and a bottle of mix. And then a large lunch when I got back.
Every 30 mins i was eating something, roughly.

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I wish i was that fast :laughing:

I have recently switched to Torq Gels. I mix flavors. It is one of the few brands where I like the taste.
I do hilly races 7-10k ft climbing and I am not built for climbing so I am 6-6.5hrs on a bike (5.5 on flatter races.) So 18+ gels on a bike, then whatever I can cope with on the run - before switching to cola / redbull

I do carry sport jelly beans for a change /treat. Also (on the run) eat salted crackers (it was almost 40 deg [100+f] last year i needed more salt)

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Just before the start I’ll take down ~20g of carbs…usually a gel. I have a timer set on my GPS unit to go off every 20 minutes & eat 25g to 30g of carbs every time the timer goes off.

My advice is don’t wait 90 minutes to start eating.

HOWEVER this is the type of thing you should not be changing on the day of the event if performance is important to you. If your method/plan has worked for you up to now you probably shouldn’t change it. Reserve that type of experimentation for training!

Just in my normal state I can’t take down 100+ grams of carbs per hour. There needs to be a couple weeks of gut training before I can do that w/o some gastric distress.


I am gluten and lactose intolerant, so I make everything from scratch, and I don’t use gels for that reason. I could make my own gel. I use my variation of GCN’s energy bar recipe by Si (16 portions about 30g carbs):

  • 300g gluten free oats
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 150g coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons Van Gilse caramel syrup (Dutch brand)
  • 3 tablespoons 100% peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons apple syrup (for some extra iron)
  • 2 tablespoon honey

According to cronometer and based on the brands I use, 1 bar out of 16 equals about:

  • 1010kj / 241 kcal
  • 12g fat
  • 28.5g carbs (18.3g sugar)
  • 2.4g fiber
  • 3.4g protein
  • 1.3 mg iron

In addition, I prefer to use endurance drinks by Bye, but since it is cold, I will start first 2 hours with fresh mint tea from fresh mint leaves with 1 tablespoon of honey in every bidon (2x 700ml). On the assumption with my body weight and temperature (1-5 celsius) I should drink about 479ml per hour, I will make it to my first top in about 2h15.

Furhermore, at gas stations, I probably get myself a coke with sugar (330ml), and perhaps if I want something savory, I’ll get myself a small bag of natural potato ships (just potato and salt).

And I will bring some tea bags so I can make another round of tea + sugar (hot water from gas station). OR if the sun is truly shining, I will pour in endurance drink from BYE with just bottled water.

I also bring some gluten free spiced bisquits (6.5g per cookie) and gummy bears. I bought a top-mounted frame bag to carry extra food (I believe it is 1.5liter big).

And in total I will bring 12 of my home-made energy bars (see above), 8 of which I stuff in that bag and 4 on my back.

EDIT: for the feeling of lunch (I don’t need it, did 2 centuries without, but wanna try it): 2 slices of gluten free bread and 1 slice of goat cheese (less sensitive to it) with plant butter (about 30-35g carbs and some fat).

I don’t think I can put more food in my mouth in that time, unless I add more liquids. I assume I will be topped off: energy bars + coke + honey tea + endurance drink + bread lunch + gummy bears + bisquits.

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For long rides I multiply hours by 90g of carbs to know how much to carry. I aim for 80-100g of carbs and hour and find that with this I finish strong and recover faster. That does mean a ton of food for a 5-6 hour ride. Jersey pockets are bulging. I use a top tube bag and empty several bags of chews into it. That allows me to “graze” as I ride - popping a chew or two every 5 min or so (my stomach likes this better than trying to down a entire bag of chews at once). I then add a gel or bar/waffle every 30 min or so. That combined with my hydration carbs gets me to my goal. I also carry extra single servings of hydration mix so I can buy water at stops and refill bottles.


There’s no need to go crazy the night before, just make sure you have a well balanced meal which is carb focused and make sure you’ve drunk enough.

Have a carb focused breakfast, skip the eggs, they won’t help but allow plenty of time for it to digest before you start the ride.

Eat little and often, it depends on the pace but I would rather eat a little more than a little less as there’s nothing worse than running out of energy miles from home. Gels, bars, energy drink will all do the job, keep the carb content high and the fat low. Oh, don’t wait for 90 min before you start eating, have something every 20-30 minutes. Focus on hydration too, as it can easily be forgotten especially in cooler conditions.

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I tend to keep it very simple.

My last 2 outdoor rides have been 110-120k (so 3.5-4 hour efforts, average power high-ish Z2) and they have been fuelled by a large bowl of cereal and a couple of espressos for breakfast, a large bag of jelly babies on the bike, and 2 bidons of water with electrolyte powders.

I made sure I sip from the bottles every 15mins or so and had 2-3 jelly babies every 20 mins or so. On a hot day I’d need to stop somewhere to refill the bidons.

If I was going much longer than that I’d probably stop via a cafe, refill the bidons, and get another espresso and a slice of cake :rofl:

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For me, I found that having solid food in the first couple hours helps. I usually eat my wife’s heavy duty oatmeal cookies, broken up in small pieces. I tried doing a very long ride with only gels, but found that my stomach felt very empty. Just my 2 cents.