Help me with fueling please - gels/mixes can upset my stomach

I use Tailwind mix (mainly Naked flavour) as it is very mild, gluten free, dairy free. I can’t do Gels either so use chews, SIS Beta fuel chews, Gu Chews. I can tolerate about 75grams of carbs in a 750ml bottle and top it up with the chews.

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Do you take gels and drink mixes on your shorter rides?

If not, try doing that to build up tolerance, rather than only using them on longer efforts, when your stomach is at its most sensitive state.

Here’s a home brew that’s not too sweet
In a gallon jug mix: 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup honey, 2/3 cup Real Lemmon, 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (you can skip this ingredient if you want). Fill the remainder of the jug with water. Put the 1/3 cup of honey in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it liquid. I’ve been using this mix exclusively for years. I have 2 jugs going at all times.

And my gel is maple syrup for intensive stuff, dates for long endurance rides.

It’s obviously cheaper for you to experiment with home brews to see how your stomach responds.

I’d recommend straight table sugar and pinch of salt, increase the grams per hour each time you are able to stomach it. Maybe start at 40g/hr - Don’t start at 90g bc a magazine said the pros do it.
Also try popping a tums/antacid during the ride. I used to do that when I ate mostly whole food on the bike (PBJ sandwich).

I had gastro issues when I tried to go all-liquid for endurance races (6-11 hours). Tailwind, Infinit, etc would all make be gassy and overly full feeling.

These days I use Skratch in my bottles (mixed on the weak end of the recommendation) and gummies. On slower rides, I’ll add rice bars, or stop for a snack at a 7-11. But solid that I have to chew don’t work for racing - I just can’t chew/swallow while working hard.

tl;dr - it varies by person, and it can take time to figure out what works for you. You’ll have to experiment and take notes over months.

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What you eat the day before and the morning of is as important as what you consume on the bike. I stay away from most fibrous veggies and things that don’t process cleanly and easily, as to avoid bloating or slowed digestion, especially when it comes to races or bigger training days. If your stomach isn’t good on race day it almost doesn’t matter what you put in it. If you are having issues with simple sugars, maltodextrin, fructose, etc (barring some kind of gut issue) then it may actually be something you are eating off the bike that is the culprit and worth checking into.

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@lee82 all my rides are basically “Fasted”. In other words I don’t eat before riding. I get out of bed, I drink some water and get on the bike. I’ve tried a few post lunch rides in the past and it goes pretty horribly. I feel much better fasted, but maybe something light could be a winner for me?

@QuittingBikes Some days I have a gel, some days I do not. Today I did Moose’s tooth -1 and I took an SiS gel right before the 4th interval. Weds I’m doing Gibbs+1 and Don’t plan to eat anything as it’s basically Z2 and 2hr Z2 rides seem fine fasted? But maybe I could have a gel? If my VO2 workouts are an hour or less I usually don’t have anything if they are more than an hour I’ll have between 1 and 3 gels depending on length/intensity.

@TreyT Can you possibly eat something small at 10am then eat lunch after you ride? Not many people do well with a stomach full of food. Most of my morning rides are fueled by a little coffee and a small amount of carb, just enough to get my digestion processes started, and I fuel on the bike. If I ride at lunch time I’ll eat after I’m done riding, or if I ride later in the afternoon, I usually keep my lunch pretty light and just make sure I have plenty of sugars in the bottle during the ride.

I don’t ride after lunch most days, was just using that as an example of why I don’t generally eat before I ride.
I roll out of bed, and ride first thing. Maybe trying some sort of granola or something before I ride might help.

I only eat before long outings where I know hunger (and not just the need for fuel) will hit me a few hours into the ride. Go as simple as possible if you’re going to eat less than a couple hours before you ride. A small amount of oatmeal, a slice of bread or a small waffle with honey or syrup, for example. Another one that has never impacted me is a handful of peanut butter filled pretzels. Even these things in larger quantities will get me though, so don’t opt for the bagel with cream cheese your first time out!

Probably obvious, but wouldn’t do this before something like 30/15s, btw. :nauseated_face:

I almost always fuel the night before and then ride fasted (after a cup of coffee or two) but then use 2:1 M/F sugar water as needed.

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I thought I might post an update here. Between the TR forum and a buddy of mine, I might have made some big progress on fueling. I started taking in a little fuel midweek. For example on a Z2 90 min spin, instead of not taking in anything I might take in a single gel. If I’m doing SS intervals or Z3 intervals I may take in two or more gels over 90 minutes. On weds, typically a longer midweek ride for me I might take in 2 gels and 30-40g in a bottle.
This seems to be helping and training my gut, yesterday I took in something near 140g of carbs on the bike, not enough for a 4.5hr ride but a LOT more than I could 3 or 4 weeks ago.