Fueling your ride - how do you carry enough food?

make a good dinner the night before, a good breakfast the day, of your ride. And then I always take a bar or gel per hour.

Just concentrate your drinks more. If you’re not sweating much or drinking much, you can probably tolerate >20% net concentration. I’ll often have 400g carbs in a front bottle and water in a rear bottle. Zefal Magnum Bottles (32oz)

Front bottle acts like a gel. Chase with water.

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You can try a drink mix that contains a high concentration of carbs, but bear in mind these things can be rough on the stomach. They are great, though. I use Skratch Superfuel, 400 cal’s/100g carbohydrate per big bottle. But I found through practice that I need to pair it with plain water and solid foods. The key is to practice with any new nutrition products and find the mixture that works best for you. It’s really darn cool when you find something that works and you are energetic at the end of a 12 hour ride!

I am not trying to be particularly aero, being primarily a long-distance mountain biker, but I use this top tube bag which boasts that it can fit 2000 calories, and I can attest to that:


This seems excessive, are u racing all the time?

I have this one and quite like it: FASTFUEL DRYBAG X | Topeak

I’ve only used it on a couple of much-longer-than-usual rides, but it worked well and meant I could ride without having my jersey pockets fully loaded - a great feeling, I think it helps with comfort on the longer rides. I also used some adhesive protectors on the frame so that the base wouldn’t rub the paint, but it probably isn’t really necessary.

That’s pretty consistent with established recommendations.


50-60g/hr is under-dosing for rides >2.5hr.


How can there be a recommendation without knowing the intensity of the ride? If it is a race or a hard ride, I can see the case for >60g. Otherwise it seems the rider is not adapted.

Good question.

Intensity matters little in determining fueling needs. In fact highest intensities probably merit tempered fueling approaches to prevent GI distress. For virtually all on this forum, fueling the entire kcal burn of their training with carbohydrate is impossible because most folks burn upwards of 400kcal per hour and won’t do 100g/hr. The average power to burn 60g of carbs per hour on the bike is very very low. And it’s be best possible time to maximize glycogen repletion due to higher glut4 activity.

Not sure what you mean here. Want to elaborate?


The problem is you can have days worth of energy stored in fat, but once you blow through the ~2k calories worth of glycogen, it won’t matter, your body won’t let you continue. You can never run completely on fat. Regardless of the IF

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Up the short legs- can fit 2 either side- easy access! Then more in the pockets and one pocket as my ‘bin’/ Get’s pretty jazzy in there by the end.

I could be mistaken, but just looking at my history, the fitter I get, the more I can ride at my aerobic threshold (LT1) without being so carb dependent. Take today’s 2650cal ride as an example. I ate:

  • Normal meal the night before at 7:30pm
  • Breakfast: A bit of pasta, an apple and tea with cream. = 50g carbs
  • During the ride: 2 Sis Bars + 2 Sis Gels + 1 banana = 110g of carbs

According to your measurements 60g * 5 hours = 300g. And you think that’s underdosing!!. That is waayy too much for me. I ended up the ride feeling ok, with enough juice to do one 925w sprint right at end of the ride. I haven’t been riding for that long, so in a sense I’m probably average at best. If want to do more SST or threshold during the ride, I certainly need to get closer to 1/2 of your recommendations.

Why the mismatch?


I’m not sure there is a mismatch - its totally possible to finish rides that you’ve under fueled. I don’t know that anyone is saying it isn’t possible. It is easier to do this the lower the intensity - for an endurance ride like you linked your RPE will go up, your recovery will take longer and be less efficient, and your overall progress may be put at risk. But it is possible, just not advised


Ok, this is a falsifiable hypothesis worth testing. Thanks for chiming in!.

I take most of my fuel from my drink, but in truth I should eat more. Until my fingertip nerves grow back it’s a bit hard grabbing food on the go though. I usually carry a banana but of late I’ve not been using that on 2-3 hour rides. If it’s a longer ride I’ll force myself to eat a bit of banana every 25miles and probably have a bar to back it up and maybe an emergency gel.

That’s >1000kcal MORE than 300g carbs provides. I’d target 90g/hr for that ride, at least.

Your sprint power may thank you.

We had a saying in my PhD program. “Carbs for the RFD”

RFD = Rate of Force Development.

We used it as an excuse as power athletes to overeat kcal and carbs, but the truth behind the statement is that if you want high peak power output or high supra-threshold power output of any kind, you need a high-carb diet. No better time than during training. Might be the most critical time for muscle retention too, which is key for maximizing 1-60s power.

No need to eat solid food for maximizing performance. FYI. Saving Money as an Endurance Athlete. Totally can eat to fuel. But not needed so don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.


Thanks for the input. I’d appreciate if you could share a reference. :pray:t3:


Copy pasted all below from elsewhere. References throughout! TextExpander is neat. :slight_smile:

Quick summary:

1:1 Glucose:Fructose Ratio Works better than 2:1.

90-150 grams of carbs per hour during exercise may be beneficial. 90 is not the limit.

Sucrose works as well as maltodextrin:fructose, and glucose:fructose 1:1 mixtures. >>90g/hr is optimal

Isotonicity is not as important as meeting carb and hydration needs. Both can be met with hypertonic solutions, greater than 90g/hr.

Detailed how-to guide for intra-workout fueling: (scroll to near bottom)

Running intra-workout fueling, sweetness discussion

Really spelling it out: HOW TO:

Even more how-to, with savings calculations:



Check this out: Pre-Exercise Carbohydrate or Protein Ingestion Influences Substrate Oxidation but Not Performance or Hunger Compared with Cycling in the Fasted State

Nutritional intake can influence exercise metabolism and performance, but there is a lack of research comparing protein-rich pre-exercise meals with endurance exercise performed both in the fasted state and following a carbohydrate-rich breakfast. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of three pre-exercise nutrition strategies on metabolism and exercise capacity during cycling. On three occasions, seventeen trained male cyclists (VO2peak 62.2 ± 5.8 mL·kg−1·min−1, 31.2 ± 12.4 years, 74.8 ± 9.6 kg) performed twenty minutes of submaximal cycling (4 × 5 min stages at 60%, 80%, and 100% of ventilatory threshold (VT), and 20% of the difference between power at the VT and peak power), followed by 3 × 3 min intervals at 80% peak aerobic power and 3 × 3 min intervals at maximal effort, 30 min after consuming a carbohydrate-rich meal (CARB; 1 g/kg CHO), a protein-rich meal (PROTEIN; 0.45 g/kg protein + 0.24 g/kg fat), or water (FASTED), in a randomized and counter-balanced order. Fat oxidation was lower for CARB compared with FASTED at and below the VT, and compared with PROTEIN at 60% VT. There were no differences between trials for average power during high-intensity intervals (367 ± 51 W, p = 0.516). Oxidative stress (F2-Isoprostanes), perceived exertion, and hunger were not different between trials. Overall, exercising in the overnight-fasted state increased fat oxidation during submaximal exercise compared with exercise following a CHO-rich breakfast, and pre-exercise protein ingestion allowed similarly high levels of fat oxidation. There were no differences in perceived exertion, hunger, or performance, and we provide novel data showing no influence of pre-exercise nutrition ingestion on exercise-induced oxidative stress.

Cool! Did you have a question about it?