Fuel before v early endurance rides

Firstly - I’m amazed that I couldn’t find a topic on this already so if I missed something in search, my apologies.

I simply cannot do z2/3 endurance/tempo/base rides indoors and over winter tend to get up at 4-5am, out of the door asap, and ride my session for 3-4hrs in the mostly dark and cold and wet, in the name of fitting in with family. I’ve years of base in my legs and don’t do a vast amount of pure z2 bumbling, preferring to sprinkle in a few z3/4 blocks into z2 rides. This generally requires a bit of food!

I would prefer not to get up even earlier for the usual bowl of oats or other frequently tipped pre-ride fuel. Are there any other clever solutions out there?

As a younger man I’d tend to go out straight out of bed with a caffeine gel and eat some whole food bars on the road after 60-90mins. I’ve got out of the rhythm of that and predictably feel stronger on the bike and less frequently run down ill.

I could do with losing 5kg of middle age spread over the winter to get going with my goal next year of maintaining similar watts but lightening the load - so is the answer to HTFU like my younger self and ride low?

I go low only up to 1h recovery rides. Everything else is fully fueled – it is not just for this single ride but because of improved recovery and for all the next workouts. Fasted ride may provide some minor gain but high-quality intervals are definitely major gain :slight_smile:

EDIT: looked up, with my moderate FTP, even 1h IF 0.45 ride spends 420kcal. Even if I consume as much as possible (~300kcal/h), I’ll be still in calorie deficit.

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I fuel anything over one hour or with any intensity. I also cycle very early in the morning and never eat anything before getting on the bike. I am always drinking from my bottle (carbs) as soon as I’m on, though, shooting for 90+ g/hr.

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Yes, I always have 70-140g of carbs per rides lasting 60-90mins in the morning. I also make sure the food is low fiber and usually have a sugary sports drink or even maple syrup with water and salt. I do that for all rides early in the morning.
Don’t diet on the bike, you can diet the rest of the day.
Some good tips in this thread tooo……

Malto/Fructose/Sodium mix in bottles is the simple solution. Make it the night before. Have a quick shot of sugar (gel, syrup, honey, whatever you prefer) just before you leave the house.

If you’ve fueled well the day before (i.e. enough to recover muscle glycogen from the previous day’s workout) then only your liver glycogen is low in the morning. You can get by with a little snack and intra-workout fueling. I do the same thing every day of the week (o’ dark thirty trainer sessions and endurance rides) and its fine.

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For 4 hours? People keep answering based on their daily workout. He’s asking about fueling for a 4 hour long ride.

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My intra-workout fueling is 75-90g/hr. Intra = within. I didn’t specify what rates people should do as that is individual preference. I’m not in the ‘fasted’ camp, nor the if you have less than 120g/hr you’ll die camp.

My long endurance rides might be clif bar as I’m getting dressed and 75-90g/hr starting as the wheels start rolling and lasting for the full 4-5 hrs.

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Sounds like we’re in the same camp. I misunderstood your first comment.

Maybe I’m just lucky but for a true Z2 I never really get any stomach troubles while eating within an hour of the ride. So about 500cals worth of overnight oats and no issues with it. It’s only when doing harder intervals that I might get some issues.

If you really can’t eat in the morning, make sure you’re well fueled before you go to bed and make sure you start consuming as soon as you get on the bike (90+ grams of carbs an hour should be a good aim).

Don’t worry about your weight while riding, it’s hard to eat more then you burn on the bike, even in zone 2.

My experience (mostly from being a lazy morning-averse bum who won’t wake up before absolutely necessary) is that a fairly high-carb snack before bed and something smaller in the morning usually works well for longer rides, assuming you’re fuelling adequately and early throughout. Usually toast or cereal in the evening and something like a clif bar or banana on the bike while I’m warming up, but if you’ve got something that’s worked well for you in the past I wouldn’t hesitate to try that again- a caffeine gel certainly isn’t going to break the calorie bank on long ride day, and I’d argue that both performance and weight loss would be better served by reducing intake elsewhere in your diet.

My theory, and I am definitely no expert, if you fast before a ride or under fuel your body craves food post ride and you end up eating more.

With my outdoor rides I tend to have everything ready the night before and I get dressed whilst the microwave is heating the porridge. I’ve basically cut prep time down to a minimum so I don’t have to get up too early either.

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Looks to me you’re under fueling during rides. Try and build up to 90gr of carbs per hour. You’ll still be in a caloric deficit. To lose weight is not to starve yourself but to ride with more power output, and to do that you need to fuel

If you keep it low Z2 (nose breathe) for the first hour you can just go fasted and then start fuelling on the ride after an hour… Just do your Z2 first.

As you’ve recognised it’s the Z3/4 blocks are driving your need to fuel the ride not 4 hours of Z2. Try and have a good feed before you go to bed , then top up with snacks during your ride.

Muscle glycogen storage is approx 1600 cals when fueled up. So 90-120 mins of hard riding.
Just eat the day/night before.

When I lived in France a six hour ride was espressos at the cafe at the start, then you had two baguettes in your jersey pockets one with jam, the other goats cheese & aged sausage and you’d eat as required.
Along with dates & almonds.Happy days and a pizza at the end with beer and chips.